DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0797; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00218-R;
Amendment 39-21838; AD 2021-24-17]
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 EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
This AD was prompted by reduced life limits being established for
certain part-numbered tail rotor (TR) blades. This AD requires
determining the total hours time-in-service (TIS) of certain part-
numbered TR blades, establishing a life limit for certain part-numbered
TR blades, removing from service any TR blade that has reached or
exceeded its life limit, creating a component history card, re-
identifying certain part-numbered TR blades, and removing any TR blade
from service before reaching its retirement life. This AD also
prohibits installing certain TR blades on certain model helicopters.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective January 18, 2022.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of January 18,
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 North Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX
75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775;
or at https://www.airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html.
You may view the referenced 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. It is
also available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and
locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0797.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0797; 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
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any comments received,
and other information. The street 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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email email@example.com.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Airbus Helicopters
Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1,
EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters, with TR blade part number
L642A2002101, L642A2002103, L642A2002104, L642A2002111, or L642A2002112
installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on September 23,
2021 (86 FR 52856). In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to require within 350
hours TIS, determining the total hours TIS of certain part-numbered TR
blades and removing from service certain part-numbered TR blades that
have accumulated or exceeded 6,800 total hours TIS. The NPRM also
proposed to require for certain part-numbered TR blades with less than
6,800 total hours TIS, creating a component history card or equivalent
record to establish a life limit of 6,800 total hours TIS, and removing
these TR blades from service before accumulating 6,800 total hours TIS.
The NPRM proposed to require for certain model helicopters re-
identifying certain part-numbered TR blades with new part numbers and
removing those newly re-identified TR blades from service before
exceeding 6,800 total hours TIS.
Additionally, the NPRM proposed to require for certain model
helicopters with certain part-numbered TR blades installed that have
been previously installed on certain model helicopters determining the
total hours TIS of the TR blade in accordance with a method approved by
the FAA or EASA. Finally, for certain model helicopters the NPRM
proposed to prohibit installing certain part-numbered TR blades and for
certain model helicopters the NPRM proposed to prohibit installing
certain part-numbered TR blades that have exceeded or accumulated 500
total hours TIS while previously installed on certain model
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD 2021-0050, dated February 23, 2021
(EASA AD 2021-0050), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for
the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition
for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter
Deutschland GmbH, Eurocopter Espa[ntilde]a S.A., Model EC135 P1, EC135
P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3, EC635
P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters, all
variants, and all serial numbers. EASA advises that a reduced life
limit has been established for certain part-numbered TR blades due to
higher loads experienced in service. This condition, if not addressed,
could result in fatigue and failure of a TR blade and loss of control
of the helicopter.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2021-0050 requires determining the total hours
TIS for certain part-numbered TR blades, recalculating the TIS for
affected parts, and implementing a reduced life limit. EASA AD 2021-
0050 also prohibits installing certain part-numbered TR blades and TR
head assemblies and provides conditions for re-installation of certain
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, including removing Model EC635T2+ from paragraph (g)(5) of the
Required Actions, this AD is adopted as proposed in the NRPM.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB
EC135H-04A-002 and Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB EC135-
04A-014, both Revision 1, and both dated December 21, 2020. This
service information specifies procedures to determine the total hours
TIS of certain TR blades and provides instructions to re-identify
certain part-numbered TR blades.
This service information 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.
Differences Between This AD and EASA AD 2021-0050
EASA AD 2021-0050 requires compliance using calendar time, whereas
this AD requires compliance using hours TIS instead. EASA AD 2021-0050
applies to Model EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3
helicopters, which 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 EC635 T2+ helicopter
having serial number 0858 was converted from Model EC635 T2+ to Model
EC135 T2+. This AD, therefore, does not include Model EC635 P2+, EC635
P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters in the applicability.
EASA AD 2021-0050 specifies contacting Airbus Helicopters Deutschland
GmbH to determine the total hours TIS accumulated by certain TR blades
whereas this AD requires determining the total hours TIS accumulated by
the TR blade in accordance with a method approved by the FAA or EASA.
EASA AD 2021-0050 prohibits installing certain part-numbered TR head
assemblies as defined in its AD, whereas this AD does not contain this
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 341 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
Determining the total hours TIS of each TR blade, updating the
helicopter records and re-identifying each TR blade takes about 10
work-hours for each TR blade, for an estimated cost of $850 per TR
Replacing each TR blade takes about 10 work-hours and parts cost
about $4,400 for an estimated cost of $5,250 per TR blade replacement.
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