DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2023-2150; Project Identifier MCAI-2023-00188-R;
Amendment 39-22603; AD 2023-23-01]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2022-01-
05, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC130T2
helicopters. AD 2022-01-05 required repetitive visual inspections of
the rivets on the rear transmission shaft bearing support, inspections
of the local structure, and rivet heads on the left-hand and right-hand
sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing support for cracking,
missing, loose, or sheared rivets. AD 2022-01-05 also required
reporting the results of those inspections and depending on the
results, applicable corrective action. Since the FAA issued AD 2022-01-
05, Airbus Helicopters revised its service information to add
procedures to improve visual inspections of the rivets on the rear
transmission shaft bearing support. This AD was prompted by the
determination that certain modified helicopters may have finishing
paint applied to the gutter, which could prevent detection of cracks
during inspections. This AD also extends the repetitive compliance time
interval for certain inspections. This AD continues to require certain
actions in AD 2022-01-05 and requires a one-time visual inspection for
paint in the gutter area, and removal of paint if necessary, as
specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which
is incorporated by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the
unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective November 29, 2023.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of November 29,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by December 29, 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-2023-2150; 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 EASA AD, any comments received,
and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is
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 www.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-2023-2150.
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, Program Manager,
International Validation Branch, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410,
Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (404) 474-5548; email
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-2023-2150; Project Identifier MCAI-
2023-00188-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, Program Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, 1600
Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (404) 474-5548;
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.
The FAA issued AD 2022-01-05, Amendment 39-21893 (86 FR 74353,
December 30, 2021) (AD 2022-01-05), for certain Airbus Helicopters
Model EC130T2 helicopters. AD 2022-01-05 was prompted by EASA Emergency
AD 2021-0283-E, dated December 17, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0283-E)
originated by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States
of the European Union. EASA AD 2021-0283-E was issued to correct an
unsafe condition on certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC130T2
helicopters. AD 2022-01-05 required repetitive visual inspections of
the rivets on the rear transmission upper and lower bearing support,
the local structure, and the rivet heads on the left-hand and right-
hand sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing support. The FAA
issued AD 2022-01-05 to address sheared attachment rivets of the
transmission shaft bearing support and prevent failure of the tail
rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of yaw control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2022-01-05 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2022-01-05, EASA superseded EASA AD 2021-
0283-E by issuing EASA AD 2021-0283R1, dated February 11, 2022;
corrected February 25, 2022 (EASA AD 2021-0283R1), to extend both the
repetitive compliance time to accomplish the inspections of the rivets
on the rear transmission shaft bearing support and of the local
structure, and the repetitive compliance time to accomplish the
inspections of the rivet heads of the rear bearing support. Thereafter,
EASA superseded EASA AD 2021-0283R1 by issuing EASA AD 2023-0028, dated
February 1, 2023 (EASA AD 2023-0028), to correct an unsafe condition on
Airbus Helicopters Model EC 130 T2 helicopters with AH modification
074581 incorporated in production. EASA AD 2023-0028 states some
helicopters were identified to have finishing paint applied on the
gutter, which could prevent the detection of cracks during required
visual inspections. In light of this, Airbus Helicopters revised its
service information to provide instruction to inspect for paint, and if
necessary, removing paint from the gutter. Accordingly, EASA AD 2023-
0028 retains the requirements of EASA AD 2021-0283R1 and also requires
a one-time visual inspection of the gutter and if necessary, removal of
paint in this area. EASA considers its AD an interim action and states
that further AD action may follow. See EASA AD 2023-0028 for additional
You may examine EASA AD 2023-0028 in the AD docket at
regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-2150.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2023-0028 requires repetitive visual inspections of the
rivets on the rear transmission upper and lower bearing support, the
local structure, and the rivet heads on the left-hand and right-hand
sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing support. EASA AD 2023-0028
also requires a one-time visual inspection of the gutter for finishing
paint. Depending on the results, EASA AD 2023-0028 requires contacting
Airbus Helicopters to obtain approved repair instructions and
accomplishing those instructions, or replacing each affected rivet.
EASA AD 2023-0028 also requires removing any paint in the specified
gutter area of the helicopter. Lastly, EASA AD 2023-0028 requires
reporting inspection findings to Airbus 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 ADDRESSES.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. EC130-05A039, Revision 4, dated March 15, 2023
(EC130-05A039 Rev 4). This service information specifies procedures for
repetitive visual inspections of the rear transmission bearing support
areas, including the frame and skin in the area of the bearing
supports, as well as repetitive visual inspections of the rivets on the
left-hand and right-hand sides of the rear transmission shaft bearing
support located under the Teflon tape on the tail boom. Additionally,
this service information specifies procedures for a one-time visual
inspection of the gutter area for paint and if necessary, removal of
EASB EC130-05A039 Rev 4 also distinguishes between procedures for
helicopters that do and do not have the tail drive shaft bearing
support reinforcement (MOD 0720245) installed.
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 of the
unsafe condition described in its 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 the same type design.
This AD retains certain requirements of AD 2022-01-05. This AD also
requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2023-0028,
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 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,
EASA AD 2023-0028 will be incorporated by reference in this FAA final
rule. This AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2023-
0028 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 2023-0028 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 2023-0028. Service information
referenced in EASA AD 2023-0028 for compliance will be available at
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
Differences Between This AD and EASA AD 2023-0028
EASA AD 2023-0028 requires using Airbus Helicopters EASB No. EC130-
05A039, Revision 3, dated January 30, 2023, for compliance, whereas
this AD does not and instead requires using Revision 4, dated March 15,
2023. The service information referenced in EASA AD 2023-0028 specifies
that certain procedures may be done by a pilot with correct training
and accreditation, or a pilot-owner, whereas this AD requires those
actions be accomplished by persons authorized under 14 CFR 43.3.
Depending on certain inspection results, EASA AD 2023-0028 specifies
contacting Airbus Helicopters to obtain approved repair instructions
and accomplishing those instructions, whereas this AD requires that
repairs be done in accordance with a method approved by the FAA, EASA,
or Airbus Helicopters' EASA Design Organization Approval. EASA AD 2023-
0028 requires reporting certain information to Airbus Helicopters
within 30 days after each rivet replacement, whereas this AD requires
reporting that information within 10 days after each rivet replacement
or within 10 days after the effective date of this AD.
EASA AD 2023-0028 allows credit for the initial instance of certain
actions accomplished before its effective date, whereas this AD allows
credit for any instance of certain actions accomplished before the
effective date of this AD.
The FAA considers that this AD is an interim action. If final
action is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking
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 requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies forgoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because sheared attachment rivets of the transmission shaft bearing
support could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft, which is
an assembly that is critical to the control of a helicopter. The FAA
has no information pertaining to how quickly the condition may
propagate to failure. In addition, it has been identified that
helicopters with finishing paint applied to the gutter could prevent
detection of the unsafe condition. In light of this, the compliance
times for the required actions are shorter than the time necessary for
the public to comment and for publication of the final rule.
Inspections of the rivets on the rear transmission shaft bearing
support and of the local structure, and inspections of the rivet heads
of the rear bearing support must be continued from AD 2022-01-05 within
intervals not to exceed 10 hours time-in-service. Depending on the
inspection status of a helicopter, inspecting for the presence of paint
applied on the gutter must be accomplished within 10 hours time-in-
service or 7 days, whichever occurs first, or before exceeding 10 hours
time-in-service since the latest inspection. Accordingly, 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 forgo 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 119 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 rivets and local structure takes about 0.5 work-hour
for an estimated cost of about $43 per helicopter and up to $5,117 for
the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle. Removing the Teflon tape and
inspecting the rivet heads takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated
cost of about $43 per helicopter and up to $5,117 for the U.S. fleet,
per inspection cycle. The corrective action that may be needed as a
result of the 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
Replacing a rivet takes about 0.5 work-hour and parts cost up to
$20 for an estimated cost of up to $63 per rivet.
Inspecting and if necessary, removing paint from the gutter area
takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of up to $43 per
Reporting information takes about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost
of $85 per helicopter, per instance.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to take
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the
collection of information. All responses to this collection of
information are mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including
suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Information Collection
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
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 above, 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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2022-01-05, Amendment 39-21893 (86
FR 74353, December 30, 2021); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: