DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2023-1816; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-01460-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 D-3
helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by recalculations of the
inspection intervals for certain parts. This proposed AD would require
revising the airworthiness limitations section (ALS) of the existing
helicopter maintenance manual or instructions for continued
airworthiness for your helicopter and the existing approved maintenance
or inspection program for your helicopter, as applicable, to reduce the
inspection interval of certain parts, 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 October
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 regulations.gov. Follow
the instructions 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.
AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket at regulations.gov under
Docket No. FAA-2023-1816; 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, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above.
Material Incorporated by Reference:
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 easa.europa.eu.
You may find the EASA material on the EASA website at
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 regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-1816.
Other Related Service Information: 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 airbus.com/en/products-services
/helicopters/hcare-services/airbusworld. You may also view this
service information at the FAA contact information under Material
Incorporated by Reference above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan McCully, Aviation Safety Engineer,
FAA, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone
(303) 342-1080; 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-2023-1816; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-01460-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
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 Dan
McCully, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410,
Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (303) 342-1080; 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.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0290, dated and corrected
December 23, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0290), to correct an unsafe condition
for all serial-numbered Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model MBB-
BK117 D-3 and D-3m helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by recalculations of the inspection
intervals for certain parts. The FAA is proposing this AD to reduce the
inspection intervals for certain parts. See EASA AD 2021-0290 for
additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0290 requires replacing components before exceeding
their life limits and accomplishing maintenance tasks within thresholds
and intervals specified in the applicable ALS. Depending on the results
of the maintenance tasks, EASA AD 2021-0290 requires accomplishing
corrective action(s) or contacting AHD [Airbus Helicopters Deutschland
GmbH] for approved instructions and accomplishing those instructions.
EASA AD 2021-0290 also requires revising the Aircraft Maintenance
Programme (AMP) by incorporating the limitations, tasks, and associated
thresholds and intervals described in the specified ALS as applicable
to helicopter model and configuration. Revising the AMP constitutes
terminating action for the requirements to replace components before
exceeding their life limits and accomplish maintenance tasks within
thresholds and intervals specified in the applicable ALS as required by
EASA AD 2021-0290.
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 MBB-
BK117 D-3-04A-001, Revision 0, dated December 22, 2021. This service
information specifies checking the total accumulated flight hours since
new for bolt part number (P/N) D671M7501201, bolt P/N D671M7501211, and
mast bolt P/N D620M0501203, and accomplishing the airworthiness
inspection within the reduced airworthiness inspection interval of 400
The FAA also reviewed Airbus MBB-BK117 D-3 Chapter 04, ALS,
Revision 1, dated December 14, 2021. This service information specifies
airworthiness limitations, tasks, and associated thresholds and
intervals for various parts. Revision 1 of this service information
specifies various updates for certain components.
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 2021-0290, 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 2021-0290 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0290 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 2021-0290 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-
0290. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0290 for
compliance will be available at regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-
2023-1816 after the FAA final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
EASA AD 2021-0290 applies to Model MBB-BK117 D-3m helicopters,
whereas this proposed AD would not because that model is not FAA type-
EASA AD 2021-0290 requires replacing certain components before
exceeding applicable life limits, accomplishing certain maintenance
tasks within thresholds and intervals as specified in the ALS, as
defined within, and depending on the results, accomplishing corrective
action within the compliance time specified in that ALS. EASA AD 2021-
0290 also requires revising the approved AMP to incorporate the
limitations, tasks, and associated thresholds and intervals described
in that ALS within 12 months after its effective date. Whereas, this
proposed AD would require revising existing documents and programs
within 30 days to incorporate the limitations, tasks, and associated
thresholds and intervals described in that ALS, and clarifies that if
an incorporated limitation or threshold therein is reached before 30
days after the effective date of the final rule of this proposed AD,
you still have up to 30 days after the effective date of the final rule
of this proposed AD to accomplish the corresponding task.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 29 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.
Revising the ALS of the existing helicopter maintenance manual or
instructions for continued airworthiness for your helicopter and the
existing approved maintenance or inspection program for your
helicopter, as applicable, would take about 2 work-hours for an
estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $4,930 for the U.S. fleet.
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