[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 58 (Tuesday, March 26, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18224-18226]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06297]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-1088; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-005-AD; 
Amendment 39-17387; AD 2013-05-15]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Robinson Helicopter Company Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for 
Robinson Helicopter Company (Robinson) Model R44 and R44 II helicopters 
equipped with emergency floats. This AD requires replacing the 
inflation valve assembly. This AD was prompted by the failure of the 
emergency floats to deploy during a factory test because a needle was 
binding within the inflation valve assembly. The actions are intended 
to prevent the failure of the floats to inflate during an emergency 
landing.

DATES: This AD is effective April 30, 2013.

ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Robinson Helicopter Company, 2901 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505; 
telephone (310) 539-0508; fax (310) 539-5198; or at http://www.robinsonheli.com. 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.

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: Venessa Stiger, Aerospace Engineer, 
Cabin Safety/Mechanical & Environmental Systems, Los Angeles Aircraft 
Certification Office, Transport

[[Page 18225]]

Airplane Directorate, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712-
4137; telephone (562) 627-5337; email venessa.stiger@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

    On October 16, 2012, at 77 FR 63260, 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 Robinson Helicopter 
Company (Robinson) Model R44 and R44 II helicopters with emergency 
floats equipped with an inflation valve assembly, part number (P/N) 
D757-1, not engraved with ``D758-4'' or modified with modification 
B900-8, and containing a housing assembly, P/N D758-1, Revision C or 
prior. That NPRM proposed to require replacing the inflation valve 
assembly because the emergency floats failed to deploy during a factory 
test. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent the failure of 
the floats to inflate during an emergency landing.

Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing 
this AD, but we received no comments on the NPRM (77 FR 63260, October 
16, 2012).

FAA's Determination

    We have reviewed the relevant information and determined that an 
unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other 
products 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 Robinson R44 Service Bulletin SB-80, dated 
September 7, 2011 (SB), which describes procedures for upgrading 
certain valve assemblies within the next 250 flight hours or by June 
30, 2012, whichever occurs first. The SB reports that during a factory 
test of pop-out emergency floats the floats failed to inflate because 
of a stuck cylinder valve.

Differences Between This AD and the Service Information

    This AD requires replacing the inflation valve assembly within 1 
year or 500 hours TIS, whichever occurs first. The SB specifies 
replacing the assembly within 250 flight hours or by June 30, 2012, 
whichever occurs first. We used the Monitor Safety/Analyze Data (MSAD) 
process and were able to predict when the next occurrence would likely 
occur if no repairs were completed.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 165 helicopters of U.S. Registry 
and that the labor cost averages $85 per work-hour. Based on these 
assumptions, we estimate that replacing the inflation valve assembly 
takes 2.5 work-hours for a labor cost of about $213. Parts cost $850 to 
$955 for a total cost per helicopter of $1,063 to $1,168.
    According to Robinson's service information, some or all 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. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

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):

2013-05-15 Robinson Helicopter Company: Amendment 39-17387; Docket 
No. FAA-2012-1088; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-005-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Robinson Helicopter Company (Robinson) Model 
R44 and R44 II helicopters with emergency floats equipped with an 
inflation valve assembly, part number (P/N) D757-1, not engraved 
with ``D758-4'' or modified with modification B900-8, and containing 
a housing assembly, P/N D758-1, Revision C or prior, certificated in 
any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as binding of the needle 
within the float inflation valve assembly, which has resulted in the 
emergency floats failing to inflate.

(c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective April 30, 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

    Within 1 year or 500 hours time-in-service (TIS), whichever 
occurs first, replace the inflation valve assembly with an airworthy 
inflation valve assembly, P/N D757-1R.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, 
may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Venessa 
Stiger, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety/Mechanical & Environmental 
Systems, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office,

[[Page 18226]]

Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, 
CA 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5337; email 
venessa.stiger@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.

(g) Additional Information

    Robinson R44 Service Bulletin SB-80, dated September 7, 2011, 
which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional 
information about the subject of this AD. For service information 
identified in this AD, contact Robinson Helicopter Company, 2901 
Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505; telephone (310) 539-0508; fax 
(310) 539-5198; or at http://www.robinsonheli.com/servelib.htm. You 
may review a copy of this service information at the FAA, Office of 
the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 
663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

(h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3212, Emergency 
Flotation Section.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 6, 2013.
Lance T. Gant,
Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-06297 Filed 3-25-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P