DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-1165; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-01414-R;
Amendment 39-21893; AD 2022-01-05]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding airworthiness directive (AD) 2021-24-
06, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC130T2
helicopters. AD 2021-24-06 required repetitive visual inspections of
the rivets on the rear transmission shaft bearing support and of the
local structure for cracking and missing, loose, or sheared rivets and
accomplishment of applicable corrective actions. This AD retains those
requirements and adds repetitive visual inspections of the rivet heads
on the left-hand and right-hand sides of the rear transmission shaft
bearing support, revises a corrective action, and adds a reporting
requirement, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. This AD also revises the
special flight permit limitation from AD 2021-24-06. This AD was
prompted by an additional report of loose rivet heads on the outside
face of the tail boom corner support. The FAA is issuing this AD to
address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes 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,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by February 14, 2022.
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
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 EASA material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this final
rule, 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 IBR material on the EASA website
at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. For Airbus Helicopters 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.
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. Service information that is IBRed is also
available in the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching
for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1165.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1165; 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 street
address for Docket Operations is listed above.
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 AD 2021-24-06, Amendment 39-21827 (86 FR 66934,
November 24, 2021) (AD 2021-24-06), for certain Airbus Helicopters
Model EC130T2 helicopters. AD 2021-24-06 required repetitive visual
inspections of the rivets on the rear transmission shaft bearing
support and of the local structure for cracking and missing, loose, or
sheared rivets and accomplishment of applicable corrective actions. AD
2021-24-06 was prompted by EASA Emergency AD 2021-0235-E, dated October
28, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0235-E), issued by EASA, which is the Technical
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) Model EC 130 T2
helicopters, all serial numbers, on which Airbus Helicopters
Modification 074581 had been embodied in production. EASA advised of a
report of degradation of the rear transmission shaft bearing support on
a Model EC 130 T2 helicopter and the determination that all of the
attachment rivets of the transmission shaft bearing support were
sheared. EASA also advised that the investigation was on-going to
identify the root cause of this degradation. This condition, if not
addressed, could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and
subsequent loss of yaw control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2021-24-06 was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2021-24-06, EASA has issued EASA Emergency
AD 2021-0283-E, dated December 17, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0283-E), to
supersede EASA AD 2021-0235-E. EASA advises of an additional report of
loose rivet heads on the outside face of the tail boom corner support.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2021-0283-E retains the requirements of EASA AD
2021-0235-E and also requires repetitive visual inspections of the
rivet heads on the left-hand and right-hand sides of the rear
transmission shaft bearing support, revises a corrective action, and
adds a reporting requirement. EASA considers its AD an interim action
and states that further AD action may follow. See EASA AD 2021-0283-E
additional background information.
The FAA has also determined to revise the special flight permit
limitation from AD 2021-24-06. This new AD limits special flight
permits to the inspections required before the ``each first flight of
the day'' compliance time with no passengers on board. Special flight
permits are prohibited for any other actions required by this AD.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0283-E requires repetitive visual inspections of the
rivets on the rear transmission upper and lower bearing support, the
local structure, and the rivet heads on the left-hand and right-hand
sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing support. Depending on the
results, EASA AD 2021-0283-E requires contacting Airbus Helicopters to
obtain approved repair instructions and accomplishing those
instructions, or replacing each affected rivet. EASA AD 2021-0283-E
also requires reporting inspection findings to Airbus Helicopters.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. 05A039, Revision 0, dated October 27, 2021, and
EASB No. 05A039, Revision 1, dated December 16, 2021 (EASB 05A039 Rev
1). This service information specifies procedures for repetitive visual
inspections of the rear transmission bearing support areas, including
the frame and skin in the area of the bearing supports. EASB 05A039 Rev
1 adds repetitive visual inspections of the rivets heads on the left-
hand and right-hand sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing
support located under the Teflon tape on the tail boom.
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 of the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all pertinent information and determining that the unsafe
condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters
of the same type design.
Requirements of This AD
This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2021-0283-E, described previously, as IBRed, 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 2021-0283-E will be IBRed in this FAA final rule. This AD
would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2021-0283-E 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 2021-0283-E 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 EASA AD 2021-0283-E. Service information
referenced in EASA AD 2021-0283-E for compliance will be available at
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
EASA AD 2021-0283-E requires inspections after each last flight of
the day (ALF), whereas this AD requires accomplishing those inspections
before each first flight of the day. EASA AD 2021-0283-E specifies that
certain inspections can be done by a mechanical technician, a pilot
with correct training and accreditation, or a pilot-owner, whereas this
AD requires those inspections be done by a qualified mechanic.
Depending on certain inspection results, EASA AD 2021-0283-E specifies
contacting Airbus Helicopters to obtain approved repair instructions
and accomplishing those instructions, whereas this AD requires repair
done in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA; or
EASA; or Airbus Helicopters'' EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).
EASA AD 2021-0283-E requires reporting certain information to Airbus
Helicopters within 30 days after each rivet replacement, whereas this
AD requires reporting that information within 10 days after each rivet
The FAA considers this AD interim action. If final action is later
identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
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.
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies foregoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because sheared attachment rivets of the transmission shaft bearing
support could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and
subsequent loss of yaw control of the helicopter. In addition, the
compliance time for the required actions are shorter than the time
necessary for the public to comment and for publication of the final
rule. Inspections of the rivets on the rear transmission shaft bearing
support and of the local structure must be continued from AD 2021-24-06
before each first flight of the day and the initial inspection of the
rivet heads must be accomplished within 10 hours time-in-service or
seven days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first.
Accordingly, notice and opportunity for prior public comment are
impracticable and contrary to the public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C.
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 forego notice and comment.
The FAA invites you to send any written data, views, or arguments
about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-1165; Project Identifier MCAI-
2021-01414-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the final rule, 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 final rule 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 final rule.
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 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 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
The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (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 prior notice and
comment, RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects up to 64 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
Inspecting the rivets and local structure takes about 0.5 work-hour
for an estimated cost of about $43 per helicopter and up to $2,752 for
the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle. Removing the Teflon tape and
inspecting the rivet heads takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated
cost of about $43 per helicopter and up to $2,752 for the U.S. fleet,
per inspection cycle.
Replacing a rivet takes about 0.5 work-hour and parts cost up to
$20 for an estimated cost of up to $63 per rivet. The FAA has received
no definitive data on which to base the cost estimates for other on-
condition repairs specified in this AD. Reporting information takes
about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per instance.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the
collection of information. All responses to this collection of
information are mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including
suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Information Collection
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
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, I certify that this AD:
(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 2021-24-06, Amendment 39-21827 (86
FR 66934, November 24, 2021); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: