DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0826; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00300-R;
Amendment 39-21826; AD 2021-24-05]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P2+, EC135P3,
EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters. This AD was prompted by reports that
certain aft and forward fitting assemblies, which are not approved for
installation on certain helicopters, were installed on those
helicopters as part of the outboard load system. Operators of those
helicopters might not be aware of the applicable overhaul or life
limits for those fitting assemblies. This AD requires inspecting the
aft and forward fitting assemblies of the outboard load system to
determine the part number, re-identifying the part if necessary,
inspecting each affected part for damage (which may be indicated by
signs of corrosion, mechanical damage, loose rivets, or cracks) and,
depending on the findings, corrective actions, as specified in a
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated
by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective January 14, 2022.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 14,
ADDRESSES: For EASA material incorporated by reference (IBR) in
AD, contact 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
Docket No. FAA-2021-0826.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0826; 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, the
EASA AD, 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: Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7323; email Darren.Gassetto@faa.gov.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0066, dated March 8, 2021 (EASA
AD 2021-0066), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters
Deutschland GmbH (formerly Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH and Eurocopter
Espa[ntilde]a S.A.) Model EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3,
EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters,
serial numbers (S/Ns) 0866 to 1166 inclusive, except S/Ns 1007, 1102,
and 1145, and except helicopters on which Airbus Helicopters Service
Bulletin EC135-85-063 has been embodied in service. Model EC635 P2+,
EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters are not
certificated by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type
certificate data sheet, except where the U.S. type certificate data
sheet explains that the Model EC635T2+ helicopter having serial number
0858 was converted from Model EC635T2+ to Model EC135T2+. This AD,
therefore, does not include Model EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635
T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters in the applicability.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T2+, and
EC135T3 helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on
September 23, 2021 (86 FR 52851). The NPRM was prompted by reports that
aft and forward fitting assemblies, having part number L851M2810103,
were installed as part of the outboard load system on helicopters
having S/Ns 0886 and up. The affected fitting assemblies are not
approved for installation on helicopters having those serial numbers.
Operators of those helicopters might not be aware of the applicable
overhaul or life limits for those fitting assemblies. The NPRM proposed
to require inspecting the aft and forward fitting assemblies of the
outboard load system to determine the part number, re-identifying the
part if necessary, inspecting each affected part for damage (which may
be indicated by signs of corrosion, mechanical damage, loose rivets, or
cracks) and, depending on the findings, corrective actions, as
specified in EASA AD 2021-0066.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address failure of affected aft and
forward fitting assemblies and consequent loss of external cargo,
resulting in personal injury or injury to persons on the ground. See
EASA AD 2021-0066 for additional background information.
Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive
The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of
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 reviewed the relevant
data and determined that air safety requires adopting this AD as
proposed. Accordingly, the FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these helicopters. Except for minor editorial changes,
this AD is adopted as proposed in the NPRM.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0066 requires a onetime inspection of each aft and
forward fitting assembly of the outboard load system to identify the
part number, re-identifying the part number if necessary, a one-time
inspection of an affected fitting assembly for damage, and corrective
action. The corrective action includes replacing any damaged fitting.
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 69 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD.
|Inspection to determine fitting
assembly part number
||0.50 work-hour x $85 per hour
The FAA estimates the following costs
to do any necessary actions
that would be required based on the results of the inspection. The
agency has no way of determining the number of helicopters that might
need these actions:
|Re-identification of affected
fitting assembly with part
||0.25 work-hour x $85 per hour
|Detailed inspection of affected
||1.75 work-hours x $85 per hour
|Replacement of damaged affected
||1.50 work-hours x $85 per hour
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.
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
(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
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 adding the following new airworthiness