DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2023-1998; Project Identifier MCAI-2023-01045-R;
Amendment 39-22572; AD 2023-20-51]
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)
Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and
SA330J helicopters. This AD was prompted by a report of three newly
supplied main rotor swashplate bushing retaining plates with oversized
internal diameters. This AD requires accomplishing a one-time
inspection to measure the internal diameter of affected bushing
retaining plates and depending on the results, accomplishing an
additional inspection, replacing non-conforming bushing retaining
plates, or accomplishing additional corrective action, as specified in
a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is
incorporated by reference. The FAA previously sent this AD as 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 October 31, 2023. Emergency AD 2023-20-51,
issued on October 2, 2023, 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 publication listed in this AD as of October 31,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by November 30, 2023.
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-2023-1998; 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, any comments received, and other
information. The address for Docket Operations is listed above.
Material Incorporated by Reference:
For EASA material identified in this final rule, 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 ad.easa.europa.eu.
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. It is also available at
regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-1998.
Other Related Service Information: For Airbus Helicopters service
information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus Helicopters,
2701 North Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; phone (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; phone (404)
474-5548; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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-2023-1998; Project Identifier MCAI-
2023-01045-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
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 Dan
McCully, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410,
Westbury, NY 11590; phone (404) 474-5548; 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.
The FAA issued Emergency AD 2023-20-51, dated October 2, 2023 (the
emergency AD), to address an unsafe condition on Airbus Helicopters
Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and SA330J
helicopters. The FAA sent the emergency AD to all known U.S. owners and
operators of these helicopters. The emergency AD requires accomplishing
a one-time inspection to measure the internal diameter of affected
bushing retaining plates and depending on the results, inspecting the
scissor attachment ball joint seating or replacing non-conforming
bushing retaining plates. Depending on the results of the scissor
attachment ball joint seating inspection, the emergency AD requires
accomplishing repair in accordance with a method approved by the FAA,
EASA, or Airbus Helicopters' EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).
Lastly, the emergency AD prohibits installing an affected bushing
retaining plate unless it has passed its required inspection.
The emergency AD was prompted by EASA Emergency AD 2023-0174-E,
dated October 2, 2023 (EASA AD 2023-0174-E), issued by EASA, which is
the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to
correct an unsafe condition on Airbus Helicopters Model SA 330 J, AS
332 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L, AS 332 L1, and AS 332 L2 helicopters. EASA
AD 2023-0174-E states that during an overhaul of a main rotor assembly,
three newly supplied main rotor swashplate retaining bushes were
identified as out of tolerance with a diameter of 39 mm (1.535 in.)
instead of 31 mm (1.22 in.). EASA AD 2023-0174-E also states that
affected retaining bushes may be installed on main rotor rotating and
You may examine EASA AD 2023-0174-E in the AD docket at
regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-1998.
The FAA is issuing this AD to detect out of tolerance main rotor
swashplate bushing retaining plates. This condition, if not addressed,
could result in damage to the main rotor assembly and subsequent loss
of control of the helicopter.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed EASA AD 2023-0174-E, which requires a one-time
inspection to measure the internal diameter of affected retaining
bushes and depending on the results, inspecting the scissor attachment
ball joint seating or replacing non conforming retaining bushes. Depending
on the results of the scissor attachment ball joint seating inspection,
AD 2023-0174-E requires contacting AH [Airbus Helicopters] for approved
repair instructions and accomplishing those instructions accordingly.
EASA AD 2023-0174-E prohibits installing an affected retaining bush unless
it has passed its required inspection. Additionally, EASA AD 2023-0174-E
refers to a ``bushing retaining plate'' as a ``retaining bush.''
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
Bulletins AS332-62-00-0001 and SA330-65-00-0003, each Revision 1 and
dated September 29, 2023. This service information specifies procedures
for measuring the internal diameter of the bush retainings on the
rotating and non-rotating swashplates and, if at least one internal
diameter of the three bush retainings is more than 33 mm (1.3 in.),
contacting Airbus Helicopters, removing and discarding each out of
tolerance bush retaining, and checking the ball joint seating on the
support. If the ball joint is not properly seated on the support, this
service information specifies contacting Airbus Helicopters to get a
repair solution. Lastly, this service information specifies procedures
for installing new bush retainings. Additionally, Airbus Helicopters
refers to a ``bushing retaining plate'' as either a ``bush retaining,''
``stop ring,'' ``retaining bush,'' or ``locking ring'' in its service
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
the European Union and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the European Union,
EASA, its technical representative, has notified the FAA of the unsafe
condition described in its emergency 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 these same type designs.
Requirements of This AD
This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2023-0174-E, described previously, as incorporated by reference, 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 Emergency 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 2023-0174-E is incorporated by reference in this FAA final
rule. This AD, therefore, requires compliance with EASA AD 2023-0174-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 2023-0174-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 2023-0174-E. Service information
referenced in EASA AD 2023-0174-E for compliance will be available at
regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-1998 after this final rule is
Differences Between This AD and the EASA Emergency AD
The service information referenced in EASA AD 2023-0174-E specifies
contacting Airbus Helicopters to get a repair solution and EASA AD
2023-0174-E requires contacting AH [Airbus Helicopters] for approved
repair instructions and accomplishing those instructions accordingly if
a scissor attachment ball joint is not properly seated, whereas this AD
requires repair done in accordance with a method approved by the FAA,
EASA, or Airbus Helicopters' EASA DOA.
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 2023-20-51, issued on October 2, 2023, 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 the affected components are part of an
assembly that is critical to the control of a helicopter. As the FAA
has no information pertaining to the quantity of non-conforming
components that may currently exist in the U.S. fleet or how quickly
the condition may propagate to failure, the actions required by this AD
must be accomplished within two days. 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.
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
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 14 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 bushing retaining plates takes about 0.5 work-hour
for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and up to $602 for the U.S.
fleet. If required, replacing a non-conforming bushing retaining plate
takes about 6 work-hours and parts cost about $600 for an estimated
cost of $1,110 per replacement.
If required, inspecting the scissor attachment ball joint seating
takes about 3 work-hours and costs about $255 per helicopter. The
corrective action that may be needed as a result of that
inspection could vary significantly from helicopter to helicopter. The
FAA has no data to determine the costs to accomplish the corrective
action or the number of helicopters that may require corrective action.
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