[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 22, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30232-30233]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12350]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0530; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-075-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron 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 
Bell Helicopter Textron (BHT) Model 412, 412EP, and 412CF helicopters. 
This proposed AD is prompted by a reported failure of a collective 
lever. These proposed actions are intended to detect a crack in the 
collective lever, which could lead to failure of the collective lever 
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 AD, contact Bell 
Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101, telephone 
(817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-6466, or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. 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: Martin Crane, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, 
Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, 2601 Meacham 
Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137, telephone (817) 222-5170, email 
martin.r.crane@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

    BHT has received a report of a fractured collective lever part 
number (P/N) 412-010-408-101. Their investigation revealed that 
residual stresses induced during manufacturing may have contributed to 
the fatigue fracture of the collective lever. This condition, if not 
corrected, could lead to failure of the collective lever, and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

FAA's Determination

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

Related Service Information

    We reviewed BHT ASB 412-11-148 and ASB 412CF-11-47, which describe 
procedures for repetitively inspecting the collective control with a 
magnifying glass and a strong light source and, if necessary, a 
fluorescent penetrant inspection. If there is a crack, the ASBs require 
replacing the collective lever.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD requires, within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS), 
cleaning the collective lever and inspecting it for cracks with a 10X 
or higher power magnifying glass. If there is a crack in the collective 
lever paint finish, this proposed AD requires removing the collective 
lever from the swashplate and performing a fluorescent penetrant 
inspection. If there is a crack in the collective lever, this proposed 
AD requires replacing the collective lever with an airworthy collective 
lever before further flight. Additionally, this AD requires repeating 
this inspection every 100 hours time-in-service (TIS).

[[Page 30233]]

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

    The BHT ASBs require compliance within 100 hours of flight time for 
the initial inspection; the proposed AD requires compliance within 25 
hours TIS. If a crack is found, the BHT ASBs require reporting the 
defect to Bell Product Support Engineering; the proposed AD does not. 
The BHT ASBs allow a portion of the collective lever to be inspected by 
a mirror and light only without a magnifying glass; the proposed AD 
does not.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 83 helicopters of 
U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs 
in order to comply with this proposed AD. Inspecting the collective 
lever requires one work-hour at an average labor rate of $85 per hour, 
for a cost per helicopter of $85 and a total cost to the U.S. operator 
fleet of $7,055 per inspection cycle. Replacing a cracked collective 
lever requires 10 work-hours at an average labor rate of $85 per hour 
and required parts will cost $12,883, for a total cost of $13,733 per 
helicopter.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

Regulatory Findings

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

The Proposed Amendment

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

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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


Sec.  39.13  [Amended]

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

Bell Helicopter Textron: Docket No. FAA-2012-0530; Directorate 
Identifier 2011-SW-075-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model 412 and 412EP helicopters, serial 
numbers (S/N) 33001 through 33213, 34001 through 34036, and 36001 
and higher; and Model 412CF helicopters, S/N 46400 and higher; with 
a collective lever part number (P/N) 412-010-408-101 installed, 
certificated in any category.

 (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a cracked collective 
lever, which could result in failure of the collective lever 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

    Within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 30 days, whichever 
occurs first, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 hours 
TIS:
    (1) Using cleaning compound (C-318) or equivalent, thoroughly 
clean the collective lever.
    (2) Using a 10X or higher power magnifying glass, inspect the 
collective lever in the areas shown in Figure 1 of Bell Helicopter 
Textron Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) 412-11-148, Revision A, dated 
December 12, 2011 or Bell Helicopter Textron ASB 412CF-11-47, 
Revision A, dated December 12, 2011, as appropriate for your model 
helicopter.
    (3) If there is a crack in the paint, remove the collective 
lever from the swashplate assembly.
    (i) Remove paint and primer from the area around the crack.
    (ii) Fluorescent penetrant inspect the area of the crack.
    (4) If there is a crack in the collective lever, before further 
flight, replace the collective lever with an airworthy collective 
lever.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Rotorcraft Certification Office, FAA, may 
approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Martin Crane, 
Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft 
Directorate, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137, telephone 
(817) 222-5170, email martin.r.crane@faa.gov.
    (2) For operations conducted under a 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

    For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell 
Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101, 
telephone (817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-6466, or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review a copy of information at 
the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 
Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

 (g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6230: Main Rotor 
Mast/Swashplate.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 10, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12350 Filed 5-21-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P