[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 244 (Wednesday, December 19, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 75073-75075]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30588]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2011-1285; Directorate Identifier 2010-SW-073-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM); reopening 
of comment period.

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SUMMARY: We are revising an earlier proposed airworthiness directive 
(AD) for Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH (Eurocopter) Model BO-105A, BO-
105C, BO-105LS A-1, BO-105LS A-3, and BO-105S helicopters, which 
proposed inspecting for debonding of the erosion protective shell 
(abrasion strip) on the leading edge of each main rotor blade. This 
SNPRM proposes to revise those inspection requirements by identifying 
specific dates of replacement of the applicable parts and identifying a 
specific inspection method for debonding of an abrasion strip.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 4, 
2013.

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, 
Texas 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-
3775; or at http://www.eurocopter.com/techpub. You may review 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: Jim Grigg, Manager, Safety Management 
Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email jim.grigg@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

    On November 29, 2011, we issued a proposal to amend part 39 of the 
Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an AD that 
would apply to Eurocopter Model BO-105A, BO-105C, BO-105LS A-1, BO-
105LS A-3, and BO-105S helicopters with a main rotor blade, part number 
(P/N) 105-15103, 105-15141, 105-15141V001, 105-15143, 105-15150, 105-
15150V001, 105-15152, 105-81013, 105-87214, 1120-15101, or 1120-15103; 
where the main rotor blade erosion protective shell was replaced 
between September 2006

[[Page 75074]]

and March 2010. This proposal was published in the Federal Register as 
a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on December 6, 2011 (76 FR 
76068). The NPRM proposed to require a one-time inspection of each main 
rotor blade for debonding of the erosion protective shell within 50 
hours time-in-service (TIS). If debonding was detected during the 
inspection, the NPRM proposed replacing the main rotor blade with an 
airworthy main rotor blade before further flight. The proposed 
requirements were intended to detect debonding of the main rotor blade 
erosion protective shell, which could lead to an unbalanced main rotor, 
high vibration, damage to the tail boom or tail rotor, and loss of 
control of the helicopter.
    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical 
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA 
Emergency AD No. 2010-0216-E, dated October 21, 2010 (corrected October 
29, 2010), applicable to Eurocopter Model BO105 A, BO105 C, BO105 D, 
BO105 LS A-1, BO105 LS A-3, and BO105 S helicopters, all variants 
(except variants CB-5 and DBS-5). EASA advises that during an 
inspection on a BO105 helicopter, debonding was found on the erosion 
protective shell of a main rotor blade, and investigation showed the 
debonding was caused by incorrect installation of the erosion 
protective shell. In addition, EASA states that an incident occurred 
where a second BO105 helicopter lost its erosion protective shell 
during hover flight. EASA advises that this condition, if not 
corrected, could result in loss of the main rotor blade erosion 
protective shell during flight, leading to an unbalanced main rotor and 
high vibrations, which could damage the tail boom or tail rotor or 
result in loss of tail rotor control and loss of control of the 
helicopter.

Actions Since Previous NPRM Was Issued

    Since we issued the previous NPRM (76 FR 76068, December 6, 2011), 
we discovered the need for identifying specific dates of replacement of 
the applicable parts and identifying that a tap inspection would be the 
required method for inspecting for debonding of an abrasion strip. The 
previous NPRM stated the proposed AD would apply to certain part-
numbered main rotor blades with a main rotor blade abrasion strip that 
was replaced between September 2006 and March 2010. This supplemental 
NPRM proposes clarifying the date range to be inclusive of September 1, 
2006 through March 31, 2010. The previous NPRM also proposed to require 
inspecting for debonding of the abrasion strip along the leading edge 
of each main rotor blade. This supplemental NPRM clarifies that the 
proposed inspection method is a tap inspection.
    Because these proposed changes expand the applicability and may 
increase the economic burden on some operators, the FAA will reopen the 
comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment.

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 helicopters of these same type designs. Certain 
changes described above expand the scope of the original NPRM (76 FR 
76068, December 6, 2011). As a result, we have determined that it is 
necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional 
opportunity for the public to comment.

Related Service Information

    Eurocopter has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 
ASB BO105-10-124, dated July 14, 2010, for the Model BO105 helicopter, 
with a main rotor blade, P/N 105-15103, 105-15141, 105-15141V001, 105-
15143, 105-15150, 105-15150V001, 105-15152, 105-81013, 105-87214, 1120-
15101, or 1120-15103, where the main rotor blade erosion protective 
shell was replaced between September 2006 and March 2010. Eurocopter 
also issued Emergency ASB No. ASB-BO105LS-10-12, dated July 14, 2010, 
for the Model BO105LS A-3 helicopter, with a main rotor blade, P/N 105-
15141, where the main rotor blade erosion protective shell was replaced 
between September 2006 and March 2010. Both Emergency ASBs exclude 
helicopters from this inspection if each main rotor blade was inspected 
at the last 600 flight hour inspection and no debonding was detected 
during the inspection. Both Emergency ASBs specified a one-time 
inspection of the main rotor blades within the next 50 flight hours to 
determine if debonding of the main rotor blade erosion protective shell 
has occurred.
    Eurocopter subsequently issued Emergency ASB No. ASB BO105-10-124, 
Revision 1, dated October 18, 2010, and Emergency ASB No. ASB-BO105LS-
10-12, Revision 1, dated October 20, 2010. These service bulletins 
specify the same inspection requirements as the original service 
bulletins, but revise the inspection compliance time from 50 flight 
hours to 10 flight hours. EASA classified these service bulletins as 
mandatory and issued EASA Emergency AD No. 2010-0216-E, dated October 
21, 2010 (corrected October 29, 2010) to ensure the continued 
airworthiness of these helicopters.

Proposed Requirements of the Supplemental NPRM

    This proposed AD would require, within 50 hours TIS, inspecting for 
debonding by tap testing the abrasion strip of the leading edge of each 
main rotor blade. If there is debonding in any area of the abrasion 
strip, this proposed AD would require, before further flight, replacing 
the main rotor blade.

Differences Between This Supplemental NPRM and the EASA AD

    The differences between this proposed AD and the EASA AD are:
     The EASA AD allows compliance within ``10 flight hours, or 
4 flight cycles, or 4 weeks, whichever occurs first,'' and this 
proposed AD would require compliance within 50 hours TIS.
     The EASA AD allows you to replace the main rotor blade 
erosion protective shell if debonding is detected, and this proposed AD 
would require you to replace the main rotor blade with an airworthy 
main rotor blade if debonding is detected.
     The EASA AD is applicable to the Model BO105 D helicopter; 
however, this proposed AD would not include this model because it does 
not have a type certificate in the U.S.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD would affect 97 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in 
order to comply with this proposed AD. It would take about 1.0 work-
hour per helicopter to perform the inspection at an average labor rate 
of $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of 
the inspection on U.S. operators would be $8,245 or $85 per helicopter. 
If there is debonding, we estimate that it would take about 2 work-
hours to replace a main rotor blade and required parts would cost 
$114,182, for a total cost of $114,352 per blade. We have no way of 
determining how many operators will incur replacement costs.

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

[[Page 75075]]

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: Docket No. FAA-2011-1285; Directorate 
Identifier 2010-SW-073-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model BO-105A, BO-105C, BO-105LS A-1, BO-
105LS A-3, and BO-105S helicopters, with a main rotor blade, part 
number 105-15103, 105-15141, 105-15141V001, 105-15143, 105-15150, 
105-15150V001, 105-15152, 105-81013, 105-87214, 1120-15101, or 1120-
15103; where the main rotor blade erosion protective shell (abrasion 
strip) was replaced between September 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, 
inclusive; certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as debonding of a main 
rotor blade erosion protective shell (abrasion strip). This 
condition could result in loss of the abrasion strip and an 
unbalanced main rotor, high vibration, damage to the tail boom or 
tail rotor, and 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 50 hours time-in-service, inspect the main rotor 
blade for debonding of the erosion protective shell by tap testing 
the abrasion strip of the leading edge of each main rotor blade.
    (2) If the abrasion strip is debonding in any area, before 
further flight, replace the main rotor blade.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Jim Grigg, Manager, Safety 
Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., 
Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 
jim.grigg@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 Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. ASB BO105-
10-124, Revision 1, dated October 18, 2010, and No. ASB-BO105LS-10-
12, Revision 1, dated October 20, 2010, which are not incorporated 
by reference, contain additional information about the subject of 
this AD. For this service information, contact American Eurocopter 
Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 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.
    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation 
Safety Agency Emergency AD No. 2010-0216-E, dated October 21, 2010 
(corrected October 29, 2010).

 (g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6210, Main Rotor 
Blades.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 12, 2012.
S. Frances Cox,
Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-30588 Filed 12-18-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P