Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Helicopters, 5427-5429 [2012-2419]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2012–0082; Directorate Identifier 2010–SW–036–AD] Examining the AD Docket RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: This document proposes adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., (Bell) Model 412 and 412EP helicopters. This proposal would require creating a component history card or equivalent record and begin counting and recording the number of accumulated landings for each high aft crosstube assembly (crosstube). Also, this proposal would require installing ‘‘caution’’ decals regarding towing of a helicopter at or above 8,900 pounds. This proposal would also require confirming the crosstube is within the horizontal deflection limits and replacing it if it is not. This proposal would also require a recurring fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) of each crosstube and upper center support for a crack, any corrosion, nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. This proposal would require repairing damaged crosstubes and upper center supports that are within acceptable limits, reworking crosstubes by bonding on abrasion strips, and replacing each unairworthy crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. This proposal is prompted by analysis of the crosstubes conducted as a result of recent field failures and corrosion problems of the affected crosstubes. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of a crosstube, collapse of the landing gear, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. SUMMARY: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 3, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Fax: (202) 493–2251. • Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: Deliver to the ‘‘Mail’’ address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone (800) 647–5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, Texas 76101; telephone (817) 280–3391; fax (817) 280–6466; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Kohner, Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222–5170; email mike.kohner@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time. We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5427 before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive. Discussion This document proposes adopting a new AD for the specified Bell model helicopters. This proposal would require creating a component history card or equivalent record and begin counting and recording the number of accumulated landings for each crosstube. Also, this proposal would require installing ‘‘caution’’ decals regarding towing of a helicopter at or above 8,900 pounds. This proposal would also require confirming that the crosstube is within the horizontal deflection limits and replacing it if it is not. This proposal would also require a recurring FPI of each crosstube and upper center support for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. This proposal would require repairing damaged crosstubes and upper center supports that are within acceptable limits, reworking crosstubes by bonding on abrasion strips, and replacing each unairworthy crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. The affected crosstubes are the older non-anodized configuration and have had a service history of corrosion problems. In response to reports of field failures, Bell has completed a load level survey, material coupon testing, and additional analysis of the crosstubes. The results indicate that fatigue damage can occur during towing and landing. This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of a crosstube, collapse of the landing gear, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. FAA’s Determination We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs. Related Service Information We have reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412–09–135, dated August 25, 2009 (ASB). The ASB specifies, within 6 months after receiving the ASB, for each affected crosstube, a recurring 12 month/2500 landing FPI, a recurring 12 month/2500 landing deflection check, and use of a towing retention kit per BHT–412–SI–58 Gross Weight Towing Kit Provisions and Puller Equipment for helicopters that weigh 8,900 pounds or higher. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 5428 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules Proposed AD Requirements mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS This proposed AD would require compliance with specified portions of the manufacturer’s service bulletin. It would require for each crosstube: • Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), unless accomplished previously, creating a component history card or equivalent record and begin counting and recording the number of accumulated landings for each crosstube. Also, installing CAUTION decals regarding towing a helicopter that weighs at or above 8,900 pounds. • Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first: Æ Determining the horizontal deflection of each crosstube, and before further flight, replacing any crosstube that exceeds any maximum allowable deflection limit. Æ Removing and disassembling the landing gear assembly to prepare each crosstube for an FPI. Æ Cleaning and preparing the crosstube for the FPI by removing the sealant and paint. Æ Performing an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. Æ Repairing the crosstube if there is any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage that is within the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, or replacing the unairworthy crosstube. Æ If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, replacing the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. • Before further flight, after doing the FPI, unless accomplished previously, reworking each crosstube by bonding abrasion strips on the under side of the crosstubes at BL 0.0 and BL 14. Also, recording on the component history card or equivalent record an ‘‘FM’’ to the end of the part number sequence of each crosstube that has been reworked (for example, 412– 050–011–107FM). Costs of Compliance We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 115 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. It would take about 1 hour to create a component history card or VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 equivalent record and begin to determine and record the number of accumulated landings; 0.5 hour to install caution decals on the pilot and co-pilot side of each helicopter; 0.5 hour to measure the horizontal deflection of each crosstube; 3 hours to inspect and prepare the area and do an FPI on each crosstube; 4 hours to rework a crosstube, assuming 5 will need to be reworked; and 2 hours to replace a crosstube, assuming 3 will need to be replaced. The average labor rate is $85 per workhour and required parts for a replacement crosstube would cost about $9,315 per helicopter. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $79,030. 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. Regulatory Findings We 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, I certify this 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); 3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and 4. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety. 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. § 39.13 [Amended] 2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new Airworthiness Directive (AD): Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.: Docket No. FAA–2012–0082; Directorate 2010–SW– 036–AD. (a) Applicability This AD applies to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., (Bell) Model 412 and 412EP helicopters with a high aft crosstube assembly (crosstube), part number (P/N) 412–050–011– 101, –103, –105, –107; or 412–050–045–105, installed, certificated in any category. (b) Unsafe Condition This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure and corrosion of the affected crosstubes. This condition could result in collapse of the landing gear and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. (c) Compliance You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time. (d) Required Actions (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), unless accomplished previously: (i) For each crosstube, create a component history card or equivalent record. Begin to count and record the number of accumulated landings for each crosstube. For the purposes of this AD, a landing would be counted anytime the helicopter lifts off into the air and then lands again with any further reduction of the collective after the landing gear touches the ground. (ii) Install CAUTION decals, P/N 212–070– 600–143, on the pilot and co-pilot sides of each helicopter as depicted in Figure 3 of Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412–09–135, dated August 25, 2009 (ASB), and by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part III—Towing, paragraph 1., of the ASB. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules (2) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first, determine the horizontal deflection of each crosstube from the centerline of the helicopter (BL 0.0) to the outside edge of each skid tube. Before further flight, replace any crosstube that exceeds any maximum allowable deflection limit contained in the maintenance manual. (3) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first: (i) Remove and disassemble the landing gear assembly to prepare each crosstube for a fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, paragraphs 1. through 9., of the ASB. Note 1: Abrasion strip, P/N 206–050–301– 111; lower center support, P/N 412–050– 007–101, with the incorporated Larson L101 abrasion strip; and lower center support, P/N 604–026–003, if installed on any crosstube, P/N 412–050–045–105, or reworked crosstubes, P/N 412–050–011–101, –103, –105, or –107, are only removed if required by following the instructions in the ASB (see items 2, 5, and 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB). (ii) Clean and prepare the crosstube for the FPI by removing the sealant and paint in the area depicted in Figure 2 of the ASB by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Cleaning and Preparation,’’ paragraphs 1. through 5., of the ASB. (iii) Perform an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support, P/N 412–050–006–101, for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Inspection,’’ paragraphs 1. through 3. of the ASB. Use Table 2 in the ASB to determine the appropriate Inspection Criteria Table to use in the maintenance manual, which list the maximum repair damage limits for each crosstube P/N applicable to this AD. (iv) Repair the crosstube or upper center support if there is any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage that is within the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, or replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. Note 2: The repair procedures are specified in the Component Repair and Overhaul Manual. (v) If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. (4) Before further flight, after completing paragraph (d)(3) of this AD, unless accomplished previously, rework each crosstube P/N 412–050–011–101, –103, –105, or –107 by applying the bonding procedures and abrasion strips on the under side of the crosstubes at BL 0.0 and BL 14 by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Rework of Crosstubes,’’ paragraphs 1. through 10. of the ASB. Record on the component history card or equivalent record an ‘‘FM’’ to the end of the part number sequence of each crosstube that has been reworked (for example, 412–050–011– 107FM). Omit the Larson L101 abrasion strip VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 at BL 0.0 on each crosstube when installing lower center support, P/N 604–026–003 (see item 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB). (e) Special Flight Permit Special flight permits for inspections only may be issued under 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished. (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC) (1) The Manager, Rotorcraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Michael Kohner, Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222–5170; email mike.kohner@faa.gov. (2) For operations conducted under a Part 119 operating certificate or under Part 91, Subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC. (g) Subject Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3210, Main Landing Gear. Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 27, 2012. Kim Smith, Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2012–2419 Filed 2–2–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA–2011–1237; Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–5] RIN 2120–AA66 Proposed Modification of the Atlanta Class B Airspace Area; GA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: This action proposes to modify the Atlanta, GA, Class B airspace area to ensure the containment of aircraft within Class B airspace, reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the Atlanta, GA, terminal area. DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 3, 2012. ADDRESSES: Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5429 Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001; telephone: (202) 366–9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA–2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–1, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Gallant, Airspace, Regulations and ATC Procedures Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267–8783. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. FAA– 2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08– AWA–5) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ‘‘Comments to Docket Nos. FAA–2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–5.’’ The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter. All communications received on or before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this action may be changed in light of comments received. All comments submitted will be available for examination in the public docket both before and after the closing date for comments. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket. Availability of NPRMs An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 23 (Friday, February 3, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5427-5429]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2419]



[[Page 5427]]

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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0082; Directorate Identifier 2010-SW-036-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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

SUMMARY: This document proposes adopting a new airworthiness directive 
(AD) for Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., (Bell) Model 412 and 412EP 
helicopters. This proposal would require creating a component history 
card or equivalent record and begin counting and recording the number 
of accumulated landings for each high aft crosstube assembly 
(crosstube). Also, this proposal would require installing ``caution'' 
decals regarding towing of a helicopter at or above 8,900 pounds. This 
proposal would also require confirming the crosstube is within the 
horizontal deflection limits and replacing it if it is not. This 
proposal would also require a recurring fluorescent penetrant 
inspection (FPI) of each crosstube and upper center support for a 
crack, any corrosion, nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. This 
proposal would require repairing damaged crosstubes and upper center 
supports that are within acceptable limits, reworking crosstubes by 
bonding on abrasion strips, and replacing each unairworthy crosstube 
with an airworthy crosstube. This proposal is prompted by analysis of 
the crosstubes conducted as a result of recent field failures and 
corrosion problems of the affected crosstubes. The actions specified by 
this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of a crosstube, 
collapse of the landing gear, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 3, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Deliver to the ``Mail'' address between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations Office 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic 
evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street 
address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is 
in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket 
shortly after receipt.
    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact 
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, Texas 76101; 
telephone (817) 280-3391; fax (817) 280-6466; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review copies of the referenced 
service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, 
Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 
76137.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Kohner, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5170; 
email mike.kohner@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting 
written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to 
the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might 
result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful 
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To 
ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters 
should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed 
electronically, commenters should submit only one time.
    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as 
a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel 
concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we 
will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for 
comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has 
closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. 
We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

Discussion

    This document proposes adopting a new AD for the specified Bell 
model helicopters. This proposal would require creating a component 
history card or equivalent record and begin counting and recording the 
number of accumulated landings for each crosstube. Also, this proposal 
would require installing ``caution'' decals regarding towing of a 
helicopter at or above 8,900 pounds. This proposal would also require 
confirming that the crosstube is within the horizontal deflection 
limits and replacing it if it is not. This proposal would also require 
a recurring FPI of each crosstube and upper center support for a crack, 
any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. This 
proposal would require repairing damaged crosstubes and upper center 
supports that are within acceptable limits, reworking crosstubes by 
bonding on abrasion strips, and replacing each unairworthy crosstube 
with an airworthy crosstube. The affected crosstubes are the older non-
anodized configuration and have had a service history of corrosion 
problems. In response to reports of field failures, Bell has completed 
a load level survey, material coupon testing, and additional analysis 
of the crosstubes. The results indicate that fatigue damage can occur 
during towing and landing. This condition, if not corrected, could 
result in failure of a crosstube, collapse of the landing gear, and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

FAA's Determination

    We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant 
information and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is 
likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type 
designs.

Related Service Information

    We have reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412-09-
135, dated August 25, 2009 (ASB). The ASB specifies, within 6 months 
after receiving the ASB, for each affected crosstube, a recurring 12 
month/2500 landing FPI, a recurring 12 month/2500 landing deflection 
check, and use of a towing retention kit per BHT-412-SI-58 Gross Weight 
Towing Kit Provisions and Puller Equipment for helicopters that weigh 
8,900 pounds or higher.

[[Page 5428]]

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require compliance with specified portions 
of the manufacturer's service bulletin. It would require for each 
crosstube:

 Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), unless accomplished 
previously, creating a component history card or equivalent record and 
begin counting and recording the number of accumulated landings for 
each crosstube. Also, installing CAUTION decals regarding towing a 
helicopter that weighs at or above 8,900 pounds.
 Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and 
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, 
whichever occurs first:
    [cir] Determining the horizontal deflection of each crosstube, and 
before further flight, replacing any crosstube that exceeds any maximum 
allowable deflection limit.
    [cir] Removing and disassembling the landing gear assembly to 
prepare each crosstube for an FPI.
    [cir] Cleaning and preparing the crosstube for the FPI by removing 
the sealant and paint.
    [cir] Performing an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support 
for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage.
    [cir] Repairing the crosstube if there is any corrosion, a nick, 
scratch, dent, or any other damage that is within the maximum repair 
damage limits, before further flight, or replacing the unairworthy 
crosstube.
    [cir] If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the maximum 
repair damage limits, before further flight, replacing the crosstube 
with an airworthy crosstube.
 Before further flight, after doing the FPI, unless 
accomplished previously, reworking each crosstube by bonding abrasion 
strips on the under side of the crosstubes at BL 0.0 and BL 14. Also, 
recording on the component history card or equivalent record an ``FM'' 
to the end of the part number sequence of each crosstube that has been 
reworked (for example, 412-050-011-107FM).

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 115 helicopters of 
U.S. Registry.
    We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order 
to comply with this AD. It would take about 1 hour to create a 
component history card or equivalent record and begin to determine and 
record the number of accumulated landings; 0.5 hour to install caution 
decals on the pilot and co-pilot side of each helicopter; 0.5 hour to 
measure the horizontal deflection of each crosstube; 3 hours to inspect 
and prepare the area and do an FPI on each crosstube; 4 hours to rework 
a crosstube, assuming 5 will need to be reworked; and 2 hours to 
replace a crosstube, assuming 3 will need to be replaced. The average 
labor rate is $85 per work-hour and required parts for a replacement 
crosstube would cost about $9,315 per helicopter. Based on these 
figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. 
operators to be $79,030.

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.

Regulatory Findings

    We 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, I certify this 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);
    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that 
it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and
    4. 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 an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply 
with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.

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 Directive (AD):

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.: Docket No. FAA-2012-0082; Directorate 
2010-SW-036-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., (Bell) Model 
412 and 412EP helicopters with a high aft crosstube assembly 
(crosstube), part number (P/N) 412-050-011-101, -103, -105, -107; or 
412-050-045-105, installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure and corrosion of 
the affected crosstubes. This condition could result in collapse of 
the landing gear and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this 
AD within the specified compliance time.

(d) Required Actions

    (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), unless accomplished 
previously:
    (i) For each crosstube, create a component history card or 
equivalent record. Begin to count and record the number of 
accumulated landings for each crosstube. For the purposes of this 
AD, a landing would be counted anytime the helicopter lifts off into 
the air and then lands again with any further reduction of the 
collective after the landing gear touches the ground.
    (ii) Install CAUTION decals, P/N 212-070-600-143, on the pilot 
and co-pilot sides of each helicopter as depicted in Figure 3 of 
Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412-09-135, dated August 
25, 2009 (ASB), and by following the Accomplishment Instructions, 
Part III--Towing, paragraph 1., of the ASB.

[[Page 5429]]

    (2) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and 
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, 
whichever occurs first, determine the horizontal deflection of each 
crosstube from the centerline of the helicopter (BL 0.0) to the 
outside edge of each skid tube. Before further flight, replace any 
crosstube that exceeds any maximum allowable deflection limit 
contained in the maintenance manual.
    (3) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and 
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, 
whichever occurs first:
    (i) Remove and disassemble the landing gear assembly to prepare 
each crosstube for a fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) by 
following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, paragraphs 1. 
through 9., of the ASB.

    Note 1: Abrasion strip, P/N 206-050-301-111; lower center 
support, P/N 412-050-007-101, with the incorporated Larson L101 
abrasion strip; and lower center support, P/N 604-026-003, if 
installed on any crosstube, P/N 412-050-045-105, or reworked 
crosstubes, P/N 412-050-011-101, -103, -105, or -107, are only 
removed if required by following the instructions in the ASB (see 
items 2, 5, and 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB).

    (ii) Clean and prepare the crosstube for the FPI by removing the 
sealant and paint in the area depicted in Figure 2 of the ASB by 
following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ``Cleaning and 
Preparation,'' paragraphs 1. through 5., of the ASB.
    (iii) Perform an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support, 
P/N 412-050-006-101, for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, 
dent, or any other damage by following the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part I, ``Inspection,'' paragraphs 1. through 3. of 
the ASB. Use Table 2 in the ASB to determine the appropriate 
Inspection Criteria Table to use in the maintenance manual, which 
list the maximum repair damage limits for each crosstube P/N 
applicable to this AD.
    (iv) Repair the crosstube or upper center support if there is 
any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage that is 
within the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, or 
replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube.

    Note 2:  The repair procedures are specified in the Component 
Repair and Overhaul Manual.

    (v) If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the 
maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, replace the 
crosstube with an airworthy crosstube.
    (4) Before further flight, after completing paragraph (d)(3) of 
this AD, unless accomplished previously, rework each crosstube P/N 
412-050-011-101, -103, -105, or -107 by applying the bonding 
procedures and abrasion strips on the under side of the crosstubes 
at BL 0.0 and BL 14 by following the Accomplishment Instructions, 
Part I, ``Rework of Crosstubes,'' paragraphs 1. through 10. of the 
ASB. Record on the component history card or equivalent record an 
``FM'' to the end of the part number sequence of each crosstube that 
has been reworked (for example, 412-050-011-107FM). Omit the Larson 
L101 abrasion strip at BL 0.0 on each crosstube when installing 
lower center support, P/N 604-026-003 (see item 6 in Figure 1 of the 
ASB).

(e) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits for inspections only may be issued under 
14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location 
where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Rotorcraft Certification Office, FAA, may 
approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Michael Kohner, 
Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, 
Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 
76137; telephone (817) 222-5170; email mike.kohner@faa.gov.
    (2) For operations conducted under a Part 119 operating 
certificate or under Part 91, Subpart K, we suggest that you notify 
your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the 
manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate 
holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with 
this AD through an AMOC.

(g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3210, Main Landing 
Gear.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 27, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-2419 Filed 2-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P