DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0785; Project Identifier AD-2021-00989-R;
Amendment 39-21734; AD 2021-19-16]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2021-16-
02, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Model SA330J, AS332C,
AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters. AD 2021-16-02
required inspecting the locking safety mechanism of the left-hand (LH)
side stairway door handle and depending on the results, corrective
action. AD 2021-16-02 also required modifying that locking safety
mechanism. This AD retains the requirements in AD 2021-16-02, as
specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which
is incorporated by reference, and clarifies a certain exception. This
AD was prompted by the need to clarify that exception. The FAA is
issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective October 12, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of September
24, 2021 (86 FR 46771).
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by November 12, 2021.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
instructions for submitting comments.
Fax: (202) 493-2251.
Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact
the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49
221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu.
You may find this material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this material at the FAA, Office of the
Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321,
Fort Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability of this
material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110. It is also available in the
AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2021-0785.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0785; or in person at
Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, any comments
received, and other information. The street address for Docket
Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket
shortly after receipt.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer,
Operational Safety Branch, FAA, 950 L'Enfant Plaza N SW, Washington, DC
20024; telephone (202) 267-9167; email email@example.com.
The FAA issued AD 2021-16-02, Amendment 39-21663 (86 FR 46771,
August 20, 2021) (AD 2021-16-02), for certain Airbus Helicopters Model
SA330J, AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters. AD
2021-16-02 required inspecting the locking safety mechanism of the LH
side stairway door handle and depending on the results, corrective
action. AD 2021-16-02 also required modifying that locking safety
AD 2021-16-02 was prompted by EASA AD 2020-0087, dated April 15,
2020 (EASA AD 2020-0087), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent
for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters (AH), formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter
France, Aerospatiale, Sud Aviation, Model SA330J, AS332C, AS332L,
AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters, if equipped with an LH side
stairway door, except helicopters modified in accordance with AH
modification (MOD) 07 28281 (AS 332, EC 225) or MOD 07 27338 (SA 330).
EASA issued EASA AD 2020-0087 to supersede EASA Emergency AD 2014-0241-
E, dated November 4, 2014 (EASA AD 2014-0241-E).
The FAA issued AD 2021-16-02 to address incorrect locking of the LH
side stairway door, which could result in an in-flight opening of the
door and subsequent damage to the helicopter or injury to persons on
the ground. See EASA AD 2020-0087 for additional background
Actions Since AD 2021-16-02 Was Issued
Since AD 2021-16-02 was issued, the FAA has determined that is
necessary to clarify a required exception. As published, paragraph
(h)(7) of AD 2021-16-02 could cause confusion with paragraph (h)(5) of
AD 2021-16-02. Paragraph (h)(7) of this AD clarifies that the
terminating action for the repetitive inspections as required by
paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2020-0087 does not apply to this AD. The
repetitive inspections as required by paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2020-
0087 are not required by paragraph (h)(5) of this AD, and accordingly,
this AD cannot provide terminating action for those repetitive
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0087 requires repetitively inspecting the locking
safety mechanism of the LH side stairway door handle for correct
operation and depending on the results, reconditioning the locking
safety mechanism or contacting the Airbus Helicopters Support and
Services Department. EASA AD 2020-0087 also requires modifying the
locking safety mechanism, which constitutes terminating action for the
This material is reasonably available because the interested
parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by
the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.
These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all known relevant information and determining that the
unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on
other helicopters of these same type designs.
This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2020-0087, described previously, as incorporated by reference, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
this AD and except as discussed under ``Differences Between this AD and
the EASA AD.''
Explanation of Required Compliance Information
In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD
process, the FAA developed a process to use some civil aviation
authority (CAA) ADs as the primary source of information for compliance
with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has been
coordinating this process with manufacturers and CAAs. As a result,
EASA AD 2020-0087 is incorporated by reference in this FAA final rule.
This AD, therefore, requires compliance with EASA AD 2020-0087 in its
entirety, through that incorporation, except for any differences
identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this AD. Using
common terms that are the same as the heading of a particular section
in EASA AD 2020-0087 does not mean that operators need comply only with
that section. For example, where the AD requirement refers to ``all
required actions and compliance times,'' compliance with this AD
requirement is not limited to the section titled ``Required Action(s)
and Compliance Time(s)'' in the EASA AD. Service information referenced
in EASA AD 2020-0087 for compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating FAA-2021-0785.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
Where EASA AD 2020-0087 refers to the effective date of EASA AD
2014-0241-E or its effective date, this AD requires using the effective
date of this AD. Where EASA AD 2020-0087 refers to Group 1 and 2
helicopters, this AD does not refer to any groups of helicopters. Where
the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0087 allows the
pilot to perform the requirements of the ASB, this AD requires the
requirements to be performed by a qualified mechanic. Where the service
information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0087 specifies to submit certain
information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that
requirement. Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-
0087 specifies to discard certain parts, this AD requires removing
those parts from service instead. EASA AD 2020-0087 requires repeating
the inspection before next flight after each application of painting on
the LH side stairway door or its external door handle, whereas this AD
does not. EASA AD 2020-0087 allows a terminating action for the
repetitive inspections, whereas this AD does not. EASA AD 2020-0087
requires contacting the Airbus Helicopters Support and Services
Department if it is impossible to recondition the locking safety
mechanism by moving the door handle, whereas this AD requires, before
further flight, accomplishing paragraph (5) of EASA AD 2020-0087 or
accomplishing corrective action using a method approved by the Manager,
International Validation Branch, FAA. The Manager's approval letter
must specifically refer to this AD.
Justification for Immediate Adoption and Determination of the Effective
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5
U.S.C. 551 et seq.) authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and
comment procedures for rules when the agency, for ``good cause,'' finds
that those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to
the public interest.'' Under this section, an agency, upon finding good
cause, may issue a final rule without providing notice and seeking
comment prior to issuance. Further, section 553(d) of the APA
authorizes agencies to make rules effective in less than thirty days,
upon a finding of good cause.
This AD clarifies an exception in AD 2021-16-02 that could affect
compliance and the public was previously provided opportunity for
comment on the costs of the AD and required actions.
Accordingly, notice and opportunity for prior public comment are
unnecessary pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). In addition, the FAA
finds that good cause exists pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making
this amendment effective in less than 30 days, for the same reasons the
FAA found good cause to forgo notice and comment.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-0785; Project Identifier AD-
2021-00989-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the AD, explain the reason for
any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA will
consider all comments received by the closing
date and may amend this AD because of those comments.
Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each
substantive verbal contact received about this AD.
Confidential Business Information
CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this AD contain commercial
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to
this AD, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing
CBI as ``PROPIN.'' The FAA will treat such marked submissions as
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public
docket of this AD. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Hal
Jensen, Aerospace Engineer, Operational Safety Branch, FAA, 950
L'Enfant Plaza N SW, Washington, DC 20024; telephone (202) 267-9167;
email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
The requirements of the RFA do not apply when an agency finds good
cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt a rule without prior notice and
comment. Because the FAA has determined that it has good cause to adopt
this rule without notice and comment, RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 37 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD.
Inspecting the operation of the locking safety mechanism on the LH
side stairway door handle takes about 0.1 work-hour for an estimated
cost of $9 per helicopter and $333 for the U.S. fleet. Moving the
external door handle from the ``Locked'' to the ``Unlocked'' position
to determine if the safety mechanism on the LH side stairway door
handle can lock automatically takes about 0.5 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $43 per helicopter. Modifying the locking safety
mechanism on the LH side stairway door handle takes about 8 work-hours
and parts cost about $5,000 for an estimated cost of $5,680 per
Authority for This Rulemaking
Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
The FAA is issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.
Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight
of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for
practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary
for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that
authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to
exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.
The FAA determined that this AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD would not have a
substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between
the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
For the reasons discussed above, I certify this regulation:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
Order 12866, and
(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2021-16-02, Amendment 39-21663 (86
FR 46771, August 20, 2021); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: