DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-0878; Project Identifier MCAI-2022-00873-R;
Amendment 39-22124; AD 2022-14-51]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC225LP helicopters. This AD was
prompted by a report of a cracked main rotor hub (MRH) sleeve. This AD
requires one-time visual inspections and, depending on the results,
accomplishing additional inspections, repairing the MRH sleeve in
accordance with a certain approval, and removing the MRH sleeve from
service and installing an airworthy part. This AD also prohibits
installing an MRH sleeve unless certain inspections have been
accomplished. The FAA previously sent an emergency AD to all known U.S.
owners and operators of these helicopters. The FAA is issuing this AD
to address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective August 3, 2022. Emergency AD 2022-14-51,
issued on July 1, 2022, which contained the requirements of this
amendment, was effective with actual notice.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of August 3, 2022.
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by September 2, 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 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
may view this 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-2022-0878.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0878; 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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Bradley, Program Manager,
Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email email@example.com.
On July 1, 2022, the FAA issued Emergency AD 2022-14-51, which
requires certain inspections and corrective actions for Airbus
Helicopters Model EC225LP helicopters with MRH sleeve part number (P/N)
332A31-3071-00 installed. The FAA sent the emergency AD to all known
U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters. That action was
prompted by EASA Emergency AD 2022-0130-E, dated June 30, 2022 (EASA AD
2022-0130-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 (AH), formerly Eurocopter, Model EC 225 LP
helicopters. EASA advises of a crack in an MRH sleeve that
investigation determined was a fatigue crack that had initiated from a
corrosion pit located in an area with chipped paint. This condition, if
not addressed, could result in failure of an MRH sleeve, loss of a main
rotor blade, and subsequent loss of the helicopter.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2022-0130-E requires initial one-time detailed
visual inspections of MRH sleeve P/N 332A31-3071-00 and depending on
the results, follow-on repetitive inspections and corrective actions.
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 emergency AD. The FAA is issuing 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.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin No. 62A017, Revision 0, dated June 30, 2022, which applies to
Model EC225LP and EC725AP helicopters. This service information
specifies procedures for one-time detailed visual inspections of a
certain area (identified as ``Specific area'' in Figure 3 of the
service information) of MRH sleeve P/N 332A31-3071-00. Depending on the
one-time inspection results, this service information specifies
procedures for follow-on inspections, which include eddy current
inspections, and chemical stripping and fluorescent penetrant
inspections; and corrective actions, which include applying primer and
paint protection, removing corrosion, applying a protective coating,
contacting Airbus Helicopters for corrective action, and removing and
returning the MRH sleeve to Airbus Helicopters.
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.
This AD requires visually inspecting the ``Specific area'' of each
MRH sleeve P/N 332A31-3071-00 for flaking and paint touch-up. If there
is any flaking or paint touch-up, this AD requires visually inspecting
the ``Specific area'' of the MRH sleeve for a crack.
As a result of the visual inspection, if there is a crack, this AD
requires removing the MRH sleeve from service and installing an
airworthy part. If there is not a crack, this AD requires an inspector
with a certain qualification using high-frequency eddy current (HFEC)
to inspect the ``Specific area'' of the MRH sleeve for a crack.
As a result of the HFEC, if there is a crack, this AD requires
removing the MRH sleeve from service and installing an airworthy part.
If there is not a crack, this AD requires chemically stripping and
fluorescent penetrant inspecting (FPI) the ``Specific area'' of the MRH
sleeve for corrosion.
As a result of the FPI, if there is corrosion, this AD requires
removing the corrosion by hand and repeating the FPI of each affected
area to inspect for corrosion, and depending on the subsequent results,
removing the MRH sleeve from service and installing an airworthy part;
or drying the MRH sleeve, applying a protective coating, primer, and
paint protection, and having an inspector with a certain qualification
using HFEC repetitively inspect the ``Specific area'' of the MRH sleeve
for a crack. If there is a crack, this AD requires removing the MRH
sleeve from service and installing an airworthy part. However, if the
corrosion cannot be removed by hand, this AD requires removing the MRH
sleeve from service and installing an airworthy part or repairing the
MRH sleeve in accordance with a certain approved method.
As a result of the first FPI, if there is no corrosion, this AD
requires applying primer and paint protection.
As an option to the first FPI and its follow-on actions, if there
is not a crack, this AD allows applying primer and paint protection or,
for any areas with flaking paint, applying only varnish instead of
primer and paint protection on each flaking paint area; and having an
inspector with a certain qualification using HFEC to repetitively
inspect the ``Specific area'' of the MRH sleeve for a crack. If there
is a crack, this AD requires removing the MRH sleeve from service and
installing an airworthy part.
This AD also prohibits installing an MRH sleeve unless specified
one-time visual inspections have been accomplished.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
If there is corrosion in an MRH sleeve, EASA AD 2022-0130-E
requires contacting Airbus Helicopters for approved repair
instructions, whereas this AD requires removing the MRH sleeve from
service or repairing the MRH sleeve in accordance with a certain
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 required the immediate adoption of
Emergency AD 2022-14-51, issued on July 1, 2022, to all known U.S.
owners and operators of these helicopters. The FAA found that the risk
to the flying public justified waiving notice and comment prior to
adoption of this rule because failure of an affected part could result
in loss of the helicopter and injury to its occupants and persons on
the ground. In light of this, the initial actions required by this AD
must be accomplished before further flight and certain follow-on
actions required by this AD must be accomplished within 15 hours time-
in-service or 3 months, whichever occurs first after accomplishing the
initial actions. These compliance times are shorter than the time
necessary for the public to comment and for publication of the final
rule. These conditions still exist, therefore, notice and opportunity
for prior public comment are impracticable and contrary to the public
interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).
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
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-2022-0878; Project Identifier MCAI-
2022-00873-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 Kristi
Bradley, Program Manager, COS Program Management Section, Operational
Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood
Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email
firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA receives which 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 33 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
Visually inspecting an affected MRH sleeve for flaking and paint
touch-up takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per MRH
sleeve and up to $7,095 for the U.S. fleet (with up to five affected
MRH sleeves per helicopter).
If required, visually inspecting each MRH sleeve for a crack takes
about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per MRH sleeve.
Accomplishing an HFEC takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost
of $43 per MRH sleeve, per inspection cycle. Chemically stripping and
accomplishing an FPI takes about 8 work-hours for an estimated cost of
$680 per MRH sleeve, per inspection cycle.
Removing corrosion and applying protective coating, primer, and
paint protection takes a minimal amount of time and parts cost a
nominal amount. Replacing an MRH sleeve takes about 4 work-hours and
parts cost about $102,371 for an estimated cost of $102,711 per MRH
sleeve. The FAA has no way of determining the costs pertaining to any
necessary repairs that are required to be done with an approved method.
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 adding the following new airworthiness