[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 168 (Wednesday, August 29, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52264-52265]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21277]


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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.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 168 / Wednesday, August 29, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 52264]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0890; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-019-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Hughes Helicopters, Inc., and McDonnell 
Douglas Helicopter Systems (Type Certificate Currently Held by MD 
Helicopters, Inc.) 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 MD 
Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) Model 369D, 369E, 369F, and 369FF helicopters 
with certain serial-numbered tailboom assemblies. This proposed AD is 
prompted by the discovery of short-edge margin conditions on two 
tailboom assemblies. The proposed actions are intended to detect a 
short-edge margin condition, to modify the tailboom by adding a 
longeron doubler over the area with the short-edge distance, and to 
prevent failure of the tailboom and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 29, 
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 MD 
Helicopters Inc., Attn: Customer Support Division, 4555 E. McDowell 
Rd., Mail Stop M615, Mesa, AZ 85215-9734, telephone 1-800-388-3378, fax 
480-346-6813, or at http://www.mdhelicopters.com. You may review 
referenced service information at the FAA, Office of Regional Counsel, 
Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Boulevard, Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 
76137.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Cecil, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, 
Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, Airframe Branch, 3960 
Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712-4137, telephone (562) 627-
5228, fax (562) 627-5210, email john.cecil@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

    We are proposing to adopt a new AD for the specified MDHI 
helicopters with certain serial-numbered tailboom assemblies installed. 
Customers returned two tailboom assemblies to the manufacturer that 
contained an improperly installed frame ring at station 209.78. The 
frame rings were installed with too short a distance between an aft 
longeron rivet and the outboard edge of the frame ring. This is known 
as a short-edge margin condition.

FAA's Determination

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

Related Service Information

    MDHI has issued one Service Bulletin (SB), dated July 20, 2010, 
with 3 different numbers: SB No. SB369D-207 for the Model 369D 
helicopters, SB No. SB369E-102 for the Model 369E helicopters, and SB 
No. SB369F-087 for the Model 369F and FF helicopters. The MDHI SB 
describes procedures for measuring the distance from the aft face of 
the station 209.78 canted frame ring to the center of the No. 1 and No. 
2 aft rivet locations on each of the four longerons spaced 90[deg] 
apart around the frame ring. If a short-edge margin condition exists, 
the SB specifies modifying the tailboom by installing a repair doubler 
at each affected location.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require measuring the distance from the aft 
face of the station 209.78 frame ring to the center of rivet No. 1 and 
rivet No. 2 at the four locations where the frame ring attaches to the 
tailboom longeron. If either the No. 1 or No. 2 aft rivet at a frame-
ring-to-tailboom longeron location is more than 0.50 inches (12.7 
millimeters) from the aft face of the

[[Page 52265]]

station 209.78 frame ring, before further flight, the proposed AD would 
require modifying that location by fabricating and installing a doubler 
over the location in accordance with the previously-described service 
information.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 109 helicopters of 
U.S. registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs 
in order to comply with this AD. $340 for 4 work hours to access and 
measure for a short-edge margin condition at $85 per hour for a total 
of $37,060 for the fleet.
    The on-condition costs for installing the doubler are not included 
in our cost estimate because we have no way of determining the number 
of aircraft that might need a doubler, which would require about 8 work 
hours at $85 per hour for a total of $699 additional labor for each 
helicopter and $19 for required parts.

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):

Hughes Helicopters Inc., and McDonnel Douglas Helicopter Systems 
(Type Certificate currently held by MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI)): 
Docket No. FAA-2012-0890; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-019-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model 369D, E, F, and FF helicopters with 
tailboom assembly, part number (P/N) 369D23500-505, -507, -511, or -
513 with a serial number prefix of ``7604'' and -0001 through -0003, 
-0006 through -0047, -0049 through -0082, or -0084 through -0113, 
installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as too short an edge 
distance from an aft longeron rivet to the edge of a tailboom frame 
ring, which could result in failure of the tailboom 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 6 months or 100 hours time-in-service, whichever 
occurs first, measure the distance from the aft face of the station 
209.78 frame ring to the center of rivet No. 1 and rivet No. 2 at 
the four locations where the frame ring attaches to the tailboom 
longeron as depicted in Figure 2 of MD Helicopters Service Bulletin 
(SB) No. SB369D-207, SB369E-102, and SB369F-087, dated July 20, 
2010. SB369D-207 applies to the Model 369D helicopters; SB369E-102 
applies to the Model 369E helicopters; and SB369F-087 applies to 
Model 369F and FF helicopters.

    Note to paragraph (d)(1) of this AD: The one MD Helicopters SB, 
dated July 20, 2010, contains three different numbers: SB369D-207; 
SB369E-102; and SB369F-087.

    (2) If either the No. 1 or No. 2 aft rivet at a frame-ring-to-
tailboom-longeron location is more than 0.50 inches (12.7 
millimeters) from the aft face of the station 209.78 frame ring, 
before further flight, modify that location by fabricating and 
installing a doubler over the location as depicted in Figures 3 and 
4 and by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.C., 
of the SB for your model helicopter.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, 
may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to John Cecil, 
Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 
Airframe Branch, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712-
4137, telephone (562) 627-5228, fax (562) 627-5210, email 
john.cecil@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) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5302: Rotorcraft 
Tailboom.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 16, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-21277 Filed 8-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P