[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 181 (Tuesday, September 18, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57524-57528]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22714]


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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. 181 / Tuesday, September 18, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 57524]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 36

[Docket No.: FAA-2012-0948; Notice No. 12-06]
RIN 2120-AJ96


Stage 3 Helicopter Noise Certification Standards

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This rulemaking proposes to adopt more stringent noise 
certification standards for helicopters that are certificated in the 
United States (U.S.). This rule would apply to applications for a new 
helicopter type design and for a supplemental type certificate for 
those new type designs. A helicopter type certificated under this 
standard would be designated as a Stage 3 helicopter. This rule 
proposes to adopt the same noise certification standards for 
helicopters that exist in the standards of the International Civil 
Aviation Organization (ICAO). The proposal of these more stringent 
noise certification standards into U.S. regulations is consistent with 
the FAA's goal of harmonizing U.S. regulations with international 
standards.

DATES: Send comments on or before November 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2012-0948 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without 
change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the 
docket web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all 
comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the 
individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an 
association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 
2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at  http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this proposed rule contact Sandy Liu, AEE-100, Office of Environment 
and Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue 
SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 493-4864; facsimile (202) 
267-5594; email: sandy.liu@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this 
proposed rule contact Karen Petronis, AGC-200, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, Regulations Division, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-
3073; email: karen.petronis@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code. 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.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44715, Controlling aircraft 
noise and sonic boom. Under that section, the FAA is charged with 
prescribing regulations to measure and abate aircraft noise. This 
proposed regulation is within the scope of that authority since it 
would establish new noise certification standards for helicopters that 
would be applicable to new type designs.

Background

ICAO Noise Certification Standards

    The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the 
international body with the responsibility for the development of 
international standards under the Convention on International Civil 
Aviation (the Chicago Convention). Consistent with their obligations 
under the Chicago Convention, Contracting States agree to implement 
ICAO standards in their national regulations to the extent practicable. 
The United States is a Contracting State to the ICAO. The standards for 
aircraft noise are contained in ICAO Annex 16, Environmental 
Protection, Volume 1, Aircraft Noise.
    In 1997, ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection 
(CAEP) chartered the Rotorcraft Task Group (RTG) to study potential 
increases in the stringency of noise certification standards for 
helicopters. The FAA participated in the RTG from 1997 to 2000. By the 
fifth session of CAEP in 2001, more stringent noise standards for 
helicopters were defined. These standards prescribe the lowering of 
noise limits for new helicopter types while using the same helicopter 
noise certification test procedures that the United States had 
incorporated into part 36, Appendices H (1988) and J (1992).
    On June 29, 2001, CAEP's proposed noise stringency increases were 
adopted by the ICAO Council for incorporation into Annex 16, Volume 1, 
Chapter 8 and Chapter 11 (Amendment 7). ICAO guidelines became 
effective on October 29, 2001, with an applicability date of March 21, 
2002.

Statement of the Problem

    Although ICAO adopted increased noise stringency standards for 
helicopters in 2002, the United States has yet to adopt these standards 
into part 36. There has been heightened

[[Page 57525]]

public awareness of helicopter noise in the United States, and the FAA 
has determined that the public would benefit from adoption of these 
more stringent standards. The FAA's adoption of these more stringent 
certification standards into part 36, including in Appendices H and J, 
would also satisfy the goal of harmonizing U.S. regulations with 
international standards. This rulemaking proposes to adopt the same 
noise certification standards for helicopters that exist in ICAO Annex 
16, Volume 1, Chapter 8 and Chapter 11 (Amendment 7).

History of U.S. Helicopter Noise Regulations

    In 1973, the FAA published an advanced notice of proposed 
rulemaking (ANPRM) (38 FR 35487, December 28, 1973) that proposed 
standards for aircraft with efficient short stage length operations. 
This class of aircraft, referred to as ``short-haul'', included 
aircraft with short, reduced, vertical, or near vertical takeoff and 
landing capabilities. Subsequently, the FAA sought further study of 
appropriate noise technologies. At the time of the ANPRM, U.S. noise 
regulations in part 36 did not include regulations applicable to short-
haul aircraft, including helicopters.
    The ANPRM invited public participation in the identification and 
development of standards for additional relief and protection to the 
public health and welfare from aircraft noise. Comments from the ANPRM 
caused the FAA to focus on appropriate noise limits consistent with the 
current technology in drafting an NPRM. In 1979, the FAA issued an NPRM 
(44 FR 42410, July 9, 1979) that proposed first ever helicopter noise 
certification standards that included noise limits. Comments to the 
NPRM indicated that there was no noise abatement technology available 
at the time that could meet the proposed noise levels. The FAA 
subsequently withdrew the NPRM (Notice No. 79-13, 46 FR 61486, December 
17, 1981).
    In 1982, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 
the FAA, and American helicopter manufacturers set up an accelerated 
joint research program to develop helicopter noise abatement 
technology. This cooperative, 20-million dollar, multi-year program was 
established to reduce helicopter external noise, and develop noise 
prediction tools that could significantly lower the costs of applying 
the technology. The FAA continued to study the issues of noise 
certification of helicopters in collaboration with ICAO's noise working 
group. On March 6, 1986, the FAA issued an NPRM (Notice No. 86-3, 51 FR 
7878) that proposed helicopter certification standards that were more 
consistent with then-current technology, and followed procedures 
similar to ICAO Annex 16.
    On February 5, 1988, the FAA amended part 36 to include the first 
U.S. helicopter noise certification regulations. These regulations set 
limits on noise emissions for new helicopter type designs. The 
regulations designated Stage 1 helicopters as those that did not meet 
the newly established limits or had never been tested. Stage 2 
helicopters were those that met the new certification standards as 
defined by the noise limits and test procedures designated in the 
regulations. The new certification standards applied to the issuance of 
original and amended type certificates for helicopters. In addition, 
the regulations prohibited changes in the type design of helicopters 
that might increase their noise levels beyond certain limits. These 
regulations followed the standards adopted in ICAO Annex 16 and 
included additional corrective conditions for engine thrust or power.
    This rulemaking proposes the adoption of the most recent 
international noise standards for helicopters and would allow compliant 
designs to be designated Stage 3. These standards would apply to any 
person submitting an application for a new helicopter type design on 
and after the effective date of the final rule. This proposal is 
consistent with the effort of the fifth session of CAEP and its 
approval of the ICAO standards for helicopter noise that were developed 
internationally.

General Discussion of the Proposal

    This rulemaking proposes more stringent noise limits for 
helicopters to be type certificated in the United States. The standards 
would apply to the issuance of a new type certificate, and subsequent 
changes to a type certificate for which application is made after the 
effective date of this rule. This rule proposes to incorporate the same 
standards for helicopters adopted in ICAO Annex 16, Volume 1, Chapter 8 
and Chapter 11 (Amendment 7), consistent with the FAA goal of 
harmonization of regulations with international standards.
    These proposed regulations would:
     Amend Sec.  36.1 noise certification standards for the 
issuance of type and airworthiness certificates for helicopters, 
including new definitions and an applicability date for the standards;
     Revise Sec.  36.11 acoustical change requirements to 
include Stage 3 helicopters;
     Amend Sec.  36.805 to add dates of applicability for the 
new Stage 3 noise limits prescribed in appendices H and J of part 36;
     Amend Appendix H to part 36 to include new noise 
certification limits for Stage 3 helicopters of all helicopter weights; 
and
     Amend Appendix J to part 36 to include a new noise 
certification limit for Stage 3 helicopters of 7,000 pounds or less.

Regulatory Evaluation, Regulatory Flexibility Determination, 
International Trade Impact Assessment, and Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each 
Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned 
determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its 
costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) 
requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes 
on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39) 
prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary 
obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing 
U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider 
international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis 
of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of 
the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that 
include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, 
local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with 
base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's 
analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed rule.
    Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect and the basis for it be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this proposed rule. The 
reasoning for this determination follows,

[[Page 57526]]

    The proposed rule:
    (1) Imposes no incremental costs and provides benefits,
    (2) Is not an economically ``significant regulatory action'' as 
defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866,
    (3) Is not significant as defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures;
    (4) Would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities;
    (5) Would not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce 
of the United States; and
    (6) Would not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal 
governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the monetary 
threshold identified.
These analyses are summarized below.
    Currently, there is no U.S. noise certification standard for Stage 
3 helicopters in part 36. Part 36 includes only noise certification 
standards for Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters. There are more stringent 
international noise standards for helicopters in ICAO Annex 16, 
Environmental Protection, Volume 1, Aircraft Noise, Chapter 8 and 
Chapter 11 (Amendment 7). This proposed rule includes the amendments to 
part 36 certification requirements that would require more stringent 
noise limits and allow new helicopter type designs to be designated 
Stage 3. This proposed rule would allow a helicopter that meets the 
ICAO standards to be classified as a Stage 3 helicopter in the United 
States and would also apply to new helicopter type certification 
applications dated after the effective date of this proposed rule.
    This proposed rule has two major benefits. This proposed rule may 
result in quieter helicopter operations for those models type 
certificated under these proposed standards. This proposed rule also 
would make it easier to sell U.S. Stage 3 helicopters outside the 
United States because the noise standards will be the same as those of 
ICAO Annex 16, Volume 1, Chapter 8 and 11 standards.
    Given the complexity and expense in developing new helicopter 
models, the FAA estimates that applications for two new helicopter type 
designs will be submitted in the next 10 year period; this would mirror 
the development of helicopter type designs in the last decade.
    This proposed rule is not expected to result in additional costs. 
The U.S. testing procedures for helicopter noise certification already 
exist and require no changes when certificating a helicopter to Stage 3 
standards. Further, these proposed standards are not retroactive. The 
proposed rule does not include any requirement to modify existing Stage 
1 and Stage 2 helicopters. Therefore, there would be no incremental 
costs for certificating a helicopter to Stage 3 standards.
    Although the FAA cannot quantify the benefits of the proposed rule, 
the rule would provide for quieter future helicopter models, would be 
consistent with international standards, and would not increase the 
cost of certification or noise testing. Thus the FAA finds that the 
benefits exceed the costs of the proposed rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) establishes ``as a 
principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, 
consistent with the objective of the rule and of applicable statutes, 
to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the 
business, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to 
regulation.'' To achieve that principle, the RFA requires agencies to 
solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the 
rationale for their actions. The RFA covers a wide-range of small 
entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and 
small governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a proposed or 
final rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the 
agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in 
the Act.
    However, if an agency determines that a proposed or final rule is 
not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities, section 605(b) of the 1980 RFA provides that 
the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement 
providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning 
should be clear.

Helicopter Manufacturers

    Size standards for small entities are published by the Small 
Business Administration (SBA) on their Web site at http://www.sba.gov/size. The size standards used herein are from ``SBA U.S. Small Business 
Administration, Table of Small Business Size Standards, Matched to 
North American Industry Classification System Codes''.
    Aircraft manufacturer size standards are listed in the above Table 
of small business size standards under Sector 31-33-Manufacturing; 
Subsector 336-Transportation Equipment Manufacturing; NAICS Code 
336411-Aircraft Manufacturing. The small entity size standard for 
aircraft manufacturing is 1,500 employees.
    American helicopter manufacturers range in size from several 
hundred employees to many thousands of employees. Therefore, some 
American helicopter manufacturers are small entities. However, this 
proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on any small 
entity because the proposed rule imposes no incremental costs.
    Consequently, the FAA certifies that this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
helicopter manufacturers.

International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic 
objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a 
manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also 
requires consideration of international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.
    The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this proposed rule and 
determined that it would encourage international trade by using 
international standards as the basis for a rule for the United States 
noise certification of Stage 3 helicopters.

Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(adjusted annually for inflation) in any 1 year by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a 
mandate is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA 
currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $143.1 million in lieu of 
$100 million. This proposed rule does not contain such a

[[Page 57527]]

mandate; therefore the requirements of Title II do not apply.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that 
there would be no new requirement for information collection associated 
with this proposed rule.

International Compatibility and Coordination

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform our 
regulations to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum 
extent practicable. In 2001, ICAO adopted stringent helicopter noise 
standards. This proposed regulation will harmonize U.S. noise standards 
with the international standards by adopting the same requirements, 
adapted for U.S. regulatory format.
    Executive Order (EO) 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation, (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international 
regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, 
safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and reduce, 
eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory 
requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policy and 
agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, Promoting 
International Regulatory Cooperation. The agency has determined that 
this action would eliminate differences between U.S. aviation standards 
and those of other civil aviation authorities by adopting international 
standards, adapted for U.S. regulatory format.

Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. This rule 
proposes to adopt the same noise certification standards for 
helicopters adopted by ICAO. This rule proposes these noise limits to 
control the maximum noise levels of newly certificated helicopters. The 
FAA finds the applicability of these stricter noise standards to be 
environmentally consistent with available technology. The adoption of 
more stringent noise standards will require new type certificated 
helicopters in the U.S. to comply with lower noise levels, thus 
offering increased environmental protection.
    The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the 
categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312f of NEPA and involves 
no extraordinary circumstances.

Executive Order Determinations

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has 
determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect 
on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and 
the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have 
Federalism implications.

Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
would not be a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order 
and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy.

Additional Information

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The agency 
also invites 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 this only once.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well 
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA 
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this 
proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before 
the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed 
after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without 
incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in 
light of the comments it receives.

Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the 
Internet by--
    1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at  http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or
    3. Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. 
Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this 
rulemaking.
    All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, 
including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from 
the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item 
(1) above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 36

    Aircraft, Noise Control.

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

PART 36--NOISE STANDARDS: AIRCRAFT TYPE AND AIRWORTHINESS 
CERTIFICATION

    1. The authority citation for part 36 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 
44701-44702, 44704, 44715; sec. 305, Pub. L. 96-193, 94 Stat. 50, 
57; E.O. 11514, 35 FR 4247, 3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp., p. 902.

    2. Amend Sec.  36.1 by redesignating paragraph (h)(5) as (h)(7); 
adding new paragraph (h)(5); and adding new paragraph (h)(6) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  36.1  Applicability and definitions.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (5) A ``Stage 3 noise level'' means a takeoff, flyover, or approach 
noise level at or below the Stage 3 noise limit prescribed in section 
H36.305 of appendix H of this part, or a flyover noise level at or 
below the Stage 3 noise

[[Page 57528]]

limit prescribed in section J36.305 of appendix J of this part.
    (6) A ``Stage 3 helicopter'' means a helicopter that has been shown 
under this part to comply with the Stage 3 noise limits (including 
applicable tradeoffs) prescribed in section H36.305 of appendix H of 
this part, or a helicopter that has been shown under this part to 
comply with Stage 3 noise limits prescribed in section J36.305 of 
appendix J of this part.
    (7) Maximum normal operating RPM means the highest rotor speed 
corresponding to the airworthiness limit imposed by the manufacturer 
and approved by the FAA. Where a tolerance on the highest rotor speed 
is specified, the maximum normal operating rotor speed is the highest 
rotor speed for which that tolerance is given. If the rotor speed is 
automatically linked with flight condition, the maximum normal 
operating rotor speed corresponding with reference conditions must be 
used during the noise certification procedure. If rotor speed can be 
changed by pilot action, the highest normal operating rotor speed 
specified in the flight manual limitation section for reference 
conditions must be used during the noise certification procedure.
    3. Amend Sec.  36.11 by revising paragraph (c) and adding paragraph 
(d) to read as follows:


Sec.  36.11  Acoustical change: Helicopters.

* * * * *
    (c) Stage 2 helicopters. For a helicopter that is a Stage 2 
helicopter prior to a change in type design, the following apply:
    (1) A helicopter must be a Stage 2 helicopter after a change in 
type design, or
    (2) A helicopter must meet Stage 3 requirements after the change in 
type design and must remain a Stage 3 helicopter.
    (d) Stage 3 helicopters. For a helicopter that is a Stage 3 
helicopter prior to a change in type design, the helicopter must remain 
a Stage 3 helicopter after a change in type design.
    4. Amend Sec.  36.805 by revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  36.805  Noise limits.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) When an application for issuance of a type certificate in the 
primary, normal, transport, or restricted category is made between 
March 6, 1986 and [effective date of rule], that the noise levels of 
the helicopter are no greater than the Stage 2 noise limits prescribed 
in either section H36.305 of appendix H of this part or section J36.305 
of appendix J of this part, as applicable; or
    (2) When an application for issuance of a type certificate in the 
primary, normal, transport, or restricted category is made after 
[effective date of rule], that the noise levels of the helicopter are 
no greater than the Stage 3 noise limits prescribed in either section 
H36.305 of appendix H of this part, or section J36.305 of appendix J of 
this part, as applicable.
* * * * *
    5. In Appendix H of part 36 in section H36.305:
    A. Revise paragraph (a) introductory text;
    B. Revise paragraph (a)(2);
    C. Add paragraph (a)(3).
    The additions and revisions read as follows:

Appendix H to Part 36--Noise Requirements for Helicopters Under Subpart 
H

* * * * *
    Section H36.305 * * *
    (a) Limits. For compliance with this appendix, the applicant 
must show by flight test that the calculated noise levels of the 
helicopter, at the measuring points described in section H36.305(a) 
of this appendix, do not exceed the following, (with appropriate 
interpolation between weights):
* * * * *
    (2) Stage 2 noise limits are as follows:
    (i) For takeoff--For a helicopter having a maximum certificated 
takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, the noise 
limit is 109 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the logarithm of 
the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB per halving of 
the weight (mass) down to 89 EPNdB, after which the limit is 
constant.
    (ii) For flyover--For a helicopter having a maximum certificated 
takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, the noise 
limit is 108 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the logarithm of 
the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB per halving of 
the weight (mass) down to 88 EPNdB, after which the limit is 
constant.
    (iii) For approach--For a helicopter having a maximum 
certificated takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, 
the noise limit is 110 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the 
logarithm of the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB 
per halving of the weight (mass) down to 90 EPNdB, after which the 
limit is constant.
    (3) Stage 3 noise limits are as follows:
    (i) For takeoff--For a helicopter having a maximum certificated 
takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, the noise 
limit is 106 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the logarithm of 
the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB per halving of 
the weight (mass) down to 86 EPNdB, after which the limit is 
constant.
    (ii) For flyover--For a helicopter having a maximum certificated 
takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, the noise 
limit is 104 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the logarithm of 
the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB per halving of 
the weight (mass) down to 84 EPNdB, after which the limit is 
constant.
    (iii) For approach--For a helicopter having a maximum 
certificated takeoff weight of 176,370 pounds (80,000 kg) or more, 
the noise limit is 109 EPNdB, which decreases linearly with the 
logarithm of the helicopter weight (mass) at a rate of 3.01 EPNdB 
per halving of the weight (mass) down to 89 EPNdB, after which the 
limit is constant.
* * * * *

    6. Amend Appendix J of part 36 by revising the appendix heading and 
in section J36.305 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:

Appendix J to Part 36--Alternative Noise Certification Procedure for 
Helicopters Having a Maximum Certificated Takeoff Weight of Not More 
Than 7,000 Pounds

    Section J36.305 * * *
    (a) For primary, normal, transport, and restricted category 
helicopters having a maximum certificated takeoff weight of not more 
than 7, 000 pounds that are noise tested under this appendix:
    (1) Stage 2 noise limit is constant at 82 decibels SEL for 
helicopters up to 1,737 pounds (787 kg) maximum certificated takeoff 
weight (mass) and increases linearly with the logarithm of the 
helicopter weight at a rate of 3.01 decibels SEL per the doubling of 
weight thereafter. The limit may be calculated using the equation:

LAE(limit) = 82 + 3.01 [log10(MTOW/1737)/log10(2)] dB,

where MTOW is the maximum takeoff weight, in pounds.

    (2) Stage 3 noise limit is constant at 82 decibels SEL for 
helicopters up to 3,125 pounds (1,417 kg) maximum certificated 
takeoff weight (mass) and increases linearly with the logarithm of 
the helicopter weight at a rate of 3.01 decibels SEL per the 
doubling of weight thereafter. The limit may be calculated using the 
equation:

LAE(limit) = 82 + 3.01 [log10(MTOW/3125)/log10(2)] dB,

where MTOW is the maximum takeoff weight, in pounds.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 31, 2012.
Lourdes Maurice,
Director, Office of Environment and Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-22714 Filed 9-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P