[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 79 (Wednesday, April 24, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24041-24047]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09420]



[[Page 24041]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-1297; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-100-AD; 
Amendment 39-17285; AD 2012-25-04]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France 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 emergency airworthiness 
directive (EAD) for Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS350B3 
helicopters with certain part-numbered laminated half-bearings 
(bearings) and tail rotor (T/R) blades installed. The existing EAD 
currently requires installing two placards and revising the Rotorcraft 
Flight Manual (RFM). The EAD also requires certain checks and 
inspecting and replacing, if necessary, all four bearings. Finally, the 
EAD requires a one-time removal and inspection of the bearings, and 
replacing the bearings if necessary. Since we issued that EAD, we have 
determined that newly-designed helicopters with other part-numbered T/R 
blades may be affected by this unsafe condition and that the 
requirements should allow the bearing removal and inspection to be 
performed before the last flight of the day. This superseding AD 
removes the bearing and T/R blade part numbers (P/N) from the 
applicability paragraph and clarifies when the bearing removal and 
inspection is required. The actions are intended to prevent vibration 
due to a failed bearing, failure of the T/R, and subsequent loss of 
control of the helicopter.

DATES: This AD becomes effective May 9, 2013.
    We must receive comments on this AD by June 24, 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 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES 
section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after 
receipt.
    For service information identified in this AD, contact American 
Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 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: Robert Grant, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email robert.grant@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

    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. 2012-0207-E, dated October 5, 2012 (EAD 2012-0207-E), 
to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter Model AS 350 B3 
helicopters modified by Modification (MOD) 07 5601. MOD 07 5601 is an 
integral part of a specific Model AS350B3 configuration, commercially 
identified as ``AS350B3e'' and is not fitted on Model AS350B3 
helicopters of other configurations. EASA advises that premature 
failures of bearings, P/N 704A33-633-261, installed in combination with 
T/R blades P/N 355A12.0055.00 or 355A12.0055.01, have recently been 
detected on AS 350 B3 helicopters in ``AS350B3e'' configuration. Three 
cases of vibrations originating from the T/R, caused by failure of the 
bearings, were reported, which were detected in flight. Subsequently, 
an accident occurred in which the pilot felt strong vibrations from the 
T/R before losing control of the helicopter. An investigation revealed 
that prior to the accident, the bearings had been replaced twice on the 
helicopter due to deterioration. EASA EAD 2012-0207-E requires 
installing placards and changing the RFM to limit the flight envelope 
by reducing the Velocity Never Exceed (VNE) true airspeed 
(TAS) limitation to reduce the dynamic loads on the T/R, a one-time 
pre-flight inspection and repetitive post-flight inspections of the 
bearings to detect damage, a one-time ``After Last Flight of the day'' 
(ALF) inspection (including T/R disassembly), and replacing all 
bearings if any bearing is damaged.
    On October 17, 2012, we issued EAD No. 2012-21-51 for Eurocopter 
Model AS350B3 helicopters with MOD 07 5601, with bearing P/N 704A33-
633-261 in combination with tail rotor blade P/N 355A12.0055.00 or 
355A12.0055.01, installed. We sent that EAD to all known U.S. owners 
and operators of these helicopters. That EAD requires, before further 
flight, installing two placards on the instrument panel and revising 
the RFM to reduce the VNE indicated airspeed (IAS) 
limitation. It also requires, before further flight and thereafter 
after each flight, visually checking all visible faces of the bearings 
for separation, a crack, or an extrusion, and replacing the four 
bearings if there is an extrusion or if there is a separation or a 
crack on the pressure side bearing greater than 5 millimeters (.196 
inches). Lastly, the EAD requires, after the last flight of the day, 
performing a one-time

[[Page 24042]]

inspection of the bearings for a separation, a crack, or an extrusion, 
and replacing the four bearings if there is a separation, crack, or 
extrusion. Our EAD differed from EASA EAD 2012-0207-E in that the EASA 
EAD placard limited TAS, while the placard in our EAD limited IAS.

Actions Since Existing EAD Was Issued

    Since we issued EAD 2012-21-51, EASA issued EAD No. 2012-0217-E, 
dated October 19, 2012 (EAD 2012-0217-E), which superseded EASA EAD 
2012-0207-E. EAD 2012-0217-E retains some of the requirements of EAD 
2012-207-E, changes the airspeed limitation from TAS to IAS, and 
requires inserting a temporary engine health check procedure into the 
RFM. We are not issuing this superseding AD to adopt the revised EASA 
requirements, because the airspeed limitations in EAD 2012-21-51 
currently use IAS, and the revised engine health check procedure does 
not correct the unsafe condition.
    In addition, we have been informed by EASA that newly-designed T/R 
blades with a P/N not listed in EAD 2012-21-51 have been developed and 
may be installed on these model helicopters, but will also be affected 
by the unsafe condition. Additionally, the compliance interval for the 
bearing removal and inspection required in EAD 2012-21-51 did not allow 
an operator to perform the inspection prior to the last flight of the 
day, if desired, and would have required the bearing removal and 
inspection after the last flight of the day following any bearing 
replacement, which was not intended when we issued the EAD. Therefore, 
we are issuing this AD to remove the laminated half-bearing and T/R 
blade P/Ns from the applicability and revise the language of the 
removal and inspection paragraph to clarify when that inspection is 
required.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to 
our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical 
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in 
the EASA AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all 
information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists 
and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type 
design.

Related Service Information

    We reviewed Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) with 
two numbers, No. 01.00.65 for the Model AS350B3 helicopters and No. 
01.00.24 for the non-FAA type certificated Model AS550C3 helicopters, 
both Revision 0, and both dated October 4, 2012. The EASB specifies 
installing two placards on the instrument panel and revising the RFM to 
limit airspeed to both 100 knots IAS and TAS, on-aircraft checking of 
the bearings after each flight, and performing a one-time removal and 
inspection of the bearings. The EASB also defines an RFM procedure in 
case of in-flight vibrations originating in the tail rotor. Revision 1 
of the EASB, dated October 18, 2012, which Eurocopter issued after we 
issued EAD 2012-21-51, introduced a new procedure for the periodic 
``Engine Health Check'' procedure, and specified to remove the placard 
and RFM changes with the VNE TAS limitation. Revision 2 of 
the EASB, dated November 2, 2012, accounted for newly designed T/R 
blades by removing specific part-numbered T/R blades from the 
Effectivity section of the EASB.

AD Requirements

    This AD retains the requirements of EAD 2012-21-51, expands the 
applicability by removing the half-bearing and the T/R blade P/Ns from 
the applicability paragraph, clarifies that the removal and inspection 
of the bearings is not a daily inspection, and clarifies that the 
inspection of the bearings may be performed prior to the last flight of 
the day (not after the last flight of the day).

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD requires removing the placard and RFM changes with the 
TAS limitation and replacing it with an IAS limitation. Since the FAA 
EAD did not include the TAS limitation, this AD does not need to 
require removing it. This AD does not require inserting the temporary 
engine health check procedure in the RFM.

Interim Action

    We consider this AD interim action. The design approval holder is 
currently developing a modification that will address the unsafe 
condition specified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, 
approved, and available, we might consider additional rulemaking.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 18 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry.
    We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order 
to comply with this AD. Installing a placard and revising the RFM will 
require about .5 work-hour, at an average labor rate of $85 per hour, 
for a cost per helicopter of $43 and a total cost to U.S. operators of 
$774. Disassembling and inspecting the bearings will require about 6 
work-hours, at an average labor rate of $85 per hour, for a cost per 
helicopter of $510 and a total cost to U.S. operators of $9,180.
    If necessary, replacing the bearings installed on the aircraft will 
require about 6 work-hours, at an average labor rate of $85, and 
required parts will cost $2,415, for a cost per helicopter of $2,925.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    The short compliance time involved is required because the 
previously described unsafe condition can adversely affect both the 
structural integrity and controllability of the helicopter. Therefore, 
because several of the corrective actions are required before further 
flight, this AD must be issued immediately.
    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.

[[Page 24043]]

    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 adding the following new airworthiness 
directive (AD):

2012-25-04 Eurocopter France: Amendment 39-17285; Docket No. FAA-
2012-1297; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-100-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS350B3 
helicopters with Modification (MOD) 07 5601 installed, certificated 
in any category.

    Note 1 to paragraph (a): MOD 07 5601 is an integral part of a 
specific Model AS350B3 configuration, commercially identified as 
``AS350B3e'' and is not fitted on Model AS350B3 helicopters of other 
configurations.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as severe vibrations due to 
failure of laminated half-bearings (bearings). This condition could 
result in failure of the tail rotor and subsequent loss of control 
of the helicopter.

(c) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes Emergency AD No. 2012-21-51, Directorate 
Identifier 2012-SW-095-AD, dated October 17, 2012.

(d) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective May 9, 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) Before further flight:
    (i) Install a velocity never exceed (VNE) placard 
that reads as follows on the instrument panel in full view of the 
pilot and co-pilot with 6-millimeter red letters on a white 
background:
    VNE LIMITED TO 100 KTS IAS.
    (ii) Replace the IAS limit versus the flight altitude placard 
located inside the cabin on the center post with the placard as 
depicted in Table 1 to paragraph (f) of this AD:

                        Table 1 to Paragraph (f)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              VNE POWER ON
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Hp (ft)                             IAS (kts)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
0..........................................................          100
2000.......................................................           97
4000.......................................................           94
6000.......................................................           91
8000.......................................................           88
10000......................................................           85
12000......................................................           82
14000......................................................           79
16000......................................................           76
18000......................................................           73
20000......................................................           70
22000......................................................           67
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Valid for VNE
                                POWER OFF
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) Before further flight, revise the Rotorcraft Flight Manual 
(RFM) by inserting a copy of this AD into the RFM or by making pen 
and ink changes as follows:
    (i) Revise paragraph 2.3 of the RFM by inserting the following:
    VNE limited to 100 kts IAS.
    (ii) Revise paragraph 2.6 of the RFM by inserting Table 2 to 
Paragraph (f) of this AD.

                        Table 2 to Paragraph (f)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              VNE POWER ON
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Hp (ft)                             IAS (kts)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
0..........................................................          100
2000.......................................................           97
4000.......................................................           94
6000.......................................................           91
8000.......................................................           88
10000......................................................           85
12000......................................................           82
14000......................................................           79
16000......................................................           76
18000......................................................           73
20000......................................................           70
22000......................................................           67
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Valid for VNE
                                POWER OFF
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (iii) Add the following as paragraph 3.3.3 to the RFM:

3.3.3 IN-FLIGHT VIBRATIONS FELT IN THE PEDALS

    Symptom:

IN-FLIGHT VIBRATIONS FELT IN THE PEDALS

    1. CHECK PEDAL EFFECTIVENESS
    2. SMOOTHLY REDUCE THE SPEED TO VY
    3. AVOID SIDESLIP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
LAND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
    (3) Before further flight, and thereafter after each flight, 
without exceeding 3 hours time-in-service between two checks, 
visually check each bearing as follows:
    (i) Position both tail rotor blades horizontally.
    (ii) Apply load (F) by hand, perpendicular to the pressure face 
of one tail rotor blade (a), as shown in Figure 1 to paragraph (f) 
of this AD, taking care not to reach the extreme position against 
the tail rotor hub. The load will deflect the tail rotor blade 
towards the tail boom.
    (iii) While maintaining the load, check all the visible faces of 
the bearings (front and side faces) in area B of DETAIL A of Figure 
1 to paragraph (f) of this AD for separation between the elastomer 
and metal parts, a crack in the elastomer, or an extrusion (see 
example in Figure 2 to paragraph (f) of this AD). A flashlight may 
be used to enhance the check.
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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR24AP13.001

    (iv) Repeat paragraphs (f)(3)(i) through (f)(3)(iii) on the 
other tail rotor blade.
    (v) Apply load (G) by hand perpendicular to the suction face of 
one tail rotor blade as shown in Figure 3 to paragraph (f) of this 
AD. The load will deflect the tail rotor blade away from the tail 
boom.

[[Page 24046]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR24AP13.002

    (vi) While maintaining the load, check visible faces of Area C 
as shown in Figure 3 to paragraph (f) of this AD for any extrusion. 
A flashlight may be used to enhance the check.
    (vii) Repeat paragraphs (f)(3)(v) and (f)(3)(vi) on the other 
tail rotor blade.
    (4) The actions required by paragraphs (f)(3)(i) through 
(f)(3)(vii) of this AD may be performed by the owner/operator 
(pilot) holding at least a private pilot certificate, and must be 
entered into the aircraft records showing compliance with this AD in 
accordance with 14 CFR 43.9 (a)(1)-(4) and 14 CFR 91.417(a)(2)(v). 
The record must be maintained as required by 14 CFR 91.173, 121.380, 
or 135.439.
    (5) If there is an extrusion on any bearing, before further 
flight, replace the four bearings with airworthy bearings.
    (6) If there is a separation or a crack on the pressure side 
bearing, measure the separation or the crack. If the separation or 
crack is greater than 5 millimeters (.196 inches) as indicated by 
dimension ``L'' in Figure 4 to paragraph (f), before further flight, 
replace the four bearings with airworthy bearings.

[[Page 24047]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR24AP13.003

    (7) No later than after the last flight of the day, perform a 
one-time inspection by removing the bearings and inspecting for a 
separation, a crack, or an extrusion. This inspection is not a daily 
inspection. If there is a separation, crack, or extrusion, before 
further flight, replace the four bearings with airworthy bearings.

(g) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits are prohibited by this AD.

(h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Robert Grant, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort 
Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 
robert.grant@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.
    (3) AMOCs approved previously in accordance with Emergency 
Airworthiness Directive No. 2012-21-51, dated October 17, 2012, are 
approved as AMOCs for the corresponding requirements in paragraph 
(f)(7) of this AD.

(i) Additional Information

    (1) Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 
01.00.65, Revision 2, dated November 2, 2012, which is not 
incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the 
subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, 
contact American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand 
Prairie, TX 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. 2012-0217-E, dated October 19, 2012.

(j) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6400: Tail Rotor.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 11, 2013.
Lance T. Gant,
Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09420 Filed 4-23-13; 8:45 am]
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