DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-0875; Project Identifier MCAI-2022-00640-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for all Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD) Model MBB-BK 117 C-2
helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of excessively
worn bolts that connect the cardan-pivot joint with the piston rod of
the tail rotor actuator (TRA) assembly. This proposed AD would require
repetitively inspecting certain TRA assemblies, and depending on the
results, replacing or repairing parts, or accomplishing additional
inspections. This proposed AD would also prohibit installing an
affected TRA assembly unless it passes required inspections. Lastly,
this proposed AD would provide terminating actions for certain
inspections, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). The
FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD August
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 that is proposed for IBR in this NPRM, 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 the EASA material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
For Airbus Helicopters service information
identified in this NPRM, 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 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. The EASA material is
also available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and
locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0875.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0875; 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 NPRM, the EASA AD,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
950 L'Enfant Plaza N SW, Washington, DC 20024; telephone (202) 267-
9167; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2022-0875; Project Identifier
MCAI-2022-00640-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, 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 proposal 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 NPRM.
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 NPRM 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 NPRM, 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 NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Hal
Jensen, Aerospace Engineer, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 950 L'Enfant Plaza N SW, Washington, DC
20024; telephone (202) 267-9167; email email@example.com. Any
commentary that the FAA receives that is not specifically designated as
CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued a series of EASA ADs, with the most recent
being EASA AD 2022-0086, dated May 13, 2022 (EASA AD 2022-0086), to
correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters
Deutschland GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH; and
Airbus Helicopters Inc., formerly American Eurocopter LLC, Model MBB-
BK117 C-2 helicopters. EASA issued EASA AD 2022-0086 to supersede EASA
AD 2019-0313, dated December 20, 2019.
This proposed AD was prompted by reports of excessively worn bolts
that connect the cardan-pivot joint with the piston rod of the TRA
assembly. According to Airbus Helicopters, manufacturer investigations
of affected TRAs have revealed improperly assembled cardan-pivot joints
as the main cause of the excessively worn bolts. Additionally,
incorrect washers as well as improperly shimmed laminated washers
contribute to axial play and increased wear of the bolt. The FAA is
proposing this AD to detect and prevent worn bolts. The unsafe
condition, if not addressed, could result in helicopter oscillations on
the yaw axis during flight, failure of a bolt resulting in loss of
control of the tail rotor, and subsequent loss of control of the
helicopter. See EASA AD 2022-0086 for additional background
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2022-0086 requires, for certain TRAs with a steel or
aluminum cardan-pivot joint, repetitively measuring the minimum
diameter of the cardan-pivot joint assembly bolt. Depending on the
results, EASA AD 2022-0086 requires replacing the bolt and laminated
washers of the affected TRA or repetitively measuring the minimum
diameter of the cardan-pivot joint assembly bolt at a reduced
compliance time; or contacting AHD for approved repair instructions and
compliance time or measuring the maximum diameter of the TRA piston rod
bore hole. Depending on the results of measuring the maximum diameter
of the TRA piston rod bore hole, EASA AD 2022-0086 requires replacing
the bolt and laminated washers of the affected TRA; or contacting AHD
for approved repair instructions and compliance time or repetitively
measuring the maximum diameter of the TRA piston rod bore hole at a
reduced compliance time. EASA AD 2022-0086 also prohibits installing an
affected TRA assembly unless it passes its required inspections.
Lastly, EASA AD 2022-0086 specifies certain terminating actions for
repetitively measuring the minimum diameter of the cardan-pivot joint
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 reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin MBB-
BK117 C-2-67A-027, Revision 2, dated December 15, 2021. This service
information specifies, for TRAs with a steel or aluminum cardan-pivot
joint, procedures for measuring the minimum diameter of the cardan-
pivot joint assembly bolt, measuring the maximum diameter of the TRA
piston rod bore hole, replacing the bolt and laminated washers, and
reassembling the TRA.
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 proposing 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 the same type design.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2022-0086, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under
``Differences Between this Proposed 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, the
FAA proposes to incorporate EASA AD 2022-0086 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2022-0086 in its entirety through that incorporation, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading
of a particular section in EASA AD 2022-0086 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 2022-
0086. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2022-0086 for
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0875 after the FAA final
rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
EASA AD 2022-0086 requires discarding certain parts, whereas this
proposed AD would require removing those parts from service instead.
EASA AD 2022-0086 requires maintaining a removed bolt for possible
investigation purposes for four weeks, whereas this proposed AD would
not require that action. EASA AD 2022-0086 requires contacting AHD for
approved repair instructions and accomplishing those instructions
within the compliance time specified therein, whereas this proposed AD
would require accomplishing a repair in accordance with certain
approved methods before further flight.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 142 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 this proposed AD.
Measuring the cardan-pivot joint assembly bolt would take about 2
work-hours and have a nominal parts cost for an estimated cost of $170
per helicopter and $24,140 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle. If
required, measuring the TRA piston rod bore hole following the cardan-
pivot joint assembly bolt inspection would take about an additional 0.5
work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter, per inspection
cycle. Replacing a bolt and the laminated washers following an
inspection would take about an additional 0.25 work-hour and parts
would cost about $586 for an estimated cost of $607 per 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.
The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed 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 proposed
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
(2) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(3) Would 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
The Proposed Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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