[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 22, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30230-30232]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12349]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0528; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-068-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter Deutschland 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 all 
Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Model MBB-BK117 C-2 helicopters with 
certain Generator Control Units (GCU) installed. This proposed AD is 
prompted by reports of internal short circuits in certain GCUs. The 
proposed actions are intended to replace any affected GCUs to prevent a 
short circuit, which could result in a loss of electrical generating 
power, loss of systems required for continued safe flight and landing, 
and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 23, 2012.

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

Examining the AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket on the Internet 
at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations 
Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic 
evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street 
address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in 
the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket 
shortly after receipt.
    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact 
American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 
75052, telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323, fax (972) 641-3775, 
or at http://www.eurocopter.com/techpub. You may review a copy of the 
referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George Schwab, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, 2601 
Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5114; email 
george.schwab@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Comments Invited

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

Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical 
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued AD No.: 
2011-0149R1, dated September 30, 2011 (AD

[[Page 30231]]

2011-0149R1), to correct an unsafe condition for the Eurocopter 
Deutschland GmbH Model MBB-BK117 C-2 helicopters. EASA advises that 
during an acceptance test procedure of a GCU, a short circuit caused by 
a manufacturing discrepancy occurred within the unit. According to 
EASA, all part number (P/N) 51530-021EI ``no MOD,'' ``MOD A,'' and 
``MOD B'' GCUs are potentially affected by this discrepancy. To address 
this potential unsafe condition, EASA issued AD No.: 2011-0149, dated 
August 19, 2011, to identify and replace each affected GCU with an 
airworthy GCU. Since issuing that AD, Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH 
demonstrated that helicopters modified in accordance with Eurocopter 
Deutschland GmbH Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) MBB BK117 C-2-24A-008, 
Revision 1, dated August 29, 2011, have a much lower risk of losing 
electrical generating power from a faulty generator control unit. EASA 
then revised AD No.: 2011-0149 and issued AD 2011-0149R1 to allow an 
extended compliance time for helicopters modified in accordance with 
the Eurocopter Deutschland ASB.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
Germany and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant 
to our bilateral agreement with Germany, EASA, its technical 
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in 
its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known 
relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely 
to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information

    Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH has issued ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-24A-010 
Revision 2, dated September 14, 2011, which specifies removing any GCU 
with P/N 51530-021EI with no modification (MOD), MOD A, or MOD B, and 
replacing it with a GCU P/N 51530-021EI MOD C or later MOD. EASA 
classified this ASB as mandatory and issued AD 2011-0149R1 to ensure 
the continued airworthiness of these helicopters.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require replacement of the GCU with an 
airworthy GCU.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD allows a compliance time of 500 flight hours for 
helicopters previously modified by Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH ASB MBB 
BK117 C-2-24A-008 Revision 1, while the proposed AD requires compliance 
within the next 300 hours time-in-service for all affected helicopters.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 104 helicopters of 
U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs 
in order to comply with this AD. Replacing a GCU with an airworthy GCU 
will require about 2 work hours at an average labor rate of $85 per 
hour. Required parts will cost $7,130, for a total cost per helicopter 
of $7,300.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

Regulatory Findings

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

The Proposed Amendment

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

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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


Sec.  39.13  [Amended]

    2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new 
Airworthiness Directive (AD):

Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2012-0528; 
Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-068-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model MBB-BK117 C-2 helicopters with a 
generator control unit (GCU), part number (P/N) 51530-021EI with no 
modification (MOD), MOD A, or MOD B installed, certificated in any 
category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as an internal short 
circuit in certain GCUs. This condition could result in loss of 
electrical generating power, resulting in the loss of systems 
required for continued safe flight and landing, and subsequent loss 
of control of the helicopter.

(c) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this 
AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been 
accomplished prior to that time.

(d) Required Actions

    (1) Within the next 300 hours time-in-service or 6 months, 
whichever occurs first, replace all GCUs with no MOD, MOD A, or MOD 
B with an airworthy GCU.
    (2) Do not install a GCU P/N 51530-021-EI with no MOD, MOD A, or 
MOD B on any helicopter.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: George Schwab, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, 2601 
Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5114; 
email george.schwab@faa.gov.

[[Page 30232]]

    (2) For operations conducted under 14 CFR part 119 operating 
certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you 
notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, 
the manager of the local flight standards district office or 
certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft 
complying with this AD through an AMOC.

(f) Additional Information

    (1) Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Alert Service Bulletin MBB-BK117 
C-2-24A-010 Revision 2, dated September 14, 2011, which is not 
incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the 
subject of this AD.
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact 
American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, 
TX 75052, telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323, fax (972) 641-
3775, or at http://www.eurocopter.com/techpub. You may review a copy 
of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137.
    (3) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation 
Safety Agency (EASA) AD No.: 2011-0149R1, dated September 30, 2011.

 (g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2436: DC Generator 
Control Unit.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 10, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12349 Filed 5-21-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P