[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 23 (Monday, February 4, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7645-7647]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02238]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0082; Directorate Identifier 2010-SW-036-AD; 
Amendment 39-17318; AD 2013-01-04]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Bell 
Helicopter Textron, Inc. (Bell), Model 412 and 412EP helicopters. This 
AD requires creating a component history card or equivalent record and 
begin counting and recording the number of accumulated landings for 
each high aft crosstube assembly (crosstube). Also, this AD requires 
installing ``caution'' decals regarding towing of a helicopter at or 
above 8,900 pounds. This AD also requires confirming the crosstube is 
within the horizontal deflection limits and replacing it if it is not. 
This AD also requires a recurring fluorescent penetrant inspection 
(FPI) of each crosstube and upper center support for a crack, any 
corrosion, nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage. This AD requires 
repairing damaged crosstubes and upper center supports that are within 
acceptable limits, reworking crosstubes by bonding on abrasion strips, 
and replacing each unairworthy crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. 
This AD was prompted by analysis of the crosstubes conducted as a 
result of recent field failures and corrosion problems of the affected 
crosstubes. The actions are intended to prevent failure of a crosstube, 
collapse of the landing gear, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.

DATES: This AD is effective March 11, 2013.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of March 11, 2013.

ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell 
Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, Texas 76101; 
telephone (817) 280-3391; fax (817) 280-6466; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. 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.

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 AD, any incorporated-by-reference 
service information, the economic evaluation, any comments received, 
and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations 
Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Docket Operations Office, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Kohner, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5170; 
email 7-avs-asw-170@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

    On February 3, 2012, at 77 FR 5427, the Federal Register published 
our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 
CFR part 39 to include an AD that would apply to Bell Model 412 and 
412EP helicopters. That NPRM proposed to require counting and recording 
the number of accumulated landings for each crosstube on a component 
history card or equivalent record and installing CAUTION decals 
regarding towing a helicopter that weighs at or above 8,900 pounds. The 
NPRM also proposed to require confirming that the crosstube is within 
the horizontal deflection limits and replacing it if it is not. Also, 
the NPRM proposed to require a recurring FPI of each crosstube and 
upper center support for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, 
or other damage, repairing each damaged crosstube and upper center 
support if there is damage within acceptable limits, reworking each 
crosstube by bonding abrasion strips, and replacing each unairworthy 
crosstube.
    The affected crosstubes are the older non-anodized configuration 
and have had a service history of corrosion problems. In response to 
reports of field failures, Bell has completed a load level survey, 
material coupon testing, and additional analysis of the crosstubes. The 
results indicate that fatigue damage can occur during towing and 
landing. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent failure of 
a crosstube, collapse of the landing gear, and subsequent loss of 
control of the helicopter.

Comments

    After our NPRM (77 FR 5427, February 3, 2012) was published, we 
received comments from one commenter.

Request

    One commenter objected to the proposal because of ``continual 
noise, pollution and aggravation as a result of low flying planes.'' 
The commenter expressed concern about additional airplanes operating at 
lower altitudes for longer periods of time over her home near 
Peachtree-Dekalb Airport, Georgia. We find that this comment does not 
pertain to the NPRM (77 FR 5427,

[[Page 7646]]

February 3, 2012) regarding Bell Model 412 and 412EP helicopters, and 
believe the comment was attached to the NPRM in error. We find the 
comment does not warrant extending the comment period or withdrawing 
the proposed action.

FAA's Determination

    We have reviewed the relevant information, considered the comment 
received, and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is likely 
to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs and 
that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD 
requirements as proposed.

Related Service Information

    We have reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412-09-
135, dated August 25, 2009 (ASB). The ASB specifies, within 6 months 
after receiving the ASB, for each affected crosstube, a recurring 12 
month/2500 landing FPI, a recurring 12 month/2500 landing deflection 
check, and use of a towing retention kit per BHT-412-SI-58 Gross Weight 
Towing Kit Provisions and Puller Equipment for helicopters that weigh 
8900 pounds or higher.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 115 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in 
order to comply with this AD. It will take about 1 work-hour to create 
a component history card or equivalent record and begin to determine 
and record the number of accumulated landings; 0.5 work-hour to install 
caution decals on the pilot and co-pilot side of each helicopter; 0.5 
work-hour to measure the horizontal deflection of each crosstube; 3 
work-hours to inspect and prepare the area and do an FPI on each 
crosstube; 4 work-hours to rework a crosstube, assuming 5 will need to 
be reworked; and 2 work-hours to replace a crosstube, assuming 3 will 
need to be replaced. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour and 
required parts for a replacement crosstube will cost about $9,315 per 
helicopter. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact 
of this AD on U.S. operators to be $79,030.

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

    This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 
13132. This AD will 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 above, I certify that this AD:
    (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive 
Order 12866;
    (2) Is not a ``significant rule'' under 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 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.

Adoption of the Amendment

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

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

0
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]

0
2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness 
directive (AD):

2013-01-04 Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.: Amendment 39-17318; Docket 
No. FAA-2012-0082; Directorate Identifier 2010-SW-036-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (Bell), Model 
412 and 412EP helicopters with a high aft crosstube assembly 
(crosstube), part number (P/N) 412-050-011-101, -103, -105, -107; or 
412-050-045-105, installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure and corrosion of 
the affected crosstubes. This condition could result in collapse of 
the landing gear and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective March 11, 2013.

(d) 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.

(e) Required Actions

    (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS):
    (i) For each crosstube, create a component history card or 
equivalent record. Begin to count and record the number of 
accumulated landings for each crosstube. For the purposes of this 
AD, a landing would be counted anytime the helicopter lifts off into 
the air and then lands again with any further reduction of the 
collective after the landing gear touches the ground.
    (ii) Install CAUTION decals, P/N 212-070-600-143, on the pilot 
and co-pilot sides of each helicopter as depicted in Figure 3 of 
Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412-09-135, dated August 
25, 2009 (ASB), and by following the Accomplishment Instructions, 
Part III--Towing, paragraph 1., of the ASB.
    (2) Within 6 months and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 
months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first, determine the 
horizontal deflection of each crosstube from the centerline of the 
helicopter (BL 0.0) to the outside edge of each skid tube. Before 
further flight, replace any crosstube that exceeds any maximum 
allowable deflection limit contained in the maintenance manual.
    (3) Within 6 months and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 
months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first:
    (i) Remove and disassemble the landing gear assembly to prepare 
each crosstube for a fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) by 
following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, paragraphs 1. 
through 9., of the ASB.

    Note 1 to paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this AD: Abrasion strip, P/N 
206-050-301-111; lower center support, P/N 412-050-007-101, with the 
incorporated Larson L101 abrasion strip; and lower center support, 
P/N 604-026-003, if installed on any crosstube, P/N 412-050-045-105, 
or reworked crosstubes, P/N 412-050-011-101, -103, -105, or -107, 
are only removed if required by following the instructions in the 
ASB (see items 2, 5, and 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB).

    (ii) Clean and prepare the crosstube for the FPI by removing the 
sealant and paint in the

[[Page 7647]]

area depicted in Figure 2 of the ASB by following the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part I, ``Cleaning and Preparation,'' paragraphs 1. 
through 5., of the ASB.
    (iii) Perform an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support, 
P/N 412-050-006-101, for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, 
dent, or any other damage by following the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part I, ``Inspection,'' paragraphs 1. through 3. of 
the ASB. Use Table 2 in the ASB to determine the appropriate 
Inspection Criteria Table to use in the maintenance manual, which 
list the maximum repair damage limits for each crosstube P/N 
applicable to this AD.
    (iv) Repair the crosstube or upper center support if there is 
any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage that is 
within the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, or 
replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube.

    Note 2 to paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this AD: The repair procedures 
are specified in the Component Repair and Overhaul Manual.

    (v) If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the 
maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, replace the 
crosstube with an airworthy crosstube.
    (4) Before further flight, after completing paragraph (e)(3) of 
this AD, rework each crosstube P/N 412-050-011-101, -103, -105, or -
107 by applying the bonding procedures and abrasion strips on the 
under side of the crosstubes at BL 0.0 and BL 14 by following the 
Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ``Rework of Crosstubes,'' 
paragraphs 1. through 10. of the ASB. Record on the component 
history card or equivalent record an ``FM'' to the end of the part 
number sequence of each crosstube that has been reworked (for 
example, 412-050-011-107FM). Omit the Larson L101 abrasion strip at 
BL 0.0 on each crosstube when installing lower center support, P/N 
604-026-003 (see item 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB).

(f) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits for inspections only may be issued under 
14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location 
where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Rotorcraft Certification Office, FAA, may 
approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Michael Kohner, 
Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, 
Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 
76137; telephone (817) 222-5170; email 7-avs-asw-170@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.

(h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3210, Main Landing 
Gear.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

    (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the 
incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed 
in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.
    (2) You must use this service information as applicable to do 
the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.
    (i) Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin No. 412-09-135, dated 
August 25, 2009.
    (ii) Reserved.
    (3) For Bell Helicopter service information identified in this 
AD, contact Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76101; telephone (817) 280-3391; fax (817) 280-6466; or at 
http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/.
    (4) You may view this service information at FAA, Office of the 
Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, 
Fort Worth, Texas 76137. For information on the availability of this 
material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.
    (5) You may view this service information that is incorporated 
by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration 
(NARA). For information on the availability of this material at 
NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 9, 2013.
Kim Smith,
Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02238 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P