Airworthiness Directives; MD Helicopters, Inc. Model MD900 Helicopters, 27212-27215 [E6-7092]

Download as PDF 27212 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 90 / Wednesday, May 10, 2006 / Proposed Rules automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/ news_and_events/email_subscription/. Options range from recalls to export information to regulations, directives and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to password protect their account. Done in Washington, DC, May 8, 2006. Barbara J. Masters, Administrator. [FR Doc. 06–4394 Filed 5–8–06; 12 pm] BILLING CODE 3410–DM–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2006–24631; Directorate Identifier 2005–SW–01–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; MD Helicopters, Inc. Model MD900 Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). rmajette on PROD1PC67 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document proposes superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) Model MD900 helicopters. That AD currently requires reducing the life limit of certain Notar fan system tension-torsion (TT) straps. That AD also requires, at a specified time interval, removing each affected TT strap from the helicopter, doing a visual and X-ray inspection, and replacing any unairworthy part before further flight. This AD would require the same actions as the existing AD, but would also require revising the life limit on the component history card or equivalent record, doing repetitive visual and X-ray inspections, and would remove reporting requirements. This proposal is prompted by two in-flight TT strap failures. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of a TT strap, loss of directional control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 10, 2006. ADDRESSES: Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD: • DOT Docket Web site: Go to https:// VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:25 May 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically; • Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically; • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL–401, Washington, DC 20590; • Fax: 202–493–2251; or • Hand Delivery: Room PL–401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may get the service information identified in this proposed AD from MD Helicopters Inc., Attn: Customer Support Division, 4555 E. McDowell Rd., Mail Stop M615, Mesa, Arizona 85215–9734, telephone 1–800–388– 3378, fax 480–346–6813, or on the Web at https://www.mdhelicopters.com. You may examine the comments to this proposed AD in the AD docket on the Internet at https://dms.dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roger Durbin, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, Airframe Branch, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712, telephone (562) 627–5233, fax (562) 627–5210. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited We invite you to submit any written data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to the address listed under the caption ADDRESSES. Include the docket number ‘‘FAA–2006–24631, Directorate Identifier 2005–SW–01–AD’’ at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend the proposed AD in light of those comments. We will post all comments we receive, without change, to https:// dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Using the search function of our docket Web site, you can find and read the comments to any of our dockets, including the name of the individual who sent or signed the comment. You may review the DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2000 (65 FR 19477–78) or you may visit https://dms.dot.gov. Examining the Docket You may examine the docket that contains the proposed AD, any comments, and other information in person at the Docket Management System (DMS) Docket Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1–800–647– 5227) is located at the plaza level of the Department of Transportation Nassif Building in Room PL–401 at 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them. Discussion On November 10, 2004, we issued a Final Rule; Request for Comments. That AD, 2004–23–15, Amendment 39–13870 (69 FR 67805, November 22, 2004), requires reducing the life limit of certain TT straps. At a specified time interval, that AD also requires removing each affected TT strap from the helicopter, doing a visual and X-ray inspection, and replacing any unairworthy part before further flight. Reporting the discovery of any unairworthy TT strap is also required. That action was prompted by two in-flight TT strap failures. The requirements of that AD are intended to prevent failure of a TT strap resulting in loss of directional control and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. At the time we issued AD 2004–23– 15, the cause of the failures was not known, and that AD was considered interim action. These proposals also are interim actions because the cause of the failures is still unknown and the investigation is ongoing. We will consider further rulemaking once our investigation is complete. Before issuing that AD, we reviewed MD Helicopters Service Bulletin SB– 900–095, dated November 3, 2004. The service bulletin advises of the reduction of the TT strap life limit and describes procedures for performing an inspection of each TT strap for nicks, cuts, cracks, or wear. Procedures for a Level II or higher X-Ray technician to do and interpret an X-ray inspection of each TT strap for progressive fiber fractures are also included in the service bulletin. Since issuing AD 2004–23–15, we received several comments from the manufacturer and have given them due consideration. The following table lists requested changes and comments and our responses: E:\FR\FM\10MYP1.SGM 10MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 90 / Wednesday, May 10, 2006 / Proposed Rules 27213 Requested change/comment FAA response 1. Change the comments due date from January 21, 2004, to January 21, 2005. We agree with this change and published a correction for this typographical error in the Federal Register on December 23, 2004 (69 FR 76979). We have corrected the address and fax number. This proposed AD contains the correct address and fax number. The suggestion of first describing the part affected followed by the compliance time is an acceptable method of organizing an AD. The FAA has used that method. However, we believe that after determining if the AD applies to their product, operators generally want to know when they have to comply with the AD. Therefore, in general, we attempt to place the compliance times at the beginning of a paragraph. Each organizational approach has its merits. However, we have chosen to continue to use the same organization in this proposal as we used in AD 2004–23–15. Although these words have the same meaning, under plain-language concepts, the shorter, simpler word is preferred. Therefore, we are continuing to use ‘‘do’’ instead of ‘‘accomplish’’ or ‘‘complete,’’ We agree that the 300-hour TIS repetitive inspection needs to be mandated by AD. We issued AD 2004–23–15 as a Final Rule; Request for comments (an immediately adopted rule (IAR)) without prior public notice and comment because the inspections mandated by that AD were required within a very short time period. An IAR is an exception to the normal prior public notice and comment procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and is based on a good-cause finding of impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. Likewise, 14 CFR part 11 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures guide our rulemaking. Based on these rulemaking constraints, we could not justify inserting a long-term requirement, such as a 300-hour TIS inspection, into an IAR. However, we should have discussed our plan to implement the long-term repetitive requirements in the preamble discussions of the IAR. We plan to add the recurring 300-hour TIS inspection after issuing an NPRM and seeking public comments. We are doing that with this proposal. As to the comment that we add language to the AD in a note requiring a repetitive 300-hour TIS visual and X-ray inspection, it is inappropriate to place a mandatory requirement in an AD note. Notes in ADs are appropriate for providing helpful information, not required actions, to AD users. Thus far, we have not required a repetitive 300-hour TIS inspection of these affected TT strap part numbers. As to the comment that this requirement can be found as a note for each appropriate part number listed in the Limitation section of the maintenance manual, changes to the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness or Maintenance Manuals, even if FAA-approved, require compliance only if implemented through an AD. This action proposes to require the repetitive 300-hour TIS inspection sought by the commenter. We do not agree that any editorial changes are necessary. 2. Correct the manufacturer’s address and the fax number .................... 3. The commenter suggests we clarify when the initial visual and X-ray inspections should begin. For example, instead of stating ‘‘within 10 hours TIS for any TT strap that has accumulated 1190 or more hours TIS,’’ write it as: ‘‘For any TT strap that has accumulated 1190 or more hours TIS, within 10 hours TIS * * *’’ The commenter suggests this change be made in the preamble as well as paragraphs (b) and (c) of the AD language. 4. The commenter suggests that we use the word ‘‘complete’’ instead of ‘‘do’’ or ‘‘doing’’ in the AD where we state the compliance requirements. 5. The commenter suggests that we add the following language to the preamble discussion of the AD as well as add it as a note to the AD language: ‘‘Although not part of this AD, the FAA has required a 300 repetitive hour visual and x-ray inspection of the straps after the initial inspection required by this AD. This requirement can be found as a note for each of the TT straps Part Numbers listed in the FAA Approved Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Maintenance Manual.’’ rmajette on PROD1PC67 with PROPOSALS 6. The commenter suggests the following editorial changes to the following sentence from paragraph (g) of the existing AD: ‘‘This AD revises the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance * * *’’ to ‘‘This AD revises the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the maintenance * * *’’ 7. The commenter suggests that the new life limits be recorded on the Assembly Component Historical Record (CSP–RLB–L16 form). 8. The commenter requests that the existing AD be superseded as soon as possible, but no later than February 7, 2005 ‘‘due to the critical nature of the recommended AD changes’’ and to ensure that operators do not overlook the 300-hour repetitive inspection. We have also received several reports from operators as required by AD 2004– 23–13. We included this reporting requirement to obtain sufficient field data that would allow us to verify that the mandated inspection interval would VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:25 May 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 We agree that the new life limit should be recorded and propose that change. We agree that the repetitive inspection is important. The comment period for AD 2004–23–15 that we are proposing to supersede in this NPRM closed January 21, 2005. Thus, the February 7, 2005, compliance date requested by the commenter was unrealistically short and has already past. Since the comment period closed, the FAA has been processing this NPRM that proposes requiring an additional 300-hour TIS inspection to the other requirements currently in AD 2004–23–15. be adequate to manage the immediate short-term safety concern. Since issuing the AD, we have reviewed a sufficient number of reports to determine that the current interim inspection actions are adequate to ensure safety. Accordingly, PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 we are proposing the remove the reporting requirements. However, this action is interim until the investigation is complete and final terminating action can be generated. E:\FR\FM\10MYP1.SGM 10MYP1 27214 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 90 / Wednesday, May 10, 2006 / Proposed Rules The previously described unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type design. Therefore, the proposed AD would supersede AD 2004–23–15 and would require the following for MDHI Model MD900 helicopters with a TT strap, part number (P/N) 900R3442009– 103, 900R6442009–103, 900R3442009– 101, or 500N5311–5, installed: • Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, for TT strap, P/N 900R3442009–103 and 900R6442009–103, reducing the life limit from 3,034 to 2,500 hours TIS and revising the life limit on the component history card or equivalent record; • Within 10 hours TIS, unless accomplished previously, and then at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, for any TT strap that has accumulated 1,190 or more hours TIS, doing a visual and X-ray inspection of each TT strap and replacing any unairworthy TT strap before further flight; and • Before the TT strap accumulates 1,200 hours TIS, and then at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, for any TT strap with less than 1,190 hours TIS, doing a visual and X-ray inspection of each strap and replacing any unairworthy TT strap before further flight. The inspections would have to be accomplished by following portions of the service information previously described. We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 31 helicopters of U.S. registry. It would take about 7 work hours for each visual inspection and replacement at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Because you must remove the TT strap to inspect it, there is no additional labor cost for replacing the TT strap. It would also cost $100 for each X-ray inspection. Required parts would cost about $757 to replace each strap. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $168,950 in the first year (assuming a total of 5 TT straps are replaced per helicopter and 3 visual inspections and 3 X-ray inspections are conducted the first year for each helicopter). rmajette on PROD1PC67 with PROPOSALS Regulatory Findings We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. Additionally, 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. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:25 May 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the proposed regulation: 1. Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; 2. Is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and 3. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. We prepared a draft economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD. See the DMS to examine the draft economic evaluation. 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. We are 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. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety. The Proposed Amendment Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (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. § 39.13 [Amended] 2. Section 39.13 is amended by removing Amendment 39–13870 (69 FR 67805, November 22, 2004), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows: MD Helicopters, Inc.: Docket No. FAA–2006– 24631; Directorate Identifier 2005–SW– PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 01. Supersedes AD 2004–23–15, Amendment 39–13870, Docket No. FAA–2004–19613, Directorate Identifier 2004–SW–38–AD. Applicability: Model MD900 helicopters, with a Notar fan system that has a tensiontorsion (TT) strap, part number (P/N) 900R3442009–103, 900R6442009–103, 900R3442009–101, or 500N5311–5, installed, certificated in any category. Compliance: Required as indicated. To prevent failure of a TT strap in the Notar fan system, loss of directional control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following: (a) Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, for TT Straps, P/N 900R3442009–103 and 900R6442009–103, reduce the life limit from 3,034 to 2,500 hours time-in-service (TIS) and revise the life limit on the component history card or equivalent record to reflect this reduced retirement life. (b) Within 10 hours TIS, unless accomplished previously, for any TT strap that has accumulated 1,190 or more hours TIS, and then at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, remove the TT strap from the helicopter and do a visual and an X-ray inspection in accordance with the Inspection Instructions, paragraph 2.B.(1). through (5)., and Figures 1 and 2 of MD Helicopters Service Bulletin SB900–095, dated November 3, 2004 (SB). Replace any unairworthy TT strap before further flight. (c) Before the TT strap accumulates 1,200 hours TIS, for any TT strap with less than 1,190 hours TIS, and then at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, remove the TT strap from the helicopter and do a visual and an X-ray inspection in accordance with the Inspection Instructions, paragraph 2.B.(1). through (5)., and Figures 1 and 2 of the SB. Replace any unairworthy TT strap before further flight. (d) The X-ray inspection of the TT strap must be performed by a Level II or higher Xray technician who is qualified under the guidelines established by MIL–STD– 410E, ATA Specification 105, AIA–NAS–410, or an FAA-accepted equivalent for qualification standards. (e) This AD revises the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance manual by reducing the life limit of the TT straps, P/N 900R3442009–103 and 900R6442009–103, from 3,034 hours TIS to 2,500 hours TIS. Additionally, this AD revises the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance manual by adding repetitive inspection requirements at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS for TT straps, P/N 900R3442009–103, 900R6442009–103, 900R3442009–101, and 500N5311–5, that have 1,200 or more hours TIS until the TT strap reaches its retirement life. (f) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Contact the Los Angeles Aircraft Certification, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, for information about previously approved alternative methods of compliance. E:\FR\FM\10MYP1.SGM 10MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 90 / Wednesday, May 10, 2006 / Proposed Rules Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 1, 2006. Mark R. Schilling, Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. E6–7092 Filed 5–9–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2006–24733; Directorate Identifier 2005–SW–08–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model SA341G, SA342J, and SA–360C Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: This amendment proposes superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for the specified Eurocopter France (ECF) model helicopters that currently requires replacing each affected main rotor head torsion tie bar (tie bar) with an airworthy tie bar and revising the limitations section of the maintenance manual by adding life limits for certain tie bars. This action would retain the current requirements and reduce life limits of another part-numbered tie bar. This proposal is prompted by the FAA determination, after reviewing the manufacturer’s data, that another partnumbered tie bar should be included in the applicability of the AD. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of a tie bar, loss of a main rotor blade, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. SUMMARY: Comments must be received on or before July 10, 2006. ADDRESSES: Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD: • DOT Docket Web site: Go to https://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically; • Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically; • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL–401, Washington, DC 20590; • Fax: 202–493–2251; or rmajette on PROD1PC67 with PROPOSALS DATES: VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:25 May 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 • Hand Delivery: Room PL–401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may get the service information identified in this proposed AD from American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75053–4005, telephone (972) 641–3460, fax (972) 641–3527. You may examine the comments to this proposed AD in the AD docket on the Internet at https://dms.dot.gov. Examining the Docket You may examine the docket that contains this AD, any comments, and other information on the Internet at https://dms.dot.gov, or at the Docket Management System (DMS), U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW., Room PL–401, on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, Washington, DC. Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193–0111, telephone (817) 222–5130, fax (817) 222–5961. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited We invite you to submit any written data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to the address listed under the caption ADDRESSES. Include the docket number ‘‘FAA–2006–24733, Directorate Identifier 2005–SW–08–AD’’ at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend the proposed AD in light of those comments. We will post all comments we receive, without change, to https:// dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Using the search function of our docket Web site, you can find and read the comments to any of our dockets, including the name of the individual who sent or signed the comment. You may review the DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78) or you may visit https://dms.dot.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 27215 Discussion On April 11, 2002, we issued AD 2002–08–16 (67 FR 19640, April 23, 2002), Amendment 39–12725, to supersede AD 2001–19–51 (66 FR 58663, November 23, 2001), Amendment 39–12508. AD 2001–19–51 was published after we issued Emergency AD 2001–19–51 on September 21, 2001. AD 2001–19–51 requires removal of certain partnumbered tie bars and adds a life limit for other part-numbered tie bars. AD 2002–08–16 retained requirements removing certain part-numbered tie bars and further reduced the life of the tie bars. Those actions were prompted by an accident involving an ECF Model SA341G helicopter due to the failure of a tie bar. The ECF Model SA342J and SA–360C helicopters have tie bars identical to the one that failed on the ECF Model SA341G helicopter. The requirements of the current AD are intended to prevent failure of a tie bar, loss of a main rotor blade, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. Since issuing that AD, the Direction Generale De L’Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA of another affected tiebar, part number (P/N) 704A33–633– 270, and additional flight restrictions for the new-affected tie bar. Also, since issuing that AD, ECF has issued Alert Service Bulletin No. 01.29, dated December 4, 2002 (ASB), for the Models SA341G and SA342J helicopters. The ASB cancels Alert Telex (AT) No. 01.28, dated August 7, 2001, and supersedes AT 01.29 R1, dated December 11, 2001. The ASB specifies additional flight restrictions for the affected tie bars and adds tie bar, P/N 704A33–633–270, to the ASB effectivity. The DGAC classified this ASB as mandatory and issued AD 2001– 587–041(A) R2, dated January 8, 2003, for the Model SA341/342 helicopters to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in France. These helicopter models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.29 and the applicable bilateral agreement. Pursuant to the applicable bilateral agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of these type designs that are certificated for operation in the United States. E:\FR\FM\10MYP1.SGM 10MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 90 (Wednesday, May 10, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27212-27215]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-7092]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2006-24631; Directorate Identifier 2005-SW-01-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; MD Helicopters, Inc. Model MD900 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document proposes superseding an existing airworthiness 
directive (AD) for MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) Model MD900 helicopters. 
That AD currently requires reducing the life limit of certain Notar fan 
system tension-torsion (TT) straps. That AD also requires, at a 
specified time interval, removing each affected TT strap from the 
helicopter, doing a visual and X-ray inspection, and replacing any 
unairworthy part before further flight. This AD would require the same 
actions as the existing AD, but would also require revising the life 
limit on the component history card or equivalent record, doing 
repetitive visual and X-ray inspections, and would remove reporting 
requirements. This proposal is prompted by two in-flight TT strap 
failures. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to 
prevent failure of a TT strap, loss of directional control, and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 10, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on 
this proposed AD:
     DOT Docket Web site: Go to https://dms.dot.gov and follow 
the instructions for sending your comments electronically;
     Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to https://
www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your 
comments electronically;
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, 
Washington, DC 20590;
     Fax: 202-493-2251; or
     Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the 
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    You may get the service information identified in this proposed AD 
from MD Helicopters Inc., Attn: Customer Support Division, 4555 E. 
McDowell Rd., Mail Stop M615, Mesa, Arizona 85215-9734, telephone 1-
800-388-3378, fax 480-346-6813, or on the Web at https://
www.mdhelicopters.com.
    You may examine the comments to this proposed AD in the AD docket 
on the Internet at https://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roger Durbin, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, Airframe 
Branch, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712, telephone 
(562) 627-5233, fax (562) 627-5210.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    We invite you to submit any written data, views, or arguments 
regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to the address listed 
under the caption ADDRESSES. Include the docket number ``FAA-2006-
24631, Directorate Identifier 2005-SW-01-AD'' at the beginning of your 
comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will 
consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend the 
proposed AD in light of those comments.
    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to https://
dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will 
also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA 
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Using the search 
function of our docket Web site, you can find and read the comments to 
any of our dockets, including the name of the individual who sent or 
signed the comment. You may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 
19477-78) or you may visit https://dms.dot.gov.

Examining the Docket

    You may examine the docket that contains the proposed AD, any 
comments, and other information in person at the Docket Management 
System (DMS) Docket Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-
647-5227) is located at the plaza level of the Department of 
Transportation Nassif Building in Room PL-401 at 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC. Comments will be available in the AD docket 
shortly after the DMS receives them.

Discussion

    On November 10, 2004, we issued a Final Rule; Request for Comments. 
That AD, 2004-23-15, Amendment 39-13870 (69 FR 67805, November 22, 
2004), requires reducing the life limit of certain TT straps. At a 
specified time interval, that AD also requires removing each affected 
TT strap from the helicopter, doing a visual and X-ray inspection, and 
replacing any unairworthy part before further flight. Reporting the 
discovery of any unairworthy TT strap is also required. That action was 
prompted by two in-flight TT strap failures. The requirements of that 
AD are intended to prevent failure of a TT strap resulting in loss of 
directional control and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
    At the time we issued AD 2004-23-15, the cause of the failures was 
not known, and that AD was considered interim action. These proposals 
also are interim actions because the cause of the failures is still 
unknown and the investigation is ongoing. We will consider further 
rulemaking once our investigation is complete.
    Before issuing that AD, we reviewed MD Helicopters Service Bulletin 
SB-900-095, dated November 3, 2004. The service bulletin advises of the 
reduction of the TT strap life limit and describes procedures for 
performing an inspection of each TT strap for nicks, cuts, cracks, or 
wear. Procedures for a Level II or higher X-Ray technician to do and 
interpret an X-ray inspection of each TT strap for progressive fiber 
fractures are also included in the service bulletin.
    Since issuing AD 2004-23-15, we received several comments from the 
manufacturer and have given them due consideration. The following table 
lists requested changes and comments and our responses:

[[Page 27213]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Requested change/comment                   FAA response
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Change the comments due date from     We agree with this change and
 January 21, 2004, to January 21, 2005.   published a correction for
                                          this typographical error in
                                          the Federal Register on
                                          December 23, 2004 (69 FR
                                          76979).
2. Correct the manufacturer's address    We have corrected the address
 and the fax number.                      and fax number. This proposed
                                          AD contains the correct
                                          address and fax number.
3. The commenter suggests we clarify     The suggestion of first
 when the initial visual and X-ray        describing the part affected
 inspections should begin. For example,   followed by the compliance
 instead of stating ``within 10 hours     time is an acceptable method
 TIS for any TT strap that has            of organizing an AD. The FAA
 accumulated 1190 or more hours TIS,''    has used that method. However,
 write it as: ``For any TT strap that     we believe that after
 has accumulated 1190 or more hours       determining if the AD applies
 TIS, within 10 hours TIS * * *'' The     to their product, operators
 commenter suggests this change be made   generally want to know when
 in the preamble as well as paragraphs    they have to comply with the
 (b) and (c) of the AD language.          AD. Therefore, in general, we
                                          attempt to place the
                                          compliance times at the
                                          beginning of a paragraph. Each
                                          organizational approach has
                                          its merits. However, we have
                                          chosen to continue to use the
                                          same organization in this
                                          proposal as we used in AD 2004-
                                          23-15.
4. The commenter suggests that we use    Although these words have the
 the word ``complete'' instead of         same meaning, under plain-
 ``do'' or ``doing'' in the AD where we   language concepts, the
 state the compliance requirements.       shorter, simpler word is
                                          preferred. Therefore, we are
                                          continuing to use ``do''
                                          instead of ``accomplish'' or
                                          ``complete,''
5. The commenter suggests that we add    We agree that the 300-hour TIS
 the following language to the preamble   repetitive inspection needs to
 discussion of the AD as well as add it   be mandated by AD. We issued
 as a note to the AD language:            AD 2004-23-15 as a Final Rule;
 ``Although not part of this AD, the      Request for comments (an
 FAA has required a 300 repetitive hour   immediately adopted rule
 visual and x-ray inspection of the       (IAR)) without prior public
 straps after the initial inspection      notice and comment because the
 required by this AD. This requirement    inspections mandated by that
 can be found as a note for each of the   AD were required within a very
 TT straps Part Numbers listed in the     short time period. An IAR is
 FAA Approved Airworthiness Limitations   an exception to the normal
 Section of the Maintenance Manual.''     prior public notice and
                                          comment procedures of the
                                          Administrative Procedures Act
                                          (5 U.S.C. 553) and is based on
                                          a good-cause finding of
                                          impracticable, unnecessary, or
                                          contrary to the public
                                          interest. Likewise, 14 CFR
                                          part 11 and DOT Regulatory
                                          Policies and Procedures guide
                                          our rulemaking.
                                         Based on these rulemaking
                                          constraints, we could not
                                          justify inserting a long-term
                                          requirement, such as a 300-
                                          hour TIS inspection, into an
                                          IAR. However, we should have
                                          discussed our plan to
                                          implement the long-term
                                          repetitive requirements in the
                                          preamble discussions of the
                                          IAR.
                                         We plan to add the recurring
                                          300-hour TIS inspection after
                                          issuing an NPRM and seeking
                                          public comments. We are doing
                                          that with this proposal.
                                         As to the comment that we add
                                          language to the AD in a note
                                          requiring a repetitive 300-
                                          hour TIS visual and X-ray
                                          inspection, it is
                                          inappropriate to place a
                                          mandatory requirement in an AD
                                          note. Notes in ADs are
                                          appropriate for providing
                                          helpful information, not
                                          required actions, to AD users.
                                          Thus far, we have not required
                                          a repetitive 300-hour TIS
                                          inspection of these affected
                                          TT strap part numbers.
                                         As to the comment that this
                                          requirement can be found as a
                                          note for each appropriate part
                                          number listed in the
                                          Limitation section of the
                                          maintenance manual, changes to
                                          the Airworthiness Limitations
                                          Section of the Instructions
                                          for Continued Airworthiness or
                                          Maintenance Manuals, even if
                                          FAA-approved, require
                                          compliance only if implemented
                                          through an AD. This action
                                          proposes to require the
                                          repetitive 300-hour TIS
                                          inspection sought by the
                                          commenter.
6. The commenter suggests the following  We do not agree that any
 editorial changes to the following       editorial changes are
 sentence from paragraph (g) of the       necessary.
 existing AD:
``This AD revises the Airworthiness
 Limitations section of the maintenance
 * * *'' to
``This AD revises the Airworthiness
 Limitations Section (ALS) of the
 maintenance * * *''
7. The commenter suggests that the new   We agree that the new life
 life limits be recorded on the           limit should be recorded and
 Assembly Component Historical Record     propose that change.
 (CSP-RLB-L16 form).
8. The commenter requests that the       We agree that the repetitive
 existing AD be superseded as soon as     inspection is important. The
 possible, but no later than February     comment period for AD 2004-23-
 7, 2005 ``due to the critical nature     15 that we are proposing to
 of the recommended AD changes'' and to   supersede in this NPRM closed
 ensure that operators do not overlook    January 21, 2005. Thus, the
 the 300-hour repetitive inspection.      February 7, 2005, compliance
                                          date requested by the
                                          commenter was unrealistically
                                          short and has already past.
                                          Since the comment period
                                          closed, the FAA has been
                                          processing this NPRM that
                                          proposes requiring an
                                          additional 300-hour TIS
                                          inspection to the other
                                          requirements currently in AD
                                          2004-23-15.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have also received several reports from operators as required by 
AD 2004-23-13. We included this reporting requirement to obtain 
sufficient field data that would allow us to verify that the mandated 
inspection interval would be adequate to manage the immediate short-
term safety concern. Since issuing the AD, we have reviewed a 
sufficient number of reports to determine that the current interim 
inspection actions are adequate to ensure safety. Accordingly, we are 
proposing the remove the reporting requirements. However, this action 
is interim until the investigation is complete and final terminating 
action can be generated.

[[Page 27214]]

    The previously described unsafe condition is likely to exist or 
develop on other helicopters of the same type design. Therefore, the 
proposed AD would supersede AD 2004-23-15 and would require the 
following for MDHI Model MD900 helicopters with a TT strap, part number 
(P/N) 900R3442009-103, 900R6442009-103, 900R3442009-101, or 500N5311-5, 
installed:
     Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, for 
TT strap, P/N 900R3442009-103 and 900R6442009-103, reducing the life 
limit from 3,034 to 2,500 hours TIS and revising the life limit on the 
component history card or equivalent record;
     Within 10 hours TIS, unless accomplished previously, and 
then at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, for any TT strap that 
has accumulated 1,190 or more hours TIS, doing a visual and X-ray 
inspection of each TT strap and replacing any unairworthy TT strap 
before further flight; and
     Before the TT strap accumulates 1,200 hours TIS, and then 
at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, for any TT strap with less 
than 1,190 hours TIS, doing a visual and X-ray inspection of each strap 
and replacing any unairworthy TT strap before further flight.
    The inspections would have to be accomplished by following portions 
of the service information previously described.
    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 31 helicopters of 
U.S. registry. It would take about 7 work hours for each visual 
inspection and replacement at an average labor rate of $65 per work 
hour. Because you must remove the TT strap to inspect it, there is no 
additional labor cost for replacing the TT strap. It would also cost 
$100 for each X-ray inspection. Required parts would cost about $757 to 
replace each strap. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost 
impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $168,950 in the first 
year (assuming a total of 5 TT straps are replaced per helicopter and 3 
visual inspections and 3 X-ray inspections are conducted the first year 
for each helicopter).

Regulatory Findings

    We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132. Additionally, 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 that the proposed 
regulation:
    1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 
12866;
    2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under the DOT Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and
    3. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or 
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    We prepared a draft economic evaluation of the estimated costs to 
comply with this proposed AD. See the DMS to examine the draft economic 
evaluation.

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.
    We are 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 
part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (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. Section 39.13 is amended by removing Amendment 39-13870 (69 FR 
67805, November 22, 2004), and by adding a new airworthiness directive 
(AD), to read as follows:

MD Helicopters, Inc.: Docket No. FAA-2006-24631; Directorate 
Identifier 2005-SW-01. Supersedes AD 2004-23-15, Amendment 39-13870, 
Docket No. FAA-2004-19613, Directorate Identifier 2004-SW-38-AD.

    Applicability: Model MD900 helicopters, with a Notar fan system 
that has a tension-torsion (TT) strap, part number (P/N) 
900R3442009-103, 900R6442009-103, 900R3442009-101, or 500N5311-5, 
installed, certificated in any category.
    Compliance: Required as indicated.
    To prevent failure of a TT strap in the Notar fan system, loss 
of directional control, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter, accomplish the following:
    (a) Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, for 
TT Straps, P/N 900R3442009-103 and 900R6442009-103, reduce the life 
limit from 3,034 to 2,500 hours time-in-service (TIS) and revise the 
life limit on the component history card or equivalent record to 
reflect this reduced retirement life.
    (b) Within 10 hours TIS, unless accomplished previously, for any 
TT strap that has accumulated 1,190 or more hours TIS, and then at 
intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS, remove the TT strap from the 
helicopter and do a visual and an X-ray inspection in accordance 
with the Inspection Instructions, paragraph 2.B.(1). through (5)., 
and Figures 1 and 2 of MD Helicopters Service Bulletin SB900-095, 
dated November 3, 2004 (SB). Replace any unairworthy TT strap before 
further flight.
    (c) Before the TT strap accumulates 1,200 hours TIS, for any TT 
strap with less than 1,190 hours TIS, and then at intervals not to 
exceed 300 hours TIS, remove the TT strap from the helicopter and do 
a visual and an X-ray inspection in accordance with the Inspection 
Instructions, paragraph 2.B.(1). through (5)., and Figures 1 and 2 
of the SB. Replace any unairworthy TT strap before further flight.
    (d) The X-ray inspection of the TT strap must be performed by a 
Level II or higher X-ray technician who is qualified under the 
guidelines established by MIL-STD- 410E, ATA Specification 105, AIA-
NAS-410, or an FAA-accepted equivalent for qualification standards.
    (e) This AD revises the Airworthiness Limitations section of the 
maintenance manual by reducing the life limit of the TT straps, P/N 
900R3442009-103 and 900R6442009-103, from 3,034 hours TIS to 2,500 
hours TIS. Additionally, this AD revises the Airworthiness 
Limitations section of the maintenance manual by adding repetitive 
inspection requirements at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TIS for 
TT straps, P/N 900R3442009-103, 900R6442009-103, 900R3442009-101, 
and 500N5311-5, that have 1,200 or more hours TIS until the TT strap 
reaches its retirement life.
    (f) To request a different method of compliance or a different 
compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. 
Contact the Los Angeles Aircraft Certification, Transport Airplane 
Directorate, FAA, for information about previously approved 
alternative methods of compliance.


[[Page 27215]]


    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 1, 2006.
Mark R. Schilling,
Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. E6-7092 Filed 5-9-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P