[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 226 (Friday, November 22, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 69989-69991]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27636]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2013-0523; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-091-AD; 
Amendment 39-17664; AD 2013-23-09]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for 
Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, 
AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, 
AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with sliding doors, except those with 
modification AL.4262. This AD requires removing from service certain 
part-numbered nuts and washers from the lower ball-joint bolt. This AD 
was prompted by a report of a sliding door detaching from the 
helicopter in flight. These actions are intended to prevent loss of the 
lower ball-joint nut, which could lead to loss of the sliding door and 
damage to the helicopter.

DATES: This AD is effective December 27, 2013.

ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this AD, contact 
American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 
75052;

[[Page 69990]]

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.

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 foreign authority's AD, 
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: 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:

Discussion

    On June 20, 2013 at 78 FR 37154, the Federal Register published our 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 CFR 
part 39 to add an AD that would apply to Eurocopter Model AS350B, 
AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, 
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with sliding 
doors installed, except those with modification AL.4262. The NPRM 
proposed to require removing from service each nut, part number (P/N) 
ASN52320BH060N, and each washer, P/N 23111AG0LE, within 165 hours time-
in-service (TIS) and replacing them with an airworthy nut and washer. 
The proposed requirements were intended to prevent loss of the lower 
ball-joint nut, which could lead to loss of the sliding door and damage 
to the helicopter.
    The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2012-0205, dated October 1, 2012, 
issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the 
Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union. EASA 
issued AD 2012-0205 to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter Model 
AS350B, AS350BA, AS350BB, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350D, AS355E, 
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with a 
sliding door installed, except those with modification AL. 4262. EASA 
advises that during a patrol flight with the doors open, the right-hand 
(RH) sliding door became detached and was lost in-flight. EASA states 
it was discovered that the nut of the ball-joint bolt was missing, 
which allowed the ball-joint bolt to detach from the door and the door 
to ``fall off'' the aircraft. According to EASA, a check of the left-
hand (LH) sliding door revealed that the nut of the ball-joint bolt was 
not tightened, and could be unscrewed by hand. EASA advises that the 
self-locking characteristics of the nut were lost, possibly due to a 
defective assembly of the ball-joint bolt. This failure of the self-
locking characteristics of the nut could lead to loss of the sliding 
door in-flight, potentially resulting in damage of the surrounding 
helicopter structure and possible injury to persons on the ground. For 
these reasons, EASA issued AD 2012-0205 to require modification 
AL.4262, which specifies replacing each nut, P/N ASN52320BH060N, and 
washer, P/N 23111AG0LE, with nut, P/N 22542K060, and lock-washer, P/N 
23351AC060LE, on the lower ball-joint bolt.

Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing 
this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM (78 FR 37154, 
June 20, 2013).

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 these same 
type designs and that air safety and the public interest require 
adopting the AD requirements as proposed.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD requires replacing the lower ball-joint nut and washer 
within 165 flight hours or 13 calendar months, while this AD requires 
replacing the affected lower ball joint nut and washer within 165 hours 
TIS. In addition, this AD does not apply to the Model AS350BB as that 
helicopter is not type-certificated in the U.S., but it applies to 
Models AS350C and AS350D1 because those models have a similar lower 
ball joint nut and washer.

Related Service Information

    Eurocopter has issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS350-
52.00.34 for Model AS350 B, B1, B2, B3, BA, BB, D, and L1 helicopters 
and ASB No. AS355-52.00.26 for Model AS355 E, F, F1, F2, N, and NP 
helicopters, both Revision 0 and both dated July 9, 2012. The ASBs 
describe procedures to replace the nuts and lock-washers on the LH and 
RH sliding door lower ball-joint bolts with different part numbered 
nuts and lock-washers, to ``double lock'' the lower ball-joint bolts. 
Eurocopter designates the maintenance procedure and design change in 
its ASBs as modification AL.4262.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 900 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry.
    We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order 
to comply with this AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per hour, 
replacing the nuts and washers on the sliding doors will require about 
1 work-hour, and required parts costs will be minimal, for a cost per 
helicopter of $85 and a total cost to U.S. operators of $76,500.

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 helicopters 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.

[[Page 69991]]

    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):

2013-23-09 Eurocopter France: Amendment 39-17664; Docket No. FAA-
2013-0523; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-091-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS350B, 
AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, 
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with 
sliding doors installed, except those with modification AL.4262, 
certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as loss of the self-locking 
feature of the sliding door lower ball-joint nut. This condition 
could result in detachment of the lower ball-joint bolt from the 
sliding door and subsequent loss of the sliding door from the 
helicopter in flight.

(c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective December 27, 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 165 hours time-in-service, remove each nut, part 
number (P/N) ASN52320BH060N, and each washer, P/N 23111AG0LE, from 
the left-hand and right-hand sliding door lower ball-joint bolts and 
replace them with an airworthy nut and washer.
    (2) Do not install a nut, P/N ASN52320BH060N, or washer, P/N 
23111AG0LE, on any sliding door lower ball-joint bolt.

(f) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits are prohibited.

(g) 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.

(h) Additional Information

    (1) Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS350-52.00.34 
for Model AS350B, B1, B2, B3, BA, BB and D and L1 helicopters and 
ASB No. AS355-52.00.26 for Model AS355E, F, F1, F2, N, and NP 
helicopters, both Revision 0 and both dated July 9, 2012, which are 
not incorporated by reference, contain 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 the referenced 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 (EASA) AD No. 2012-0205, dated October 1, 2012. You 
may view the EASA AD on the internet in AD Docket No. FAA-2013-0523 
at http://www.regulations.gov.

(i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5200: Doors.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 5, 2013.
Lance T. Gant,
Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-27636 Filed 11-21-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P