Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters, 81427-81430 [2020-27660]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 242 / Wednesday, December 16, 2020 / Proposed Rules would provide enough funds for the Board’s administrative obligations and decrease the funding for research and promotion activities to reflect the significant reduction in the 2020–21 crop. Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Board considered production history, crop estimates, its financial statements, and the need to meet its administrative obligations and maintain some marketing efforts to increase demand for tart cherries. The Board discussed alternatives, including raising the assessment rate and borrowing funds; however, they were rejected due to the burden of increasing assessments on handlers and the cost of debt due to financing. The Board determined that 2020–21 expenditures of $795,000 were appropriate, and the recommended assessment rate and allocation, along with funds from interest income, and funds from reserves, would be adequate to cover the budgeted expenses. A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal year indicates that the average grower price for the 2020– 21 season should be approximately $0.19 per pound of tart cherries. According to NASS statistics, this price is the average of the past three years. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2020–21 crop year as a percentage of total grower revenue would be approximately 3.0 percent. This proposed rule would not increase the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs would be offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the marketing order. The Board’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the tart cherry industry. All interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Board deliberations on all issues. Like all Board meetings, the September 10, 2020, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0177, Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Dec 15, 2020 Jkt 253001 Wisconsin. No changes in those requirements would be necessary as a result of this proposed rule. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large tart cherry handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https:// www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/ moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposed rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 930 Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tart cherries. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 930 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 930—TART CHERRIES GROWN IN THE STATES OF MICHIGAN, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, OREGON, UTAH, WASHINGTON, AND WISCONSIN 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 930 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 930.200 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 930.200 Assessment rate. On and after October 1, 2020, the assessment rate imposed on handlers shall be $0.00575 per pound of tart cherries grown in the production area and utilized in the production of tart cherry products. Included in this rate is $0.00275 per pound of tart cherries to cover the cost of the research and PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 81427 promotion program and $0.003 per pound of tart cherries to cover administrative expenses. Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2020–27563 Filed 12–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2020–1132; Project Identifier MCAI–2020–01386–R] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018–15–02, which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2018–15–02 requires repetitively inspecting the tail rotor (TR) pitch rod for a damaged elastomeric ball joint, and corrective action if necessary. Since the FAA issued AD 2018–15–02, the FAA determined that the manufacturer had developed improved inspection procedures and identified conditions that would allow the repetitive inspection intervals specified in AD 2018–15–02 to be extended to correspond with the intervals for the inspection of the TR pitch rod specified in the airworthiness limitation section of the applicable helicopter maintenance manual. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2018–15–02 and allow the repetitive inspection interval to be extended under certain conditions, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 1, 2021. SUMMARY: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\16DEP1.SGM 16DEP1 81428 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 242 / Wednesday, December 16, 2020 / Proposed Rules • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. For material that will be incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 000; email ADs@ easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this IBR material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.You may view this IBR material at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N–321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 817–222–5110. It is also available in the AD docket on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020– 1132. Examining the AD Docket khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020– 1132; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this NPRM, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712–4137; phone: 562–627–5353; fax: 562–627–5210; email: Katherine.Venegas@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under ADDRESSES. Include ‘‘Docket No. FAA–2020–1132; Project Identifier MCAI–2020–01386–R’’ at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Dec 15, 2020 Jkt 253001 comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposal because of those comments. Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this proposal. Confidential Business Information CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as ‘‘PROPIN.’’ The FAA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712–4137; phone: 562–627–5353; fax: 562–627–5210; email: Katherine.Venegas@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking. Discussion The FAA issued AD 2018–15–02, Amendment 39–19334 (83 FR 34029, July 19, 2018) (AD 2018–15–02), which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2018–15–02 requires repetitively inspecting the TR pitch rod for a damaged elastomeric ball joint, and corrective action if necessary. The FAA issued AD 2018–15–02 to address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on the TR pitch change rod. This condition could result in failure of the PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 TR pitch change rod and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. Actions Since AD 2018–15–02 Was Issued Since the FAA issued AD 2018–15– 02, the FAA determined that the manufacturer had developed improved inspection procedures and identified conditions that would allow the repetitive inspection intervals specified in AD 2018–15–02 to be expanded to correspond with the intervals for the inspection of the TR pitch rod specified in the airworthiness limitation section of the applicable helicopter maintenance manual. The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017–0020R1, dated May 22, 2019 (EASA AD 2017–0020R1) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350BB, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS355E, AS355F, AS355 F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP helicopters. Model AS350BB helicopters are not certificated by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this proposed AD therefore does not include those helicopters in the applicability. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of several cases of damaged TR pitch rod ball joints. The FAA is proposing this AD to address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on the TR pitch change rod. This condition could result in failure of the TR pitch change rod and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for additional background information. Comments on AD 2018–15–02 The FAA gave the public the opportunity to comment on AD 2018– 15–02. The following presents the comments received on AD 2018–15–02 and the FAA’s response to those comments. Request To Allow Pilots To Do the Inspection Four commenters requested that the FAA allow pilots to do the inspection specified in the required action paragraph of AD 2018–15–02. The commenters observed that the Airbus Helicopters service information specified in AD 2018–15–02 identified qualified personnel as a mechanical engineer technician or a pilot. Three of those commenters also noted that the repetitive inspection required by AD 2018–15–02 is required at intervals not to exceed 10 hours time-in-service (TIS). E:\FR\FM\16DEP1.SGM 16DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 242 / Wednesday, December 16, 2020 / Proposed Rules through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section. These commenters explained that because many of the affected helicopters are utilized for firefighting, law enforcement, and utility applications, operators might not have access to a mechanic to do the inspection every 10 hours TIS, therefore a pilot should be allowed to perform the inspection. The FAA disagrees. Per 14 CFR 43.3, the persons listed as authorized to perform maintenance do not include pilots. In addition, AD 2018–15–02 requires actions where a device to measure degrees of rotation is needed. Because this precision measuring equipment must be used, a pilot is not allowed to perform the inspection. The FAA did not make any changes to AD 2018–15–02 regarding this issue. However, the FAA reviewed these comments again in light of this NPRM, which proposes to supersede AD 2018– 15–02, and to incorporate EASA AD 2017–0020R1 by reference. EASA AD 2017–0020R1 identifies conditions where operators can revert to the original repetitive inspection intervals specified in the applicable airworthiness limitations section for the affected helicopters. The intervals specified in the airworthiness limitations section are every 50 flight hours, and for the purposes of this proposed AD, every 50 hours TIS. FAA’s Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD because the FAA evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design. Explanation of Retained Requirements Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD 2018–15–02, this proposed AD would retain all of the requirements of AD 2018–15–02, except this proposed AD would allow for extended repetitive intervals. Those requirements are referenced in EASA AD 2017–0020R1, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of this proposed AD. Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51 EASA AD 2017–0020R1 describes procedures for repetitively inspecting the TR pitch rod for a damaged (debonding, extrusion, or cracking) elastomeric ball joint and corrective action. The corrective action includes replacing an affected TR pitch rod with a serviceable TR pitch rod. This material is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it Proposed AD Requirements This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2017–0020R1 described previously, as incorporated by reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this AD. Explanation of Required Compliance Information In the FAA’s ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD 81429 process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2017–0020R1 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2017– 0020R1 in its entirety, through that incorporation, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a particular section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD requirement refers to ‘‘all required actions and compliance times,’’ compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section titled ‘‘Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)’’ in the EASA AD. Service information specified in EASA AD 2017–0020R1 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2017– 0020R1 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020–1132 after the FAA final rule is published. Costs of Compliance The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 955 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD: ESTIMATED COSTS FOR REQUIRED ACTIONS Action Labor cost Retained actions from AD 2018–15–02 ......... 0.5 work-hour × $85 per hour = $42.50 ......... khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS This new proposed AD adds no new costs to affected operators. The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-condition Cost per product Parts cost actions that would be required based on the results of any required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the $0 $42.50 Cost on U.S. operators $40,587.50 number of helicopters that might need these on-condition actions: ESTIMATED COSTS OF ON-CONDITION ACTIONS Labor cost Parts cost 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 .......................................................................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Dec 15, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\16DEP1.SGM 16DEP1 $3,358 Cost per product $3,443 81430 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 242 / Wednesday, December 16, 2020 / Proposed Rules Authority for This Rulemaking Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA’s authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency’s authority. The FAA is issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements. Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action. Regulatory Findings The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, (2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, 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. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Dec 15, 2020 Jkt 253001 2018–15–02, Amendment 39–19334 (83 FR 34029, July 19, 2018), and adding the following new AD: Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA–2020– 1132; Project Identifier MCAI–2020– 01386–R. (a) Comments Due Date The FAA must receive comments by February 1, 2021. (b) Affected Airworthiness Directive (ADs) This AD replaces AD 2018–15–02, Amendment 39–19334 (83 FR 34029, July 19, 2018) (AD 2018–15–02). (c) Applicability This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters, certificated in any category, as identified in European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2017–0020R1, dated May 22, 2019 (EASA AD 2017–0020R1). (d) Subject Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 6720, Tail Rotor Control System. (e) Reason This AD was prompted by a report of several cases of damaged tail rotor (TR) pitch rod ball joints. The FAA is issuing this AD to address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on the TR pitch change rod. This condition could result in failure of the TR pitch change rod and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. (f) Compliance Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done. (g) New Requirements Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all required actions and compliance times specified in, and in accordance with, EASA AD 2017–0020R1. (h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2017–0020R1 (1) Where EASA AD 2017–0020R1 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD. (2) Where EASA AD 2017–0020R1 refers to February 9, 2017 (the effective date of EASA AD 2017–0020–E, dated February 9, 2017), this AD required using August 3, 2018 (the effective date of AD 2018–15–02). (3) The ‘‘Remarks’’ section of EASA AD 2017–0020R1 does not apply to this AD. (4) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017–0020R1 specifies to discard certain parts, this AD does not include that requirement. (5) Where EASA AD 2017–0020R1 refers to flight hours (FH), this AD requires using hours time-in-service. (6) Where paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017– 0020R1 specifies an initial compliance time of ‘‘Before exceeding 50 FH [flight hours] since the last inspection per ALS [airworthiness limitations] chapter 04–20–00, or within 10 FH or 7 days, whichever occurs first,’’ for this AD, the initial compliance time is within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS). PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (7) For the inspections specified in paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017–0020R1: Accomplishing the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(7)(i) and (ii) of this AD before the effective date of this AD are acceptable for compliance with the inspections specified in in paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017– 0020R1. On or after the effective date of this AD comply with the inspections as specified in paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017–0020R1. (i) Manually induce a flapping movement in the TR blade until the pitch change rod rotates a minimum of 10 degrees. (ii) Inspect both faces of the blade side of the ball joint elastomer for debonding, extrusion, and cracks. (8) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017–0020R1 permits certain actions to be performed by a mechanical engineering technician or pilot, this AD requires that the actions be performed by a qualified mechanic. (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) The Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Validation Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@ faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/ certificate holding district office. (j) Related Information (1) For EASA AD 2017–0020R1, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https:// ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this material at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N–321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 817–222–5110. This material may be found in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020–1132. (2) For more information about this AD, contact: Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712–4137; phone: 562–627–5353; fax: 562–627–5210; email: Katherine.Venegas@faa.gov. Issued on December 11, 2020. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2020–27660 Filed 12–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P E:\FR\FM\16DEP1.SGM 16DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 242 (Wednesday, December 16, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 81427-81430]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-27660]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2020-1132; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01386-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2018-15-02, which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, 
AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, 
AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2018-15-02 requires repetitively 
inspecting the tail rotor (TR) pitch rod for a damaged elastomeric ball 
joint, and corrective action if necessary. Since the FAA issued AD 
2018-15-02, the FAA determined that the manufacturer had developed 
improved inspection procedures and identified conditions that would 
allow the repetitive inspection intervals specified in AD 2018-15-02 to 
be extended to correspond with the intervals for the inspection of the 
TR pitch rod specified in the airworthiness limitation section of the 
applicable helicopter maintenance manual. This proposed AD would retain 
the requirements of AD 2018-15-02 and allow the repetitive inspection 
interval to be extended under certain conditions, as specified in a 
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for 
incorporation by reference. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the 
unsafe condition on these products.

DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 1, 
2021.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

[[Page 81428]]

     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    For material that will be incorporated by reference (IBR) in this 
AD, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; 
telephone +49 221 89990 000; email [email protected]; internet 
www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this IBR material on the EASA website 
at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.You may view this IBR material at the FAA, 
Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., 
Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability 
of this material at the FAA, call 817-222-5110. It is also available in 
the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1132.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-
1132; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains 
this NPRM, any comments received, and other information. The street 
address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be 
available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Section, 
Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 
90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5353; fax: 562-627-5210; email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or 
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed 
under ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2020-1132; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2020-01386-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful 
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA 
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend 
this proposal because of those comments.
    Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in 
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to 
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you 
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each 
substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.

Confidential Business Information

    CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily 
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public 
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial 
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that 
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to 
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted 
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing 
CBI as ``PROPIN.'' The FAA will treat such marked submissions as 
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public 
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to 
Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical 
and Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 
Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5353; fax: 
562-627-5210; email: [email protected]. Any commentary that the 
FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed 
in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Discussion

    The FAA issued AD 2018-15-02, Amendment 39-19334 (83 FR 34029, July 
19, 2018) (AD 2018-15-02), which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters 
Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, 
AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2018-15-02 
requires repetitively inspecting the TR pitch rod for a damaged 
elastomeric ball joint, and corrective action if necessary. The FAA 
issued AD 2018-15-02 to address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on 
the TR pitch change rod. This condition could result in failure of the 
TR pitch change rod and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

Actions Since AD 2018-15-02 Was Issued

    Since the FAA issued AD 2018-15-02, the FAA determined that the 
manufacturer had developed improved inspection procedures and 
identified conditions that would allow the repetitive inspection 
intervals specified in AD 2018-15-02 to be expanded to correspond with 
the intervals for the inspection of the TR pitch rod specified in the 
airworthiness limitation section of the applicable helicopter 
maintenance manual.
    The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the 
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0020R1, dated May 22, 2019 
(EASA AD 2017-0020R1) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing 
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition 
for certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350BB, AS350B1, 
AS350B2, AS350B3, AS355E, AS355F, AS355 F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP 
helicopters. Model AS350BB helicopters are not certificated by the FAA 
and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this 
proposed AD therefore does not include those helicopters in the 
applicability.
    This proposed AD was prompted by a report of several cases of 
damaged TR pitch rod ball joints. The FAA is proposing this AD to 
address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on the TR pitch change 
rod. This condition could result in failure of the TR pitch change rod 
and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for 
additional background information.

Comments on AD 2018-15-02

    The FAA gave the public the opportunity to comment on AD 2018-15-
02. The following presents the comments received on AD 2018-15-02 and 
the FAA's response to those comments.

Request To Allow Pilots To Do the Inspection

    Four commenters requested that the FAA allow pilots to do the 
inspection specified in the required action paragraph of AD 2018-15-02. 
The commenters observed that the Airbus Helicopters service information 
specified in AD 2018-15-02 identified qualified personnel as a 
mechanical engineer technician or a pilot. Three of those commenters 
also noted that the repetitive inspection required by AD 2018-15-02 is 
required at intervals not to exceed 10 hours time-in-service (TIS).

[[Page 81429]]

These commenters explained that because many of the affected 
helicopters are utilized for firefighting, law enforcement, and utility 
applications, operators might not have access to a mechanic to do the 
inspection every 10 hours TIS, therefore a pilot should be allowed to 
perform the inspection.
    The FAA disagrees. Per 14 CFR 43.3, the persons listed as 
authorized to perform maintenance do not include pilots. In addition, 
AD 2018-15-02 requires actions where a device to measure degrees of 
rotation is needed. Because this precision measuring equipment must be 
used, a pilot is not allowed to perform the inspection. The FAA did not 
make any changes to AD 2018-15-02 regarding this issue. However, the 
FAA reviewed these comments again in light of this NPRM, which proposes 
to supersede AD 2018-15-02, and to incorporate EASA AD 2017-0020R1 by 
reference. EASA AD 2017-0020R1 identifies conditions where operators 
can revert to the original repetitive inspection intervals specified in 
the applicable airworthiness limitations section for the affected 
helicopters. The intervals specified in the airworthiness limitations 
section are every 50 flight hours, and for the purposes of this 
proposed AD, every 50 hours TIS.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    EASA AD 2017-0020R1 describes procedures for repetitively 
inspecting the TR pitch rod for a damaged (debonding, extrusion, or 
cracking) elastomeric ball joint and corrective action. The corrective 
action includes replacing an affected TR pitch rod with a serviceable 
TR pitch rod. This material is reasonably available because the 
interested parties have access to it through their normal course of 
business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another 
country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant 
to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA 
has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI 
referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD because the FAA 
evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe 
condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other 
products of the same type design.

Explanation of Retained Requirements

    Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the 
requirements of AD 2018-15-02, this proposed AD would retain all of the 
requirements of AD 2018-15-02, except this proposed AD would allow for 
extended repetitive intervals. Those requirements are referenced in 
EASA AD 2017-0020R1, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of 
this proposed AD.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified 
in EASA AD 2017-0020R1 described previously, as incorporated by 
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the 
regulatory text of this AD.

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

    In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD 
process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a 
process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information 
for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has 
since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation 
authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2017-
0020R1 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This 
proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2017-
0020R1 in its entirety, through that incorporation, except for any 
differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this 
proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a 
particular section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need 
comply only with that section. For example, where the AD requirement 
refers to ``all required actions and compliance times,'' compliance 
with this AD requirement is not limited to the section titled 
``Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)'' in the EASA AD. Service 
information specified in EASA AD 2017-0020R1 that is required for 
compliance with EASA AD 2017-0020R1 will be available on the internet 
at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. 
FAA-2020-1132 after the FAA final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 955 helicopters of 
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with 
this proposed AD:

                                      Estimated Costs for Required Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Cost per      Cost on U.S.
                Action                         Labor cost           Parts cost        product        operators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retained actions from AD 2018-15-02...  0.5 work-hour x $85 per               $0          $42.50      $40,587.50
                                         hour = $42.50.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This new proposed AD adds no new costs to affected operators.
    The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-
condition actions that would be required based on the results of any 
required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of 
helicopters that might need these on-condition actions:

                 Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Cost per
               Labor cost                   Parts cost        product
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 work-hour x $85 per hour = $85........          $3,358          $3,443
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 81430]]

Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to 
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the 
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, 
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
    The FAA is issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements. 
Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight 
of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for 
practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary 
for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that 
authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to 
exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

    The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not 
have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship 
between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed 
regulation:
    (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive 
Order 12866,
    (2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, 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.

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

0
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]

0
2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2018-15-02, Amendment 39-19334 (83 FR 34029, July 19, 2018), and adding 
the following new AD:

Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2020-1132; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2020-01386-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments by February 1, 2021.

(b) Affected Airworthiness Directive (ADs)

    This AD replaces AD 2018-15-02, Amendment 39-19334 (83 FR 34029, 
July 19, 2018) (AD 2018-15-02).

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, 
AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, 
and AS355NP helicopters, certificated in any category, as identified 
in European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2017-0020R1, 
dated May 22, 2019 (EASA AD 2017-0020R1).

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 6720, Tail Rotor 
Control System.

(e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report of several cases of damaged 
tail rotor (TR) pitch rod ball joints. The FAA is issuing this AD to 
address damage to the elastomeric ball joint on the TR pitch change 
rod. This condition could result in failure of the TR pitch change 
rod and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, 
unless already done.

(g) New Requirements

    Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all 
required actions and compliance times specified in, and in 
accordance with, EASA AD 2017-0020R1.

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2017-0020R1

    (1) Where EASA AD 2017-0020R1 refers to its effective date, this 
AD requires using the effective date of this AD.
    (2) Where EASA AD 2017-0020R1 refers to February 9, 2017 (the 
effective date of EASA AD 2017-0020-E, dated February 9, 2017), this 
AD required using August 3, 2018 (the effective date of AD 2018-15-
02).
    (3) The ``Remarks'' section of EASA AD 2017-0020R1 does not 
apply to this AD.
    (4) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017-
0020R1 specifies to discard certain parts, this AD does not include 
that requirement.
    (5) Where EASA AD 2017-0020R1 refers to flight hours (FH), this 
AD requires using hours time-in-service.
    (6) Where paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017-0020R1 specifies an 
initial compliance time of ``Before exceeding 50 FH [flight hours] 
since the last inspection per ALS [airworthiness limitations] 
chapter 04-20-00, or within 10 FH or 7 days, whichever occurs 
first,'' for this AD, the initial compliance time is within 10 hours 
time-in-service (TIS).
    (7) For the inspections specified in paragraph (1) of EASA AD 
2017-0020R1: Accomplishing the actions specified in paragraphs 
(h)(7)(i) and (ii) of this AD before the effective date of this AD 
are acceptable for compliance with the inspections specified in in 
paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2017-0020R1. On or after the effective date 
of this AD comply with the inspections as specified in paragraph (1) 
of EASA AD 2017-0020R1.
    (i) Manually induce a flapping movement in the TR blade until 
the pitch change rod rotates a minimum of 10 degrees.
    (ii) Inspect both faces of the blade side of the ball joint 
elastomer for debonding, extrusion, and cracks.
    (8) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017-
0020R1 permits certain actions to be performed by a mechanical 
engineering technician or pilot, this AD requires that the actions 
be performed by a qualified mechanic.

(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    The Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, has the 
authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the 
procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, 
send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight 
Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information 
directly to the International Validation Branch, send it to the 
attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. 
Information may be emailed to: [email protected]. Before 
using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal 
inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the 
local flight standards district office/certificate holding district 
office.

(j) Related Information

    (1) For EASA AD 2017-0020R1, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-
Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 000; email 
[email protected]; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this 
EASA AD on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may 
view this material at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, 
Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 
76177. For information on the availability of this material at the 
FAA, call 817-222-5110. This material may be found in the AD docket 
on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and 
locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1132.
    (2) For more information about this AD, contact: Katherine 
Venegas, Aviation Safety Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and 
Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 
Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5353; 
fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected].

    Issued on December 11, 2020.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-27660 Filed 12-15-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P