[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 29 (Tuesday, February 12, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9793-9796]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02899]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2013-0098; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-039-AD; 
Amendment 39-17339; AD 2013-03-16]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) 
for the Bell Helicopter Textron (Bell) Model 212 helicopters and 
adopting requirements for Bell Model 204B, 205A, 205A-1, 205B and 210 
helicopters with certain part-numbered main rotor hub inboard strap 
fittings (fittings). This AD requires magnetic particle inspecting 
(MPI) the fittings for

[[Page 9794]]

a crack, and if a crack exists, replacing the fittings with airworthy 
fittings. This AD is prompted by reports of additional cracked fittings 
and the determination that additional part-numbered fittings may not 
have been manufactured in accordance with approved manufacturing 
processes and controls. These actions are intended to identify a crack 
in the fitting, which may lead to the fitting's failure, loss of a main 
rotor blade, and subsequent loss of helicopter control.

DATES: This AD becomes effective February 27, 2013.
    We must receive comments on this AD by April 15, 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 AD, the economic evaluation, any 
comments received, and other information. The street address for the 
Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5227) is in the ADDRESSES 
section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after 
receipt.
    For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell 
Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101, telephone 
(817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-6466, or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. 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: Michael Kohner, Aerospace Engineer, 
FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Certification Office, 2601 
Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas, 76137, phone: (817) 222-5170; fax: 
(817) 222-5783; email: mike.kohner@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight 
safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to 
provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, 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 resulted 
from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific 
portion of the AD, 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 them 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 rulemaking during the comment period. We will consider 
all the comments we receive and may conduct additional rulemaking based 
on those comments.

Discussion

    On March 29, 2011, the FAA issued AD 2011-08-01, Amendment 39-16651 
(76 FR 18865, April 6, 2011), which superseded previously existing 
emergency AD 2010-25-51, for Bell Model 212 helicopters with a fitting, 
part number (P/N) 212-010-103-007 and with a certain serial number (S/
N). AD 2011-08-01 retained the requirements of AD 2010-25-51 to replace 
certain serial-numbered fittings and perform an MPI for a crack on 
other serial-numbered fittings, and expanded the applicability to 
require performing an MPI on additional serial-numbered fittings. The 
AD based the compliance time for performing an MPI on the number of 
hours time-in-service (TIS) of the fitting. That AD was prompted by 
reports of cracks in fittings. Subsequently, the cracking was 
determined to have been caused by the manufacturer's failure to follow 
approved manufacturing processes and controls during the quenching 
operation from the heat treating of the fittings.
    Since AD 2011-08-01 was issued, two additional fittings were found 
with a crack. Based on these additional reported cracks, we have 
determined that a crack may occur in a fitting regardless of the hours 
TIS. In addition, fitting P/Ns 204-012-102-001, -005, -009, 212-010-
103-005, and -101, which are used on other model helicopters, are 
susceptible to the same type of cracking because they are of similar 
design and manufacture to fitting P/N 212-010-103-007, which was the 
subject of AD 2011-08-01. Failure of a fitting in flight may result in 
the loss of a main rotor blade and subsequent loss of helicopter 
control. Therefore, this AD reduces the compliance time for performing 
an MPI of some serial-numbered fittings by requiring an MPI for all 
applicable serial-numbered fittings within 25 hours TIS or 15 days, 
whichever occurs first. This AD does not require you to report a 
cracked fitting to the Rotorcraft Certification Office.

FAA's Determination

    We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant 
information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is 
likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information

    We have reviewed Bell Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 212-10-141, 
Revision A, dated November 18, 2010, for the Model 212 helicopter, 
which specifies the immediate removal from service of fittings with 
certain S/Ns.
    We have also reviewed ASB No. 204-11-66 for the Model 204B 
helicopters; ASB No. 205-11-107 for the Model 205A and 205A-1 
helicopters; ASB No. 205B-11-58 for the Model 205B helicopters; ASB No. 
210-11-08 for the Model 210 helicopters; and ASB No. 212-10-142, 
Revision B for the Model 212 helicopters; all dated May 31, 2011. These 
ASBs specify:
     For certain serial-numbered fittings with less than 400 
flight hours, performing an initial MPI within 100 flight hours but 
before the fitting reaches 425 flight hours or before November 26, 
2011, whichever occurs first.
     For certain serial-numbered fittings with more than 400 
hours, performing an initial MPI within 25 flight hours or before 
November 26, 2011, whichever occurs first.
     Certain serial-numbered fittings that have already had an 
MPI during main rotor hub assembly maintenance or during an overhaul do 
not need an additional MPI. Historical records must be annotated to 
show compliance during records inspection.
     If defects are found, returning the removed strap fittings 
to Bell.
     If no defects are found, re-identifying the fitting by 
adding an ``FM'' at the end of the part number and making a record 
entry.

[[Page 9795]]

     Performing a recurring MPI on all fittings, regardless of 
S/N and prefix, at 1,200 hours or 24 months for all models, except the 
Model 210, and at the tension-torsion (TT) strap replacement for the 
Model 210 helicopters.

AD Requirements

    This AD supersedes AD 2011-08-01 (76 FR 18865, April 6, 2011) and 
requires for any Model 204B, 205A, 205A-1, 205B, 210 and 212 helicopter 
with certain fittings the following actions:
     Within 25 hours TIS or 15 days, whichever occurs first, 
performing an MPI of each fitting for a crack.
     If a fitting is cracked, before further flight, replacing 
it with an airworthy fitting.
     If a fitting is not cracked, re-identifying the fitting 
and its component history card or equivalent record by adding ``FM'' at 
the end of the P/N.
    If an MPI has previously been performed on a fitting and the 
component history card or equivalent record of the fitting has been re-
identified with ``FM'' at the end of the P/N, the requirements of this 
AD have been met.

Differences Between This AD and the Service Information

    This AD differs from the ASBs because we require an MPI within 25 
hours time-in-service or 15 days, whichever occurs first, of any 
fitting with an affected P/N and S/N. Bell requires different 
compliance times depending on the hours TIS of the fitting. We do not 
require the immediate removal of fittings, P/N 212-010-103-007, with 
certain S/Ns because the MPI provides the necessary level of safety. We 
do not require returning parts to Bell.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 152 helicopters of U.S. registry 
and that labor costs average $85 per work-hour. Based on these 
estimates, we expect the following costs to comply with this AD:
     We estimate that 304 fittings (2 per helicopter) will need 
to be MPI inspected for a crack and that this task will require 40 
work-hours. No parts are needed for the inspection, bringing the total 
cost per helicopter to $3,400; $516,800 for all U.S. operators.
     If a fitting is cracked, replacement parts will cost 
$2,367 per fitting. Labor costs will not be an additional expense as 
they can be absorbed as part of the inspection.
    According to Bell's service information, some of the costs of this 
AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on 
affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by Bell. 
Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    Providing an opportunity for public comments prior to adopting 
these AD requirements, would delay implementing the safety actions 
needed to correct this known unsafe condition. Therefore, we find that 
the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment 
prior to the adoption of this rule because the required corrective 
actions must be accomplished within 15 days, a very short time period 
based on the average flight-hour utilization rate of these helicopters.
    Since an unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate 
adoption of this AD, we determined that notice and opportunity for 
public comment before issuing this AD are impracticable and that good 
cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

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 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, 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 removing Amendment 39-16651 (76 FR 
18865, April 6, 2011) and adding the following new airworthiness 
directive (AD):

2013-03-16 Bell Helicopter Textron (Bell): Amendment 39-17339; 
Docket No. FAA-2013-0098; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-39-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model 204B, 205A, 205A-1, 205B, 210 and 212 
helicopters, certificated in any category, with a main rotor hub 
inboard strap fitting (fitting) with a part number (P/N) and serial 
number (S/N) listed in Table 1 to paragraph (a) of this AD.

                                                                Table 1 to paragraph (a)
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            Helicopter models                     Fitting P/Ns                                            Fitting S/Ns
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204B....................................  204-012-102-001............  All.

[[Page 9796]]

 
204B, 205A and 205A-1...................  204-012-102-005............  All.
204B, 205A and 205A-1...................  204-012-102-009............  All, except S/Ns 7500 or larger with a prefix of ``A''.
212.....................................  212-010-103-005............  All.
212.....................................  212-010-103-007............  All, except S/Ns 140 or larger with a prefix of ``SH'' and except S/Ns 11021 or
                                                                        larger with a prefix of ``A''.
205A-1, 205B and 210....................  212-010-103-101............  All, except S/Ns 486 or larger with a prefix of ``SH,'' and except S/Ns 10997 or
                                                                        larger with a prefix of ``A''.
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(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack in the fitting 
and the determination that additional part-numbered fittings may not 
have been manufactured in accordance with approved manufacturing 
processes and controls. This condition could result in failure of a 
fitting, loss of a main rotor blade, and loss of helicopter control.

(c) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes AD 2011-08-01, Docket No. FAA-2011-0323, 
Amendment 39-16651 (76 FR 18865, April 6, 2011), Directorate 
Identifier 2011-SW-005-AD.

(d) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective February 27, 2013.

(e) 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.

(f) Required Actions

    (1) Within 25 hours time-in-service or 15 days, whichever occurs 
first, perform a magnetic particle inspection (MPI) of each fitting 
for a crack. If an MPI was already performed on a fitting resulting 
in re-identifying the fitting with ``FM'' at the end of the P/N or 
at the end of the P/N on the fitting's component history card or 
equivalent record, then the requirements of this AD have been met.
    (2) If a fitting is cracked, before further flight, replace it 
with an airworthy fitting.
    (3) If a fitting is not cracked, before further flight, re-
identify the fitting by adding ``FM'' at the end of the P/N using a 
vibrating stylus. The depth of the ``FM'' must not exceed 0.005 
inches or extend within 0.10 inch of the part's edge. Also, add 
``FM'' at the end of the P/N on the fitting's component history card 
or equivalent record.

(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, 
Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft 
Certification Office, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas, 76137, 
phone: (817) 222-5170; fax: (817) 222-5783; email: 
mike.kohner@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) Additional Information

    Bell Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 212-10-141, Revision A, 
dated November 18, 2010; and ASBs No. 204-11-66, No. 205-11-107, No. 
205B-11-58, No. 210-11-08; and No. 212-10-142 Revision B, all dated 
May 31, 2011, which are not incorporated by reference, contain 
additional information about the subject of this AD. For this 
service information, contact Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 
482, Fort Worth, TX 76101, telephone (817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-
6466, or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review this 
service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, 
Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 
76137.

(i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6220, Main Rotor 
Head.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 28, 2013.
Lance T. Gant,
Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02899 Filed 2-11-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P