[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 117 (Monday, June 18, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36220-36222]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14805]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0632; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-044-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France 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 France (Eurocopter) Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 
365 N3, EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-365C, SA-365C1, SA-365C2, and SA-366G1 
helicopters. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of corrosion on 
the main gearbox (MGB) casing lower area between the two servo-control 
anchoring fitting attachment ribs. An investigation determined that the 
corrosion was associated with sealing compound on the lower part of the 
fitting/casing attachment. The proposed actions are intended to detect 
corrosion on the MGB casing, which could lead to a crack, failure of 
the MGB, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 17, 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 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 
75053-4005, telephone (800) 232-0323, fax (972) 641-3710, or at http://www.eurocopter.com. 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: Rao Edupuganti, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-4389; 
email: rao.edupaganti@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.: 
2011-0127, dated July 1, 2011 (AD No. 2011-0127), which supersedes 
Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC France) AD F-2008-04, 
dated June 4, 2008, for the Eurocopter Model EC 155 B, EC 155 B1, SA 
365 N, SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, AS 365 N3, SA 366 G1, SA 365 C, SA 365 C1, 
SA 365 C2, and SA 365 C3 helicopters with a MGB, all part numbers, that 
was delivered before December 5, 2007, installed on helicopters 
delivered before December 5, 2007, or overhauled or repaired before 
September 30, 2008. EASA states that in 2008, it received two reports 
of atmospheric corrosion on the MGB casing lower area of two 
helicopters between the two servo-control anchoring fitting attachment 
ribs. The investigation showed that the corrosion occurred in this area 
due to the presence of ``PR sealing compound'' on the lower part of the 
fitting/casing attachment. The ``PR sealing compound'' may have been 
applied incorrectly on some helicopters due to a misinterpretation of 
the Eurocopter documentation during installation. EASA states that this 
condition, if not corrected, could lead to ``crack initiation and crack 
growth in the affected area of the casing,'' which could cause this 
area to fail and result in loss of control of the helicopter.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to 
our bilateral agreement with France, 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

[[Page 36221]]

unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of 
these same type designs.

Related Service Information

    Eurocopter has issued one Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB), 
Revision 0, dated May 7, 2008, with five different numbers. EASB No. 
63.00.17 is for the Model AS 365-series helicopters; EASB No. 63.00.12 
is for the military Model AS 565-series helicopters, which are not FAA 
type certificated; EASB No. 63A011 is for the Model EC 155-series 
helicopters; EASB No. 65.03 is for the Model SA 366-series helicopters; 
and EASB No. 65.47 is for the Model SA 365-series helicopters and the 
non-FAA type certificated Model SA 360-series helicopters. The EASB 
specifies inspecting for ``PR sealing compound'' on the lower parts of 
the MGB anchoring fittings, removing any ``PR sealing compound,'' and 
repairing any corrosion. EASA classified this EASB as mandatory and 
issued AD No. 2011-0127 to ensure the continued airworthiness of these 
helicopters.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require the following actions:
     Within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS), inspecting the 
lower parts of the anchoring fittings for sealing compound.
     If there is sealing compound on the lower parts of the 
anchoring fittings, removing the sealing compound and inspecting the 
anchoring fittings for corrosion.
     If there is corrosion, repairing the affected area. If 
there is no corrosion, applying touch up protective treatment and 
renewing any damaged sealing compound bead in the lower part of the 
anchoring fitting.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD requires inspecting the anchoring fittings for ``PR 
sealing compound'' within 15 flight hours, while this proposed AD would 
require inspecting within 30 hours TIS. The EASA AD applies to the 
Model SA-365C3, and this proposed AD does not include this model 
because it does not have an FAA-issued type certificate. This AD would 
not allow the compliance times provided in Appendix 1 of the EASA AD, 
since it is desirable to accomplish any required repairs before further 
flight.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 31 helicopters of 
U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs 
in order to comply with this AD. Inspecting the anchor fittings for 
sealing compound and corrosion will require about .5 work hour at an 
average labor rate of $85 per hour, for a cost per helicopter of about 
$43 and a cost to the entire U.S. fleet of $1,318. To remove any 
sealing compound and repair any corrosion damage will require about 8 
work hours at an average labor rate of $85 per hour, for a cost per 
helicopter of $680.

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 France Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2012-0632; Directorate 
Identifier 2011-SW-044-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Eurocopter Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, 
AS 365 N3, EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-366G1, SA-365C, SA-365C1, and SA-
365C2 helicopters, with a main gearbox (MGB) installed, certificated 
in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as corrosion on the MGB 
casing lower area between the servo-control anchoring ribs, caused 
by sealing compound on the lower part of the fitting/casing 
attachment. This condition could result in a crack, failure of the 
MGB, 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 30 hours time-in-service, inspect the lower parts of 
the MGB servo-control anchoring fittings (anchor fittings) for 
sealing compound, referring to Figure 1 of Eurocopter Emergency 
Alert Service Bulletin No. 63.00.17 (for Models SA-365N, SA-365N1, 
AS-365N2 and AS 365 N3); No. 63A011 (for Models EC 155B and 
EC155B1); No. 65.03 (for Model SA-366G1); and No. 65.47 (for Models 
SA-365C, SA-365C1, and SA-365C2), Revision 0, dated May 7, 2008 
(EASB).

    Note to (d)(1): The Eurocopter EASB is one document with 
multiple EASB numbers, each applicable to different base model 
Eurocopter helicopters.

    (2) If there is sealing compound on the lower part of an MGB 
anchor fitting, remove the sealing compound and inspect for 
corrosion in the lower area of the MGB casing.
    (i) If there is corrosion, before further flight, repair the 
corrosion area.

[[Page 36222]]

    (ii) If there is no corrosion, apply touch up protective 
treatment, if required, and renew the bead of any damaged sealing 
compound in the upper part of the anchor fitting.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Rao Edupuganti, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-
4389; email: rao.edupaganti@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

    (1) Eurocopter Repair Sheet 365-63-36-08, dated April 4, 2008 
and Standard Practices Manual (MTC) Work Cards 20.04.04, 20.04.05, 
and 20.05.01, which are not incorporated by reference, contain 
additional information regarding the subject of this proposed AD and 
in particular regarding the procedures for corrosion repair, 
protective treatment touch-up, and renewing the damaged sealing 
bead.
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact 
American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 
75053-4005, telephone (800) 232-0323, fax (972) 641-3710, or at 
http://www.eurocopter.com. 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 AD No. 2011-0127, dated July 1, 2011.

 (g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6320: Main Rotor 
Gearbox.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 7, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-14805 Filed 6-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P