[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 128 (Wednesday, July 3, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40053-40055]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15958]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2013-0554; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-009-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for 
Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH (Eurocopter) Model EC135 P1, EC135 P2, 
EC135 P2+, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, and EC135 T2+ helicopters. This proposed 
AD would require analyzing the main gearbox (MGB) oil for indications 
of metal chips or pieces, reviewing the MGB log or equivalent record, 
and inspecting certain teeth in the MGB after two chip indications. 
This proposed AD is prompted by a partial tooth rupture found in an MGB 
that was returned to the manufacturer for repairs. The proposed actions 
are intended to detect wear in the MGB that could lead to a gear tooth 
rupture, failure of the MGB, loss of power to the main rotor, and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 3, 
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, 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 
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: Chinh Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, 
Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham 
Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 
Chinh.Vuong@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

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical 
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 
No. 2009-0106R1, dated November 3, 2011, to correct an unsafe condition 
for the Eurocopter Model 635 military helicopter and Model EC135 P1, 
EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, and EC135 T2+ helicopters. 
EASA advises that an MGB was returned to the manufacturer for repair 
after ``several chip indications.'' According to EASA, a partial tooth 
rupture was detected after disassembly of the gearbox and removal of a 
drive pinion. EASA states the tooth rupture was determined to have been 
caused by wear.
    EASA AD No. 2009-0106R1 revises EASA Emergency AD 2009-0106-E, 
dated April 30, 2009, which superseded Emergency AD 2008-0116-E dated 
June 17, 2008. The most recent EASA AD includes requirements and 
timetables for oil sampling and analysis; checking the gearbox log card 
for chip indications; and corrective measures for chip indications. It 
also states that a prescribed modification to the MGB would be 
terminating action for the AD.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
Germany and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant 
to our bilateral agreement with Germany, EASA, its technical 
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in 
its AD. 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 products of these same type designs.

Related Service Information

    Eurocopter issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) EC135-63A-012 on 
August 8, 2007, which was followed by five revisions, the most recent 
of which was issued September 6, 2011. The ASBs prescribe procedures to 
monitor and detect wear in time to prevent MGB tooth ruptures in main 
transmissions for EC135 and EC635 model helicopters. Revision 5 of the 
ASB prescribes procedures for taking and analyzing scheduled oil 
samples, identifying and addressing chip indications, and inspecting 
certain teeth in gearboxes.

[[Page 40054]]

Proposed AD Requirements

    Within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS), and thereafter at intervals 
not to exceed 100 hours or 12 months, whichever occurs first, this 
proposed AD would require taking an oil sample. The oil sample would 
need to be analyzed within 25 hours TIS.
    If the analysis indicates Stage II as defined by the ASB, within 25 
hours TIS, this proposed AD would require removing and inspecting the 
oil filter element for a chip. If the analysis indicates Stage III as 
defined by the ASB, this proposed AD would require removing and 
inspecting the oil filter element for a chip within 10 hours TIS.
    If there are no chips, we propose cleaning the oil filter element 
and chip detector, inspecting the drive stage toothing, performing a 
ground run, and inspecting for leaking oil. If there is a chip, this 
proposed AD would require replacing the MGB with an airworthy MGB 
before further flight.
    Before the MGB has accumulated 300 hours TIS, this proposed AD 
would require determining whether two or more chip indications have 
occurred. If two or more chip indications have occurred, this proposed 
AD would require inspecting the drive stage toothing, performing a 
ground run, and inspecting for leaking oil. At any time if there is a 
chip indication, we would require removing and inspecting the chip 
detector for deposits (fine particles or metallic fuzz) or a chip, and 
removing and inspecting the oil filter element for a chip.
    If there are no chips and a minimal amount of particles or metallic 
fuzz, this proposed AD would require cleaning the chip detector and the 
oil filter element and entering the chip indication on the MGB log card 
before further flight. If there are no chips and some particles or 
metallic fuzz, this proposed AD would require cleaning the chip 
detector and the oil filter element and entering the chip indication on 
the MGB log card before further flight. The proposed AD also would 
require inspecting the drive stage toothing, performing a ground run, 
and within 10 hours TIS inspecting for leaking oil. The proposed AD 
would then require performing a ground run for 15 minutes at the 
flight-idle power setting, and then re-inspecting the chip detector for 
a chip, particles and metallic fuzz. If there is a chip, this proposed 
AD would require replacing the MGB with an airworthy MGB.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD applies to military EC635 helicopters. This AD does not 
apply to EC635 helicopters because they are not type certificated in 
the United States.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 242 helicopters of 
U.S. Registry and that labor costs would average $85 per work-hour. 
Based on these estimates, we expect the following the costs:
     Taking oil samples would take 1 work-hour. Assuming 2 
samples per aircraft per year, we estimate a total cost of $170. No 
parts would be needed, so the total cost for the U.S. fleet would be 
$41,140.
     A laboratory analysis of 2 oil samples would cost $200 per 
helicopter for labor and equipment, for a total fleet cost of $48,400.
     Inspecting the oil filter element for a chip would require 
about a half-hour of labor for a cost per helicopter of about $43. No 
parts would be needed.
     Inspecting certain teeth in the gearbox, performing a 
ground run, and inspecting for leaking oil would take 8 work-hours for 
a labor cost of $680. Parts would cost $196, for a total cost per 
helicopter of $876.
     If the oil sample analysis indicates metal chips, 
recording the results on the aircraft log card would take a half-hour 
for a labor cost of about $43 per helicopter.
     Examining the log card for any previously recorded chip 
indications would be minimal.
     Inspecting the chip detector for deposits would require 
about 5 minutes of labor for a labor cost of about $7.
     Replacing the MGB with an airworthy MGB would require 8 
work-hours for a labor cost of $680. Parts would cost $145,000 for 
total cost per helicopter of $145,680.

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 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

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):

Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH (Eurocopter): Docket No. FAA-2013-0554; 
Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-009-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model EC135 P1, EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 
T1, EC135 T2, and EC135 T2+ helicopters with a main gearbox (MGB), 
part number (P/N) 4649 010 003, 4649 010 005, 4649 010 006, 4649 010 
006X, 4649 010 008, 4649 010 008X, 4649 001 007, 4649 010 010, or 
4649 010 013 installed, certificated in any category.

[[Page 40055]]

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a tooth rupture in the 
MGB. This condition could result in failure of the MGB, loss of 
power to the main rotor, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.

(c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by September 3, 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 100 hours time-in-service (TIS), and thereafter at 
intervals not to exceed 100 hours or 12 months, whichever occurs 
first, take an oil sample in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part 1, of Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin EC 135-
63A-012, Revision 5, dated September 6, 2011 (ASB EC135-63A-012).
    (2) Within 25 hours TIS after taking the oil sample in paragraph 
(e)(1), analyze the oil sample in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part 2.A. through Part 2.C. of ASB EC135-63A-012, 
except that you are not required to contact Eurocopter.
    (i) If the analysis indicates Stage II as specified by the 
Accomplishment Instructions, Part 2.B., of ASB EC135-63A-012, within 
25 hours TIS, remove and inspect the oil filter element for a chip, 
defined as any solid piece of metal but not metallic fuzz or fine 
particles.
    (A) If there are no chips, clean the oil filter element and chip 
detector, inspect the drive stage toothing, perform a ground run, 
and inspect for leaking oil in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part 4.A through 4.G, of ASB EC135-63A-012. Change the 
oil.
    (B) If there is a chip, replace the MGB with an airworthy MGB 
before further flight.
    (ii) If the analysis indicates Stage III as specified by the 
Accomplishment Instructions, Part 2.B., of ASB EC135-63A-012 and if 
the water content is between 0.1 and 0.5 percent, within 10 hours 
TIS, remove and inspect the oil filter element for a chip.
    (A) If there are no chips, clean the oil filer element and chip 
detector, inspect the drive stage toothing, perform a ground run, 
and inspect for leaking oil in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part 4.A through 4.G, of ASB EC135-65A-012. Change the 
oil.
    (B) If there is a chip, replace the MGB with an airworthy MGB 
before further flight.
    (3) Before the MGB has accumulated 300 hours TIS, determine 
whether two or more chip indications have occurred. If two or more 
chip indications have occurred, inspect the drive stage toothing, 
perform a ground run, and inspect for leaking oil in accordance with 
the Accomplishment Instructions, Part 4.A through 4.G, of ASB EC135-
65A-012.
    (4) Any time there is a chip indication, remove and inspect the 
chip detector for deposits (fine particles or metallic fuzz) or 
chips, and remove and inspect the oil filter element for a chip.
    (i) If there are no chips and a minimal amount of particles or 
metallic fuzz, corresponding to Figure 5, Stage A of ASB EC135-65A-
012, clean the chip detector and the oil filter element and enter 
the chip indication on the MGB log card before further flight.
    (ii) If there are no chips and some particles or metallic fuzz, 
corresponding to Figure 5, Stage B of ASB EC135-65A-012, clean the 
chip detector and the oil filter element and enter the chip 
indication on the MGB log card before further flight, and within 10 
hours TIS inspect the drive stage toothing, perform a ground run, 
and inspect for leaking oil in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions, Part 4.A through 4.G, of ASB EC135-65A-012. Perform a 
ground run for 15 minutes at the flight-idle power setting, and then 
re-inspect the chip detector for a chip, particles, and metallic 
fuzz.
    (iii) If there is a chip, replace the MGB with an airworthy MGB.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Chinh Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, 
Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham 
Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 
Chinh.Vuong@faa.gov.
    (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating 
certificate or under 14 CR 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

    The subject of this AD is addressed in the European Aviation 
Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2009-0106R1, dated November 3, 2011. You 
may view the EASA AD at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. 
FAA-2013-0554.

(h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6320, Main Rotor 
Gearbox.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 18, 2013.
Kim Smith,
Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-15958 Filed 7-2-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P