[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 219 (Friday, November 13, 1998)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 63400-63402]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-30165]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 98-SW-12-AD; Amendment 39-10886; AD 98-23-18]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Model 
214B, 214B-1, and 214ST Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that 
is applicable to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (Bell) Model 214B, 214B-
1, and 214ST helicopters. This action requires a visual inspection of 
thin-flanged attachment barrel nuts (barrel nuts) manufactured by 
Kaynar Technologies, Inc. for cracks or lubrication residue, and 
replacement of the barrel nuts and corresponding attaching bolts, as 
necessary. These barrel nuts have been installed in main rotor grips, 
pitch horns, and tailboom assemblies. This amendment is prompted by a 
report of a cracked barrel nut, which was discovered on a helicopter 
being prepared for shipment. The actions specified in this AD are 
intended to detect cracks in a barrel nut, which could lead to failure 
of a main rotor grip, pitch horn, or tailboom, and subsequent loss of 
control of the helicopter.

DATES: Effective November 30, 1998.
    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in 
the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as 
of November 30, 1998.
    Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or 
before January 12, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 98-SW-12-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, 
Fort Worth, Texas 76137.
    The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from 
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, Texas 76101, 
telephone (817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-6466. This information may be 
examined at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137; or at the Office 
of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, 
Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen Forest, Aerospace Engineer, 
FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Certification Office, 2601 
Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas, 76137, telephone (817) 222-5861, fax 
(817) 222-5783.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness 
directive (AD) that is applicable to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. 
(Bell) Model 214B, 214B-1, and 214ST helicopters. This action requires 
an inspection of barrel nuts manufactured by Kaynar Technologies, Inc. 
(Kaynar). This amendment is prompted by the discovery of a cracked 
barrel nut, part number NAS577B-10A, on a helicopter being disassembled 
for shipment. The crack was in the threaded portion of the barrel nut. 
A laboratory analysis indicated that the cracking is a result of 
hydrogen embrittlement introduced during manufacture. These nuts may 
have been installed in spare main rotor grips, pitch horns, or tailboom 
assemblies; and may also have been supplied as individual spare parts. 
The actions specified in this AD are intended to detect cracks in a 
barrel nut, which could lead to failure of a main rotor grip, pitch 
horn, or tailboom, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
    The FAA has reviewed Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Alert Service 
Bulletin No. 214-97-59 and Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Alert Service 
Bulletin No. 214ST-97-78, both dated July 17, 1997, which describe 
procedures for determining if any barrel nuts used on the affected 
model helicopters were manufactured by Kaynar, and if so, visually 
inspecting those barrel nuts for cracks or lubrication residue using a 
10-power or higher magnifying glass. If a crack or lubrication residue 
is discovered in the threads of either a barrel nut or its attaching 
bolt, both the barrel nut and the attaching bolt must be replaced with 
airworthy parts. Barrel nuts whose manufacturer cannot be positively 
identified must also be replaced.
    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or develop on other Bell Model 214B, 214B-1, and 214ST 
helicopters of the same type design, this AD is being issued to detect 
cracking in a barrel nut, which could lead to failure of a main rotor 
grip, pitch horn, or tailboom, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter. The actions are required to be accomplished in accordance 
with the service bulletins described previously.

[[Page 63401]]

The short compliance time involved is required because the previously 
described critical unsafe condition can adversely affect the structural 
integrity of the helicopter. Therefore, an inspection of the barrel 
nuts is required within 40 hours time-in-service, and this AD must be 
issued immediately.
    Since a situation exists that requires the immediate adoption of 
this regulation, it is found that notice and opportunity for prior 
public comment hereon are impracticable, and that good cause exists for 
making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.
    The FAA estimates that 15 helicopters of U.S. registry will be 
affected by this proposed AD, that it will take approximately 3.0 work 
hours per helicopter to accomplish the inspection and replacement of 
parts, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required 
parts will cost approximately $600 per helicopter. Based on these 
figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is 
estimated to be $11,700.

Comments Invited

    Although this action is in the form of a final rule that involves 
requirements affecting flight safety and, thus, was not preceded by 
notice and an opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on 
this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this rule by 
submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. 
Communications should identify the Rules Docket number and be submitted 
in triplicate to the address specified under the caption ADDRESSES. All 
communications received on or before the closing date for comments will 
be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments 
received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and 
suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the 
AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be 
needed.
    Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the rule that might 
suggest a need to modify the rule. All comments submitted will be 
available, both before and after the closing date for comments, in the 
Rules Docket for examination by interested persons. A report that 
summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this 
AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket No. 98-SW-12-AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped and 
returned to the commenter.
    The regulations adopted herein will not have substantial direct 
effects 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. Therefore, in 
accordance with Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this final 
rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism Assessment.
    The FAA has determined that this regulation is an emergency 
regulation that must be issued immediately to correct an unsafe 
condition in aircraft, and that it is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under Executive Order 12866. It has been determined further 
that this action involves an emergency regulation under DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). If it is 
determined that this emergency regulation otherwise would be 
significant under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures, a final 
regulatory evaluation will be prepared and placed in the Rules Docket. 
A copy of it, if filed, may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the 
location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.
Adoption of the Amendment
    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of 
the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

    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]

    2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding a new airworthiness directive 
to read as follows:

AD 98-23-18  Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.: Amendment 39-10886. 
Docket No. 98-SW-12-AD.

    Applicability: Model 214B, 214B-1, and 214ST helicopters, 
certificated in any category.

    Note 1: This AD applies to each helicopter identified in the 
preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been 
modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the 
requirements of this AD. For helicopters that have been modified, 
altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of 
this AD is affected, the owner/operator must use the authority 
provided in paragraph (e) to request approval from the FAA. This 
approval may address either no action, if the current configuration 
eliminates the unsafe condition, or different actions necessary to 
address the unsafe condition described in this AD. Such a request 
should include an assessment of the effect of the changed 
configuration on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD. In no 
case does the presence of any modification, alteration, or repair 
remove any helicopter from the applicability of this AD.

    Compliance: Required within 40 hours time-in-service, unless 
accomplished previously.
    To detect cracks in a barrel nut, which could lead to failure of 
a main rotor grip, pitch horn, or tailboom, and subsequent loss of 
control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:
    (a) For each barrel nut, determine if the manufacturer was 
Kaynar Technologies Inc. (Kaynar) in accordance with paragraph 1.a. 
of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. 
Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 214-97-59, applicable to Model 214B 
and B-1 helicopters, or Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. ASB No. 214ST-
97-78, applicable to Model 214ST helicopters, both dated July 17, 
1997.
    (b) For each Kaynar-manufactured barrel nut, part number (P/N) 
NAS577B-10A, determine if it is a ``thick'' flange barrel nut 
(installed edge distance of 0.115-inch) or a ``thin flange barrel 
nut (installed edge distance of 0.155-inch) in accordance with 
paragraph 1.b of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable 
ASB, dated July 17, 1997.
    (c) For each barrel nut identified as a Kaynar-manufactured 
``thin'' flange barrel nut, using a 10-power or higher magnifying 
glass, perform a visual inspection for cracks in the threaded 
portion of each barrel nut or lubrication residue in the threaded 
portion of each barrel nut or its corresponding attaching bolt.

    Note 2: If a ``thick'' flange Kaynar-manufactured barrel nut, P/
N NAS577B-10A, is installed, compliance with paragraphs (d) and (e) 
of this AD is not required.

    (d) For each barrel nut that cannot be positively identified, 
and for each Kaynar-manufactured ``thin'' flange barrel nut in which 
a crack or lubrication residue was discovered as a result of the 
inspection required by paragraph (c) of this AD, replace the barrel 
nut and the corresponding attaching bolt with an airworthy barrel 
nut and attaching bolt before further flight. If an unairworthy 
barrel nut is found at the right-hand upper tailboom attachment 
location, also replace the left-hand upper barrel nut and 
corresponding bolt, and inspect both upper tailboom and fuselage 
longeron fittings for damage or deformation.
    (e) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the 
compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be

[[Page 63402]]

used if approved by the Manager, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, 
Rotorcraft Certification Office. Operators shall submit their 
requests through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may 
concur or comment and then send it to the Manager, Rotorcraft 
Certification Office.

    Note 3: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Rotorcraft Certification Office.

    (f) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 
sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 
CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the helicopter to a location where 
the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.
    (g) The identification and determination of the barrel 
dimensions shall be done in accordance with Bell Helicopter Textron, 
Inc. ASB No. 214-97-59 or Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. ASB No. 
214ST-97-78, both dated July 17, 1997. This incorporation by 
reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in 
accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be 
obtained from Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort 
Worth, Texas 76101, telephone (817) 280-3391, fax (817) 280-6466. 
Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, 
Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas; 
or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, 
NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.
    (h) This amendment becomes effective on November 30, 1998.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas on November 4, 1998.
Mark R. Schilling,
Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 98-30165 Filed 11-12-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U