[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 46 (Friday, March 7, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 12303-12305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-4495]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2008-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-22-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Models 
206L, L-1, L-3, L-4, and 407 Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the 
specified Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) helicopters. This 
proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information 
(MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to 
identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The 
Aviation Authority of Canada with whom we have a bilateral agreement 
states in the MCAI:

    Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-
801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the 
upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These 
flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the 
horizontal stabilizer.

    The manufacturer's service information states that in addition to 
cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or debonding 
around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would require actions 
that are intended to address all these unsafe conditions.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://
www.regulations.gov, or in person at the Docket Operations Office 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic 
evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street 
address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is 
in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket 
shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, 
Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-
5961.

[[Page 12304]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Streamlined Issuance of AD

    The FAA is implementing a new process for streamlining the issuance 
of ADs related to MCAI. This streamlined process will allow us to adopt 
MCAI safety requirements in a more efficient manner and will reduce 
safety risks to the public. This process continues to follow all FAA AD 
issuance processes to meet legal, economic, Administrative Procedure 
Act, and Federal Register requirements. We also continue to meet our 
technical decision-making responsibilities to identify and correct 
unsafe conditions on U.S.-certificated products.
    This proposed AD references the MCAI and related service 
information that we considered in forming the engineering basis to 
correct the unsafe condition. The proposed AD contains text copied from 
the MCAI and for this reason might not follow our plain language 
principles.

Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or 
arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address 
listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2008-0258; 
Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-22-AD'' at the beginning of your 
comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We 
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend 
this proposed AD based on those comments.
    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We 
will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we 
receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

    Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has 
issued an MCAI in the form of Canadian Airworthiness Directive No. CF-
2007-03, dated March 27, 2007 (referred to after this as ``the MCAI''), 
to correct an unsafe condition for these Canadian-certificated 
products. The MCAI states:

    Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-
801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the 
upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These 
flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the 
horizontal stabilizer.

    The manufacturer's service information states that in addition to 
cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or debonding 
around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would require actions 
that are intended to address all these unsafe conditions.
    You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI and 
service information in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

    Transport Canada has issued Alert Service Bulletins 206L-06-141 and 
407-06-72, both dated September 12, 2006. The actions described in the 
MCAI are intended to correct the same unsafe condition as that 
identified in the service information.

FAA's Determination and Proposed Requirements

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of Canada 
and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our 
bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, we have been 
notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service 
information. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all 
pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is 
likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type 
designs.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI

    We have reviewed the MCAI and related service information and, in 
general, agree with their substance. However, we have changed the 
alternate compliance time from May 9, 2007, to within 30 days, and we 
have not mandated replacing the horizontal stabilizer by a certain 
date. In making this change, we do not intend to differ substantively 
from the information provided in the MCAI.
    Differences are highlighted in the ``Differences Between the FAA AD 
and the MCAI'' section in the proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 59 horizontal 
stabilizers (27-206L and 32-407 models) on about 1156 products of U.S. 
registry. We also estimate that it would take about:
     2.5 work hours to determine if the affected part is 
installed on the helicopter,
     4 work hours to perform the initial and 600-hour recurring 
inspection, and
     8 work hours to remove and replace an affected part.
     The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour.
     Required parts would cost about $20,173 for the Model 206L 
series and $25,669 for the Model 407 helicopters.
    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on 
U.S. operators would be $1,663,519, assuming operators of the entire 
fleet would need to determine whether they have an affected part 
installed; the 59 helicopters with the affected parts would undergo the 
initial inspection; 30 helicopters with the affected part would undergo 
one recurring 600-hour inspection; and all 59 affected parts would be 
replaced.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not 
have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship 
between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed 
regulation:
    1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 
12866;
    2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under the DOT Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and
    3. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or 
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply 
with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

[[Page 12305]]

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

    1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.


Sec.  39.13  [Amended]

    2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Docket No. FAA-2008-0258; 
Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-22-AD.

Comments Due Date

    (a) We must receive comments by April 7, 2008.

Other Affected ADs

    (b) None.

Applicability

    (c) This AD applies to Models 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-4 
with horizontal stabilizer, part number (P/N) 206-023-119-167, and 
Model 407 with horizontal stabilizer, P/N 407-023-801-109, 
installed, certificated in any category.

Reason

    (d) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) 
states:
    Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-
801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the 
upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These 
flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the 
horizontal stabilizer.
    The manufacturer's service information states that in addition 
to cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or 
debonding around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would 
require actions that are intended to address all these unsafe 
conditions.

Actions and Compliance

    (e) Within the next 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 30 days, 
whichever occurs first, unless done previously.
    (1) Determine whether you have an affected serial numbered 
horizontal stabilizer installed by removing the elevators from the 
horizontal stabilizer. Access the horizontal stabilizer 
identification tag containing the horizontal stabilizer serial 
number as shown in Figure 1 and remove the elevators by following 
the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, of Bell Helicopter Textron 
Canada (BHTC) Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 206L-06-141, dated 
September 12, 2006, applicable to the Model 206L series helicopter 
(206L ASB) or BHTC ASB No. 407-06-72, dated September 12, 2006, 
applicable to the Model 407 helicopters (407 ASB).
    (2) If the serial number on the identification tag is a serial 
number listed in Table 1 of the 206L ASB or 407 ASB, inspect the 
horizontal stabilizer as follows:
    (i) Using a 10x or higher magnifying glass, inspect the 
horizontal stabilizer for a crack or deformation around the areas of 
the inserts. Also, using a tap test method, inspect for debonding 
between the inserts by following the Accomplishment Instructions, 
Part II, of either the 206L ASB or 407 ASB, as applicable.
    (ii) If you find a crack, deformation, or debonding, replace the 
horizontal stabilizer with an airworthy horizontal stabilizer that 
does not have a serial number listed in Table 1 of the 206L ASB or 
407 ASB. Replace the horizontal stabilizer by following the 
Accomplishment Instructions, Part III, of either the 206L ASB or the 
407 ASB, as applicable.
    (iii) If you do not find a crack, deformation, or debonding, 
thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 600 hours TIS or during each 
annual inspection, whichever occurs first, repeat the inspection 
required by paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this AD.
    (f) Replacing any horizontal stabilizer containing a serial 
number listed in Table 1 of 206L ASB or 407 ASB with a horizontal 
stabilizer that does not contain such a serial number by following 
the Accomplishment Instructions, Part III, of either the 206L ASB or 
407 ASB, as applicable, constitutes terminating actions for the 
requirements of this AD.

Differences Between the FAA AD and the MCAI

    (g) The MCAI requires compliance ``within the next 100 hours air 
time but no later than 9 May 2007.'' This AD requires compliance 
within the next 100 hours TIS or 30 days, whichever occurs first, 
unless done previously. Also, the MCAI requires replacing the 
horizontal stabilizer by September 30, 2008, and we have not 
mandated a compliance time for replacing the horizontal stabilizer.

Subject

    (h) Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code: 5510 
Horizontal Stabilizer Structure.

Other Information

    (i) The following provisions also apply to this AD:
    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, 
Safety Management Group, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for 
this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. 
Send information to ATTN Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety Engineer, 
FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort 
Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-
5961.
    (2) Airworthy Product: Use only FAA-approved corrective actions. 
Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved 
by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent) if the 
State of Design has an appropriate bilateral agreement with the 
United States. You are required to assure the product is airworthy 
before it is returned to service.
    (3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in 
this AD, under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the information 
collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-
0056.

Related Information

    (j) MCAI Transport Canada Airworthiness Directive No. CF-2007-
03, dated March 27, 2007, contain related information.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 28, 2008.
Mark R. Schilling,
Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-4495 Filed 3-6-08; 8:45 am]
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