[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 8 (Thursday, January 11, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 1313-1316]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-00177]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2017-1217; Product Identifier 2016-SW-080-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Air Comm Corporation Air Conditioning 
Systems

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 Air 
Comm Corporation (Air Comm) air conditioning systems installed on 
various model helicopters. This proposed AD would require replacing 
electrical connectors and would prohibit the installation of other 
parts. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of overheated 
connectors. The proposed actions are intended to address an unsafe 
condition on these products.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 12, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:

[[Page 1314]]

     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 by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-
1217; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains 
this proposed AD, the economic evaluation, the Special Airworthiness 
Information Bulletin (SAIB), any comments received, and other 
information. The street address for Docket Operations (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 rule, contact 
Air Comm Corporation, 1575 West 124th Ave., Westminster, CO 80234; 
telephone (303) 440-4075; email [email protected]; website 
www.aircommcorp.com. You may review the referenced service information 
at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 
Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Bryant, Aerospace Engineer, 
Denver ACO Branch, Compliance and Airworthiness Division, FAA, 26805 
East 68th Ave., Room 214, Denver, CO 80249; telephone (303) 342-1092; 
email [email protected].

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

    On August 13, 2015, we issued SAIB SW-15-20 to alert owners and 
operators of Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 206, 
407, and 427; Agusta S.p.A. Model A119; and Airbus Helicopters Model 
AS350, EC120, and EC130 helicopters of possible overheated and melted 
connectors in the wiring of certain Air Comm air conditioning system 
units. SAIB SW-15-20 was prompted by a report of a melted and 
discolored aft evaporator assembly connector due to poor crimping 
during installation of the connector or during production. SAIB SW-15-
20 recommends inspecting the connecters for evidence of overheating and 
loose contact by following the Air Comm service bulletins, and if there 
is evidence of overheating or loose contact, making the air 
conditioning system inoperable until those connectors are replaced.
    Since we issued SAIB SW-15-20, we received additional reports of 
melted and burned connectors. Further investigation revealed the 
connector design may be insufficient for some of these model 
helicopters because of electrical current load, installation location, 
vibration environment, and susceptibility to environmental factors. As 
a result, the connector may develop low pin tension between the socket 
and the pin, leading to high electrical resistance, subsequently 
resulting in excessive pin and socket temperatures. Overheating of the 
connector could result in a fire and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter. In July 2016, Air Comm introduced a newly designed 
connector that can withstand the demands and environment of the aft 
evaporator blower motor.
    Accordingly, we are proposing an AD for certain part-numbered Air 
Comm air conditioning systems installed on Airbus Helicopters Model 
AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, 
and EC130B4, and Bell Model 206A, 206B, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-
4, and 407 helicopters. This proposed AD would require replacing each 
aft evaporator blower motor connector with the newly designed connector 
and would prohibit installing certain parts in the aft evaporator 
assembly, aft evaporator blower assembly, and aft condenser blower. The 
actions specified in this proposed AD are intended to prevent 
overheating of a connector, which could result in a fire and subsequent 
loss of control of the helicopter.
    These Air Comm air conditioning systems may be installed on Airbus 
Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS350C, 
AS350D, and AS350D1 helicopters per Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) 
SR00643DE; on Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 helicopters per STC 
SR00543DE; on Bell Model 206A, 206B, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-4 
helicopters per STC SH2750NM; and on Bell Model 407 helicopters per STC 
SR00222DE. Because field reports revealed that Agusta S.p.A. Model 
A119, Airbus Helicopters Model EC120, and Bell Model 427 helicopters 
are not affected by this unsafe condition, we are not including these 
models in this proposed AD.

FAA's Determination

    We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant 
information and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is 
likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type 
designs.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Air Comm Corporation Service Bulletin (SB) SB AS350-
111014 for Airbus Helicopters AS350 series helicopters and SB EC130-
6204 for Airbus Helicopters EC130 series helicopters, both Revision B 
and dated January 10, 2017. We also reviewed SB 206-110414 for Bell 206 
series helicopters, Revision C, and SB 407-110414 for Bell Model 407 
helicopters, Revision D, both dated January 13, 2017. This service 
information specifies inspecting certain aft evaporator blower motor 
and certain condenser blower electrical connectors for indications of 
overheating, discoloration, and plastic deformation and performing a 
pull test. This service information also specifies replacing connector 
housings and contacts that fail the inspection or the pull test.

[[Page 1315]]

    This service information is reasonably available because the 
interested parties have access to it through their normal course of 
business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Other Related Service Information

    We also reviewed the following Air Comm Corporation service 
information:
     SB AS350-111014 and SB EC130-6204, both Revision A and 
both dated July 6, 2016;
     SB 206-110414, Revision B, dated January 10, 2017 and 
Revision A dated June 3, 2016; and
     SB 407-110414, Revision C, dated January 10, 2017, and 
Revision B, dated July 6, 2016.
    This service information contains the same procedures described 
above. However, SB AS350-111014 and SB EC130-6204, both Revision B and 
dated January 10, 2017, contain additional instructions and figures for 
the connectors. SB 206-110414, Revision C, and SB 407-110414, Revision 
D, both dated January 13, 2017, contain minor corrections.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require replacing certain connectors with 
Air Comm connectors and prohibit installing certain part-numbered 
plugs, sockets, receptacles, and pin in certain part-numbered aft 
evaporator assemblies, aft evaporator blower assemblies, and aft 
condenser blowers.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

    The Air Comm service information specifies a compliance time of 20 
flight hours. This proposed AD would require compliance within 90 hours 
time-in-service. The Air Comm service information specifies inspecting 
each connector and replacing the connector housings and contacts that 
have any signs of overheating or that fail a pull test. This proposed 
AD would require replacing each connector without an inspection. This 
proposed AD would also prohibit installing certain parts in certain 
part-numbered aft evaporator assemblies, aft evaporator blower 
assemblies, and aft condenser blowers.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 914 units installed 
on helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur 
the following costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are 
estimated at $85 per work-hour. Replacing the connectors would take 
about 1 work-hour and parts would cost about $60 for a total cost of 
$145 per helicopter and $132,530 for the U.S. fleet.
    According to Air Comm's service information, some of the costs of 
this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the 
cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty 
coverage by Air Comm. 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

    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):

Air Comm Corporation (Air Comm) Air Conditioning Systems: Docket No. 
FAA-2017-1217; Product Identifier 2016-SW-080-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to the following helicopters, certificated in 
any category:
    (1) Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, 
AS350BA, AS350C, AS350D, and AS350D1 helicopters with an Air Comm 
air conditioning system part number (P/N) AS350-202-1, AS350-202-2, 
AS350-202-3, AS350-202-4, AS350-202-5, AS350-204-1, AS350-204-2, 
AS350-204-3, AS350-204-4, AS350-204-5, AS350-204-6, AS350-204-7, 
AS350-204-8, AS350-204-9, AS350-204-10, AS350-204-11, or AS350-204-
12 installed.
    (2) Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 helicopters with an Air 
Comm air conditioning system P/N EC130-202-1, EC130-202-2, EC130-
202-3, EC130-202-4, EC130-202-5, EC130-202-6, EC130-202-7, or EC130-
202-8 installed.
    (3) Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 206A, 
206B, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-4 helicopters with an Air Comm 
air conditioning system P/N 206EC-200, 206EC-201, 206EC-202, 206EC-
203, 206EC-204, 206EC-205, 206EC-206, 206EC-207, 206EC-208, 206EC-
209, 206EC-210, 206EC-211, or 206EC-212 installed.
    (4) Bell Model 407 helicopters with an Air Comm air conditioning 
system P/N 407 EC-201, 407 EC-202, or 407 EC-203 installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as an overheated connector. 
This condition could result in a fire and subsequent loss of control 
of the helicopter.

(c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by March 12, 2018.

(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.

[[Page 1316]]

(e) Required Actions

    (1) Within 90 hours time-in-service:
    (i) For Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, 
AS350B3, AS350BA, AS350C, AS350D, and AS350D1 helicopters, replace 
each aft evaporator blower motor connector with an Air Comm 
connector as depicted in Figures 2, 3, and 4 of Air Comm Service 
Bulletin (SB) SB AS350-1110014, Revision B, dated January 10, 2017, 
by using a Deutsch HDT-48-00 or an equivalent MIL-DTL22520 Type 1 
crimping tool.
    (ii) For Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 helicopters, replace 
each aft evaporator blower motor connector with an Air Comm 
connector as depicted in Figures 2, 3, and 4 of Air Comm SB EC130-
6204, Revision B, dated January 10, 2017, by using a Deutsch HDT-48-
00 or an equivalent MIL-DTL22520 Type 1 crimping tool.
    (iii) For Bell Model 206A, 206B, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-
4 helicopters, replace each aft evaporator blower motor connector 
with an Air Comm connector as depicted in Figures 4, 5, and 6 of Air 
Comm SB 206-110414, Revision C, dated January 13, 2017, by using a 
Deutsch HDT-48-00 or an equivalent MIL-DTL22520 Type 1 crimping 
tool.
    (iv) For Bell Model 407 helicopters, replace each aft evaporator 
blower motor connector with an Air Comm connector as depicted in 
Figures 4, 5, and 6 of Air Comm SB 407-110414, Revision D, dated 
January 13, 2017, by using a Deutsch HDT-48-00 or an equivalent MIL-
DTL22520 Type 1 crimping tool.
    (2) After the effective date of this AD, do not install the 
following in any aft evaporator assembly P/Ns AS350-6202, EC130-
6204-1, or EC130-6204-2; aft evaporator blower assembly P/Ns S-
6078EC-15, S-6102EC-3, or S-6102EC-4; or aft condenser blower P/Ns 
S-7060EC-1, S-7060EC-2, S-7062EC-1 or S-7062EC-2:
    (i) Plug P/N 03-09-1022, 03-09-1032, and 03-09-1042;
    (ii) Socket P/N 02-09-1103 and 02-09-1104;
    (iii) Receptacle P/N 03-09-2022, 03-09-2032, and 03-09-2042; and
    (iv) Pin P/N 02-09-2103.

(f) Credit for Previous Actions

    Replacing the connectors before the effective date of this AD in 
accordance with Air Comm SB 206-110414, Revision A, dated June 3, 
2016; SB AS350-111014 or SB EC130-6204, both Revision A and both 
dated July 6, 2016; SB 407-110414, Revision B, dated July 6, 2016; 
SB 206-110414, Revision B, dated January 10, 2017; or SB 407-110414, 
Revision C, dated January 10, 2017, is considered acceptable for 
compliance with the corresponding required actions specified in 
paragraph (e)(1) of this AD.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Denver ACO Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for 
this AD. Send your proposal to: Matthew Bryant, Aerospace Engineer, 
Denver ACO Branch, Compliance and Airworthiness Division, FAA, 26805 
East 68th Ave., Room 214, Denver, CO 80249; telephone (303) 342-
1092; email [email protected].
    (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

    Air Comm SB 206-110414, Revision A, dated June 3, 2016; SB 
AS350-111014 or SB EC130-6204, both Revision A and both dated July 
6, 2016; SB 407-110414, Revision B, dated July 6, 2016; SB 206-
110414, Revision B, dated January 10, 2017; and SB 407-110414, 
Revision C, dated January 10, 2017, which are not incorporated by 
reference, contain additional information about the subject of this 
AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Air Comm 
Corporation, 1575 West 124th Ave., Westminster, CO 80234; telephone 
(303) 440-4075; email [email protected]; website 
www.aircommcorp.com. You may review a copy of this service 
information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest 
Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

 (i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2197, Air 
Conditioning System Wiring.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 2, 2018.
Scott A. Horn,
Deputy Director for Regulatory Operations, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-00177 Filed 1-10-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P