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2021-20-16 AIRBUS HELICOPTERS: Amendment 39-21754; Docket No. FAA-2021-0453; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00377-R.
(a) EFFECTIVE DATE

    This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective November 22, 2021.

(b) AFFECTED ADS

    This AD replaces AD 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437 (86 FR 13165, March
    8, 2021) (AD 2021-04-15).

(c) APPLICABILITY

    This AD applies  to Airbus Helicopters  specified in paragraph  (c)(1)
    and (2) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP helicopters
    all serial numbers.

(2) Model AS350B3 helicopters,  all serial numbers  except those that have
    embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification 073148 in production.

(d) SUBJECT

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5531, Vertical Stabilizer,
    Spar/Rib.

(e) UNSAFE CONDITION

    This AD was prompted  by  a  report that,  during an unscheduled post-
    flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus Helicopters Model
    AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar of the upper fin and
    fractures were found  in the two  front attachment screws.  The FAA is
    issuing this AD to address cracking  in the spar of the upper  part of
    the vertical fin  and fractures in  the front attachment  screws. This
    condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper part of  the
    vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter.

(f) COMPLIANCE

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified,  unless al-
    ready done.

(g) REQUIREMENTS

    Except as specified in paragraph (h)  of this AD:  Comply with all re-
    quired actions and compliance times specified in,  and  in  accordance
    with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021-0099, dated
    April 9, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0099).

(h) EXCEPTIONS TO EASA AD 2021-0099

(1) Where EASA AD 2021-0099 refers to its effective date  or  to  July 12,
    2017, (the effective date of EASA AD 2017-0114,  dated June 28, 2017),
    this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) This AD does not mandate compliance with the "Remarks" section of EASA
    AD 2021-0099.

(3) Where EASA AD 2021-0099 requires compliance  in terms of flight hours,
    this AD requires using hours time-in-service.

(4) Where paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2021-0099 specifies to contact the man-
    ufacturer  for  approved  repair instructions,  for  this  AD, if  any
    cracking  is detected  during any  inspection,  repair  before further
    flight  using  a  method   approved  by  the  Manager,   International
    Validation Branch,  FAA. For  a repair  method to  be approved  by the
    Manager,  International  Validation   Branch,  as  required   by  this
    paragraph, the  Manager's approval  letter must  specifically refer to
    this AD.

(5) Where the service information  referred to in EASA AD 2021-0099 speci-
    fies to perform a  visual inspection for cracking  on the "RH side  of
    spar (a)" and "if you are not sure" remove the rear and the tail rotor
    gear box (TGB) fairings to perform a detailed inspection and do a  dye
    -penetrant inspection, those  actions are required  by this AD  if any
    crack  indication (e.g.,  paint chips,  dents, or  swelling) is  found
    during  any inspection  done  without  removing the  rear and  the TGB
    fairings.

(6) Where the service information  referred to in EASA AD 2021-0099 speci-
    fies to perform a visual check for cracks in the "spars (a) of the top
    and  bottom  fins"  and  "if you  are  not  sure"  do a  dye-penetrant
    inspection, the dye-penetrant inspection is required by this AD if any
    crack  indication (e.g.,  paint chips,  dents, or  swelling) is  found
    during any visual check (inspection).

(7) Where the service information  referred to in EASA AD 2021-0099 speci-
    fies to check  the integrity of  the two thrust  pad attachment screws
    for damage, for this  AD, damage includes loosening,  deformation, and
    nicks.

(8) Where the service information  referred to in EASA AD 2021-0099 speci-
    fies that the visual check can be performed by an airframe  technician
    or pilot, this  AD requires that  the visual check  be performed by  a
    qualified mechanic.

(i) SPECIAL FLIGHT PERMIT

    Special flight permits, as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199,  are
    prohibited.

(j) ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF COMPLIANCE (AMOCS)

(1) The Manager, International Validation Branch,  FAA,  has the authority
    to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures  found
    in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to
    your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as
    appropriate. If  sending information  directly to  the manager  of the
    International  Validation  Branch, send  it  to the  attention  of the
    person identified  in paragraph  (k) of  this AD.  Information may  be
    emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC,  notify your appropriate principal in-
    spector, or lacking  a principal inspector,  the manager of  the local
    flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(k) RELATED INFORMATION

    For more information about this AD contact Kathleen Arrigotti, Program
    Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Com-
    pliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St, Des Moines
    WA 98198; telephone and fax (206) 231-3218;  email kathleen.arrigotti@
    faa.gov.

(l) MATERIAL INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

(1) The Director of the Federal Register  approved  the  incorporation  by
    reference (IBR) of  the service information  listed in this  paragraph
    under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable  to do the actions
    required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

(i) European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021-0099, dated April
    9, 2021.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) For EASA AD 2021-0099, 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 EASA AD on the EASA web
    site at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.

(4) You may view  this  service  information  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. This material may be found  in
    the  AD  docket  on  the  internet  at  https://www.regulations.gov by
    searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0453.

(5) You may view this material  that is incorporated  by reference  at the
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  For  information
    on the availability of this material at NARA, email fr.inspection@nara
    .gov,  or  go  to:  https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-
    locations.html.

Issued on September 23, 2021.  Gaetano A. Sciortino,  Deputy Director  for
Strategic Initiatives,  Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Cer-
tification Service.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large
Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthi-
ness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198;  telephone
and fax 206-231-3218; email kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov.
PREAMBLE 

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39


[Docket No. FAA-2021-0453; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00377-R;
Amendment 39-21754; AD 2021-20-16]
RIN 2120-AA64

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2021-04-
15, which applied to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F,
AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model
AS350B3 helicopters. AD 2021-04-15 required repetitive visual
inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for
discrepancies (cracking), and corrective action if necessary. This AD
retains the requirements of AD 2021-04-15, and requires repetitive
cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for cracking of the
vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments, and corrective
action if necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety
Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. This AD also
expands the applicability to include additional Model AS350B3
helicopters. This AD was prompted by a report that, during an
unscheduled post-flight inspection of the tail cone area, a crack was
found in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures
were found in the two front attachment screws. The FAA is issuing this
AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES: This AD is effective November 22, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of November 22,
2021.

ADDRESSES: 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 on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0453.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-
0453; 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 final rule, any comments received, and other information. The
address for Docket Operations is U.S. Department of Transportation,
Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager,
Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA
98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3218; email
kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:

Background

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0099, dated April 9, 2021 (EASA
AD 2021-0099) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2,
AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and all Model AS350B3 helicopters
except those that have that embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification
073148 in production. EASA stated that recent analysis identified that
AS350B3 helicopters modified through Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin
55.00.14 (any revision) in service might also be affected by the
identified unsafe condition.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437 (86 FR
13165, March 8, 2021) (AD 2021-04-15). AD 2021-04-15 applied to all
Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and
AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters. The NPRM
published in the Federal Register on June 8, 2021 (86 FR 30395). Since
the FAA issued AD 2021-04-15, the FAA has determined that additional
actions are required to address the unsafe condition. The NPRM proposed
to retain the requirements of AD 2021-04-15, and require repetitive
cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for cracking of the
vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments, and corrective
action if necessary, as specified in an EASA AD. The NPRM also proposed
to expand the applicability to include additional Airbus Helicopters
Model AS350B3 helicopters.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking in the spar of the
upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front attachment
screws. This condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper
part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the
helicopter. See the MCAI for additional background information.

Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive

Comments

The FAA received one comment from a commenter. The following
presents the comment received on the NPRM and the FAA's response.

Request To Allow Pilots To Do Visual Inspection

The commenter requested that pilots be allowed to perform the
proposed repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand side of the
vertical fin spar for cracking at intervals not to exceed 10 hours
time-in-service. The commenter suggested that only if a crack is
suspected that a mechanic be notified. The commenter stated that it is
a burden on operators to get a mechanic to a helicopter every 10 hours
time-in-service to do the inspection. The
commenter also remarked that certain current FAA ADs allow pilots to
perform visual inspections because those inspections do not require
specialized tools, training, or any disassembly and that the service
information referred to in EASA AD 2021-0099 mentions that a pilot can
perform the visual inspection.
The FAA does not agree with the commenter's request. Although there
are instances where the FAA does allow a pilot to do a visual check,
for this AD, the FAA is not allowing this due to the criticality of the
crack location, the lack of definition of what pilot training is
sufficient to do this visual inspection, and because the area being
inspected is likely to need cleaning prior to each inspection. The FAA
has revised paragraph (h) of this AD to clarify that a pilot cannot do
the visual check and that it must be performed by a qualified mechanic.

Conclusion

The FAA reviewed the relevant data, considered the comment
received, and determined that air safety and the public interest
require adopting this AD as proposed. Except for minor editorial
changes, this AD is adopted as proposed in the NPRM. None of the
changes will increase the economic burden on any operator. Accordingly,
the FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
products.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2021-0099 specifies procedures for repetitive visual
inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for
cracking; repetitive cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for
cracking of the vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments;
and corrective action. The corrective action includes repair.
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.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD affects 650 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

Action
Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
Cost on U.S. operators
Retained actions from AD 2021-04-15 7 work-hours x $85 per hour = $595, per inspection/cleaning cycle $0 $595, per inspection/cleaning cycle $386,750, per inspection/cleaning cycle
New actions 4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340, per inspection/cleaning cycle 0 $340, per inspection/cleaning cycle $221,000, per inspection/cleaning cycle

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-
condition actions that would be required based on the results of any
required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of
helicopters that might need these on-condition actions:

Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions

Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340
$17,052
$17,392

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.

Regulatory Findings

This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order
13132. This AD will 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 that this AD:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
Order 12866,
(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(3) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
reference, Safety.

The Amendment

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 (AD) 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437
(86 FR 13165, March 8, 2021); and

b. Adding the following new AD: