DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-0888; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-01211-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2021-10-10, which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model SA330J
helicopters. AD 2021-10-10 requires repetitively inspecting the main
gearbox (MGB) particle detector and the MGB bottom housing (oil sump)
for metal particles, analyzing any metal particles that are found, and
replacing the MGB if necessary. Since the FAA issued AD 2021-10-10,
additional review concluded that installing an improved planet gear
assembly is necessary. This proposed AD would continue to require
repetitively inspecting the MGB particle detector and the MGB bottom
housing (oil sump) for metal particles, and analyzing any metal
particles that are found, and would also require replacing the planet
gear assembly and repetitively inspecting and establishing an
airworthiness limitation for that assembly 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 products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by September
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; phone: +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-2022-0888.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0888; 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: Mahmood G. Shah, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Fort Worth ACO Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth,
TX 76177; phone: 817-222-5538; email: email@example.com.
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-2022-0888; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-01211-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
Mahmood G. Shah, Aviation Safety Engineer, Fort Worth ACO Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; phone: 817-222-5538; 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.
The FAA issued AD 2021-10-10, Amendment 39-21543 (86 FR 27271, May
20, 2021) (AD 2021-10-10), for all Airbus Helicopters Model SA330J
helicopters. AD 2021-10-10 requires repetitively inspecting the MGB
particle detector and the MGB bottom housing (oil sump) for metal
particles, analyzing any metal particles that are found, and
replacement of the MGB if necessary. The FAA issued AD 2021-10-10 to
address the unsafe condition on these products. AD 2021-10-10 was
prompted by EASA AD 2018-0272, dated December 13, 2018 (EASA AD 2018-
0272) to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Helicopters Model
Actions Since AD 2021-10-10 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2021-10-10, EASA, which is the Technical
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued
superseding EASA AD 2021-0239, dated November 5, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-
0239), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Helicopters Model
This proposed AD was prompted by additional review accomplished by
Airbus Helicopters that concluded that replacing the second stage
planet gear assembly with a new and improved second stage planet gear
assembly part number (P/N) 330A32-9861-02 (modification (mod) 0751091)
is necessary in order to further improve the level of safety of the
fleet. The FAA is proposing this AD to address failure of an MGB second
stage planet gear, which could result in failure of the MGB and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See EASA AD 2021-0239 for
additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0239 supersedes EASA AD 2018-0272 and continues to
require repetitively inspecting the MGB particle detector and the MGB
bottom housing (oil sump) for metal particles, and analyzing any metal
particles that are found. EASA AD 2021-0239 also requires installing an
MGB equipped with a new second-stage planet gear assembly P/N 330A32-
9861-02 (mod 0751091) or modifying an affected MGB by having the second
stage planet gear assembly replaced by an Airbus Helicopter qualified
technician; and extends the compliance time for the repetitive MGB
bottom housing (oil sump) inspections and establishes a life limit for
post-mod 0751091 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 reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
No. SA330-05.103, Revision 3, dated October 4, 2021. This service
information specifies procedures for checking (inspecting) the MGB
particle detector and the bottom housing (oil sump) to ensure that
there are no particles, and for particle analysis.
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters ASB No. SA330-65.139,
Revision 0, dated October 4, 2021 (ASB SA330-65.139). This service
information specifies procedures for installing an MGB equipped with a
new second-stage planet gear assembly P/N 330A32-9861-02 (mod 0751091)
and the alternate action of having the second stage planet gear
assembly replaced by an Airbus Helicopters qualified technician. The
new second stage planet gear assembly has improved stress and fatigue
characteristics. ASB SA330-65.139 also establishes an airworthiness
limitation of 2,750 flight hours for all post mod 0751091 planet gear
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.
Explanation of Retained Requirements
Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the
requirements of AD 2021-10-10, this proposed AD would retain all of the
requirements of AD 2021-10-10. Those requirements are referenced in
EASA AD 2021-0239, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of
this proposed AD.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2021-0239, 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 2021-0239 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0239 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 2021-0239 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-
0239. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0239 for
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0888 after the FAA final
rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
EASA AD 2021-0239 requires certain actions be done after the last
flight of the day or ``ALF,'' whereas this proposed AD would require
doing those actions before the first flight of the day. EASA AD 2021-
0239 requires contacting the manufacturer if unsure about the
characterization of the particles collected, whereas this proposed AD
would not. If there are any 16NCD13 particles, EASA AD 2021-0239
requires contacting the manufacturer and sending a 1-liter sample of
oil to the manufacturer, whereas this proposed AD would not. EASA AD
2021-0239 requires returning certain parts to the manufacturer, whereas
this proposed AD would not. EASA AD 2021-0239 allows the option of
modifying an affected MGB by having the second stage planet gear
assembly replaced by an Airbus Helicopters qualified technician,
whereas this proposed AD would allow that modification with certain
approvals instead. EASA AD 2021-0239 allows different methods to
accomplish the oil sump inspection, whereas this proposed AD would
require a certain method. EASA AD 2021-0239 requires discarding certain
parts, whereas this proposed AD would require removing those parts from
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 15 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.
Inspecting the MGB particle detector would take about 0.25 work-
hour for an estimated cost of $21 per helicopter and $315 for the U.S.
fleet, per inspection cycle. Inspecting the MGB bottom housing (oil
sump) would take up to about 4 work-hours for an estimated cost of $340
per helicopter and $5,100 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Replacing a second stage planet gear assembly would take about 100
work-hours and parts would cost about $121,140 for an estimated cost of
$129,640 per helicopter and $1,944,600 for the U.S. fleet, per
replacement cycle. Alternatively, replacing an MGB would take about 100
work-hours and parts would cost about $600,000 (overhauled) for an
estimated cost of $608,500 per helicopter.
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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2021-10-10, Amendment 39-21543 (86
FR 27271, May 20, 2021); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: