Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters, 30395-30398 [2021-11965]

Download as PDF 30395 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 108 Tuesday, June 8, 2021 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2021–0453; Project Identifier MCAI–2021–00377–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) 2021–04–15, which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters. AD 2021– 04–15 requires repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for discrepancies (cracking), and corrective action if necessary. Since the FAA issued AD 2021–04–15, the FAA has determined that additional actions are required to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2021–04–15, and would require repetitive cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for cracking of the vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments, and corrective action if necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). This proposed AD would also expand the applicability to include additional Model AS350B3 helicopters. 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 July 23, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Jun 07, 2021 Jkt 253001 • 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 is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the EASA, KonradAdenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 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 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–2021– 0453. 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–2021– 0453; 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: Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206–231–3218; email kathleen.arrigotti@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 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 under ADDRESSES. Include ‘‘Docket No. FAA–2021–0453; Project Identifier MCAI–2021–00377–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 Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206–231–3218; email kathleen.arrigotti@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. Background The FAA issued AD 2021–04–15, Amendment 39–21437 (86 FR 13165, March 8, 2021) (AD 2021–04–15), which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1 30396 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 108 / Tuesday, June 8, 2021 / Proposed Rules AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters. AD 2021–04–15 requires repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for cracking, and corrective action if necessary. The FAA issued AD 2021–04–15 to address cracking in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Actions Since AD 2021–04–15 Was Issued The preamble to AD 2021–04–15 explains that the FAA was considering further rulemaking to address the actions specified in paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2020–0186, dated August 20, 2020. The FAA has now determined that further rulemaking is indeed necessary, and this proposed AD follows from that determination. This proposed AD would require additional actions and would expand the applicability to include additional Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 helicopters (i.e., Model AS350B3 helicopters modified through Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 in service). Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 was optional terminating action in EASA AD 2020– 0186. However, helicopters modified by Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 are affected by fatigue cracking and must be inspected. A terminating action is not included in this proposed AD. The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021–0099, dated April 9, 2021 (EASA AD 2021–0099) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and all Model AS350B3 helicopters except those that have that embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification 073148 in production. EASA stated that recent analysis identified that AS350B3 helicopters modified through Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 (any revision) in service might also be affected by the identified unsafe condition. This proposed AD was prompted by a determination that additional actions are required to address the unsafe VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Jun 07, 2021 Jkt 253001 condition and additional helicopters are affected by the identified unsafe condition. This proposed AD was also prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled post-flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures were found in the two front attachment screws. Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 helicopters have a similar vertical fin configuration and are subject to comparable load levels as the affected Model AS355NP helicopter, therefore, this model may be subject to the same unsafe condition revealed on the Model AS355NP helicopter. The FAA is proposing this AD to address cracking in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for additional background information. Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51 EASA AD 2021–0099 specifies procedures for repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for cracking; repetitive cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for cracking of the vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments; and corrective action. The corrective action includes repair. 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 These products have been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and are 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 after evaluating all the relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these same type designs. Explanation of Retained Requirements Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2021–04–15, this proposed AD would retain all of the requirements of AD 2021–04–15. Those requirements are referenced in EASA AD 2021–0099, 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 2021–0099 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 2021–0099 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2021–0099 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 2021–0099 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2021–0099 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2021–0453 after the FAA final rule is published. Costs of Compliance The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 650 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD: E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 108 / Tuesday, June 8, 2021 / Proposed Rules 30397 ESTIMATED COSTS FOR REQUIRED ACTIONS Action Retained actions from AD 2021–04–15. New proposed actions ........... Labor cost Parts cost 7 work-hours × $85 per hour = $595, per inspection/ cleaning cycle. 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340, per inspection/ cleaning cycle. The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-condition actions that would be required based on Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators $0 $595, per inspection/cleaning cycle. $386,750, per inspection/ cleaning cycle. 0 $340, per inspection/cleaning cycle. $221,000, per inspection/ cleaning cycle. 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 Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 ...................................................................................................................... $17,052 $17,392 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. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and (3) Would not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Jun 07, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 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: a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2021–04–15, Amendment 39– 21437 (86 FR 13165, March 8, 2021); and ■ b. Adding the following new AD: ■ ■ Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA–2021– 0453; Project Identifier MCAI–2021– 00377–R. (a) Comments Due Date The FAA must receive comments by July 23, 2021. (b) Affected Airworthiness Directives (ADs) This AD replaces AD 2021–04–15, Amendment 39–21437 (86 FR 13165, March 8, 2021) (AD 2021–04–15). (c) Applicability This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters specified in paragraph (c)(1) and (2) of this AD, certificated in any category. (1) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters, all serial numbers. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (2) Model AS350B3 helicopters, all serial numbers except those that have embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification 073148 in production. (d) Subject Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5531, Vertical Stabilizer, Spar/Rib. (e) Unsafe Condition This AD was prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled post-flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar of the upper fin and fractures were found in the two front attachment screws. The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter. (f) Compliance Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done. (g) Requirements Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all required actions and compliance times specified in, and in accordance with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021–0099, dated April 9, 2021 (EASA AD 2021–0099). (h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2021–0099 (1) Where EASA AD 2021–0099 refers to its effective date or to July 12, 2017, (the effective date of EASA AD 2017–0114, dated June 28, 2017), this AD requires using the effective date of this AD. (2) The ‘‘Remarks’’ section of EASA AD 2021–0099 does not apply to this AD. (3) Where EASA AD 2021–0099 refers to flight hours (FH), this AD requires using hours time-in-service. (4) Where paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2021– 0099 specifies to contact the manufacturer for approved repair instructions, for this AD, if E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1 30398 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 108 / Tuesday, June 8, 2021 / Proposed Rules any cracking is detected during any inspection, repair before further flight using a method approved by the Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA. For a repair method to be approved by the Manager, International Validation Branch, as required by this paragraph, the Manager’s approval letter must specifically refer to this AD. (5) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021–0099 specifies to perform a visual inspection for cracking on the ‘‘RH side of spar (a)’’ and ‘‘if you are not sure’’ remove the rear and the tail rotor gear box (TGB) fairings to perform a detailed inspection and do a dye-penetrant inspection, those actions are required by this AD if any crack indication (e.g., paint chips, dents, or swelling) is found during any inspection done without removing the rear and the TGB fairings. (6) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021–0099 specifies to perform a visual check for cracks in the ‘‘spars (a) of the top and bottom fins’’ and ‘‘if you are not sure’’ do a dye-penetrant inspection, the dye-penetrant inspection is required by this AD if any crack indication (e.g., paint chips, dents, or swelling) is found during any visual check (inspection). (7) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021–0099 specifies to check the integrity of the two thrust pad attachment screws for damage, for this AD, damage includes loosening, deformation, and nicks. (i) Special Flight Permit Special flight permits, as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199, are prohibited. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) (1) 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 manager of the International Validation Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR730-AMOC@faa.gov. (2) 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. (k) Related Information (1) For EASA AD 2021–0099, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:16 Jun 07, 2021 Jkt 253001 by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2021–0453. (2) For more information about this AD, contact Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax (206) 231–3218; email kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov. Issued on June 2, 2021. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2021–11965 Filed 6–7–21; 8:45 am] any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Myles Jalalian, Aviation Safety Engineer, Atlanta ACO Branch, FAA, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, GA 30337; phone: (404) 474–5572; fax: (404) 474–5606; email: myles.jalalian@ faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: BILLING CODE 4910–13–P Background DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [FAA Docket No. FAA–2020–0994; Project Identifier AD–2020–00687–T] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal. AGENCY: The FAA is withdrawing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (Gulfstream) Model GVII–G600 airplanes. The NPRM was prompted by a report that a failure mode in the data concentration network (DCN) software causes the pitch attitude value to freeze on the primary flight display (PFD) for up to 20 seconds. The NPRM proposed to require updating the DCN and flight deck master operating system (MOS) software. Since issuance of the NPRM, the FAA has determined that there is not an unsafe condition because all affected airplanes have updated software. Accordingly, the NPRM is withdrawn. DATES: As of June 8, 2021, the proposed rule, which published in the Federal Register on February 23, 2021 (86 FR 10875), is withdrawn. ADDRESSES: SUMMARY: Examining the AD Docket You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020–0994; 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 AD action, the regulatory evaluation, PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The FAA issued an NPRM that proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain serial-numbered Gulfstream Model GVII–G600 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 23, 2021 (86 FR 10875). The NPRM was prompted by a report of a failure mode in the DCN software that causes pitch attitude value to freeze on the PFD for up to 20 seconds, which results in temporarily incorrect pitch indications. The effect is evident only if the pitch of the airplane changes during the 20 second reset window. After 20 seconds, the system returns to normal. The standby flight display and heads up display are unaffected by this failure mode and continue to display the correct pitch attitude. However, there is not an alert or annunciation that informs the flight crew of a stale (frozen) pitch display or potentially misleading flight information. The NPRM proposed to require installing the MOS software update part number EB60001034–0106, updating the DCN software level to version 10.10.12 in support of the MOS software update, and operationally checking the installations. Incorrect pitch indications could result in the loss of control of the airplane during certain phases of flight during instrument meteorological conditions. Actions Since the NPRM Was Issued After issuance of the NPRM, the FAA received a comment from Gulfstream recommending the FAA withdraw the NPRM based on full fleet compliance. All Gulfstream Model GVII–G600 airplanes have corrected the unsafe condition by complying with the proposed software update. The FAA has determined that the unsafe condition has been removed from the fleet. In addition, since Gulfstream controls the software, it is unlikely the unsafe condition will be re-introduced. E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 108 (Tuesday, June 8, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30395-30398]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-11965]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 108 / Tuesday, June 8, 2021 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 30395]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-0453; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00377-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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

SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2021-04-15, which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, 
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and certain 
Model AS350B3 helicopters. AD 2021-04-15 requires repetitive visual 
inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for 
discrepancies (cracking), and corrective action if necessary. Since the 
FAA issued AD 2021-04-15, the FAA has determined that additional 
actions are required to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD 
would retain the requirements of AD 2021-04-15, and would require 
repetitive cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for cracking of 
the vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments, and 
corrective action if necessary, as specified in a European Union 
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation 
by reference (IBR). This proposed AD would also expand the 
applicability to include additional Model AS350B3 helicopters. 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 July 23, 
2021.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
     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 is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the EASA, 
Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 
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 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-2021-0453.

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-2021-
0453; 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: Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, 
Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, Compliance & 
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 
98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3218; 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-2021-0453; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2021-00377-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 
Kathleen Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large Aircraft Section, 
International Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, 
FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-
231-3218; 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.

Background

    The FAA issued AD 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437 (86 FR 13165, 
March 8, 2021) (AD 2021-04-15), which applies to all Airbus Helicopters 
Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2,

[[Page 30396]]

AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters. 
AD 2021-04-15 requires repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand 
side of the vertical fin spar for cracking, and corrective action if 
necessary. The FAA issued AD 2021-04-15 to address cracking in the spar 
of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front 
attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight separation of 
the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the 
helicopter.

Actions Since AD 2021-04-15 Was Issued

    The preamble to AD 2021-04-15 explains that the FAA was considering 
further rulemaking to address the actions specified in paragraph (2) of 
EASA AD 2020-0186, dated August 20, 2020. The FAA has now determined 
that further rulemaking is indeed necessary, and this proposed AD 
follows from that determination. This proposed AD would require 
additional actions and would expand the applicability to include 
additional Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 helicopters (i.e., Model 
AS350B3 helicopters modified through Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 
55.00.14 in service). Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 was 
optional terminating action in EASA AD 2020-0186. However, helicopters 
modified by Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 55.00.14 are affected by 
fatigue cracking and must be inspected. A terminating action is not 
included in this proposed AD.
    The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the 
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0099, dated April 9, 2021 (EASA 
AD 2021-0099) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing 
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition 
for all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, 
AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and all Model AS350B3 helicopters 
except those that have that embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification 
073148 in production. EASA stated that recent analysis identified that 
AS350B3 helicopters modified through Eurocopter AS350 Service Bulletin 
55.00.14 (any revision) in service might also be affected by the 
identified unsafe condition.
    This proposed AD was prompted by a determination that additional 
actions are required to address the unsafe condition and additional 
helicopters are affected by the identified unsafe condition. This 
proposed AD was also prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled 
post-flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus Helicopters 
Model AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar of the upper 
part of the vertical fin and fractures were found in the two front 
attachment screws. Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 helicopters have a 
similar vertical fin configuration and are subject to comparable load 
levels as the affected Model AS355NP helicopter, therefore, this model 
may be subject to the same unsafe condition revealed on the Model 
AS355NP helicopter. The FAA is proposing this AD to address cracking in 
the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the 
front attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight 
separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of 
control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for additional background 
information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    EASA AD 2021-0099 specifies procedures for repetitive visual 
inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for 
cracking; repetitive cleaning and repetitive detailed inspections for 
cracking of the vertical fin spar and vertical fin upper attachments; 
and corrective action. The corrective action includes repair.
    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

    These products have been approved by the aviation authority of 
another country, and are 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 after evaluating all the 
relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described 
previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these 
same type designs.

Explanation of Retained Requirements

    Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the 
requirements of AD 2021-04-15, this proposed AD would retain all of the 
requirements of AD 2021-04-15. Those requirements are referenced in 
EASA AD 2021-0099, 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 2021-0099 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 2021-0099 
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed 
AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2021-0099 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 2021-0099 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2021-
0099 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov 
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0453 after the FAA 
final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 650 helicopters of 
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with 
this proposed AD:

[[Page 30397]]



                                      Estimated Costs for Required Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 Cost on U.S.
              Action                    Labor cost        Parts cost      Cost per product        operators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retained actions from AD 2021-04-  7 work-hours x $85               $0  $595, per            $386,750, per
 15.                                per hour = $595,                     inspection/          inspection/
                                    per inspection/                      cleaning cycle.      cleaning cycle.
                                    cleaning cycle.
New proposed actions.............  4 work-hours x $85                0  $340, per            $221,000, per
                                    per hour = $340,                     inspection/          inspection/
                                    per inspection/                      cleaning cycle.      cleaning cycle.
                                    cleaning cycle.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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
------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340....         $17,052          $17,392
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
    (3) Would 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:
0
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437 
(86 FR 13165, March 8, 2021); and
0
b. Adding the following new AD:

Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2021-0453; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2021-00377-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments by July 23, 2021.

(b) Affected Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

    This AD replaces AD 2021-04-15, Amendment 39-21437 (86 FR 13165, 
March 8, 2021) (AD 2021-04-15).

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters specified in paragraph 
(c)(1) and (2) of this AD, certificated in any category.
    (1) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP 
helicopters, all serial numbers.
    (2) Model AS350B3 helicopters, all serial numbers except those 
that have embodied Airbus Helicopters Modification 073148 in 
production.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5531, Vertical 
Stabilizer, Spar/Rib.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled 
post-flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus 
Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar 
of the upper fin and fractures were found in the two front 
attachment screws. The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking in 
the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and fractures in the 
front attachment screws. This condition could lead to in-flight 
separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss 
of control of the helicopter.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Requirements

    Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all 
required actions and compliance times specified in, and in 
accordance with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 
2021-0099, dated April 9, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0099).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2021-0099

    (1) Where EASA AD 2021-0099 refers to its effective date or to 
July 12, 2017, (the effective date of EASA AD 2017-0114, dated June 
28, 2017), this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.
    (2) The ``Remarks'' section of EASA AD 2021-0099 does not apply 
to this AD.
    (3) Where EASA AD 2021-0099 refers to flight hours (FH), this AD 
requires using hours time-in-service.
    (4) Where paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2021-0099 specifies to 
contact the manufacturer for approved repair instructions, for this 
AD, if

[[Page 30398]]

any cracking is detected during any inspection, repair before 
further flight using a method approved by the Manager, International 
Validation Branch, FAA. For a repair method to be approved by the 
Manager, International Validation Branch, as required by this 
paragraph, the Manager's approval letter must specifically refer to 
this AD.
    (5) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021-
0099 specifies to perform a visual inspection for cracking on the 
``RH side of spar (a)'' and ``if you are not sure'' remove the rear 
and the tail rotor gear box (TGB) fairings to perform a detailed 
inspection and do a dye-penetrant inspection, those actions are 
required by this AD if any crack indication (e.g., paint chips, 
dents, or swelling) is found during any inspection done without 
removing the rear and the TGB fairings.
    (6) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021-
0099 specifies to perform a visual check for cracks in the ``spars 
(a) of the top and bottom fins'' and ``if you are not sure'' do a 
dye-penetrant inspection, the dye-penetrant inspection is required 
by this AD if any crack indication (e.g., paint chips, dents, or 
swelling) is found during any visual check (inspection).
    (7) Where the service information referred to in EASA AD 2021-
0099 specifies to check the integrity of the two thrust pad 
attachment screws for damage, for this AD, damage includes 
loosening, deformation, and nicks.

(i) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits, as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 
21.199, are prohibited.

(j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) 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 manager of the International Validation Branch, send 
it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(2) of 
this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected].
    (2) 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.

(k) Related Information

    (1) For EASA AD 2021-0099, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-
Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 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-2021-0453.
    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Kathleen 
Arrigotti, Program Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International 
Validation Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2200 
South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax (206) 231-
3218; email [email protected].

    Issued on June 2, 2021.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-11965 Filed 6-7-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P