[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 10 (Friday, January 14, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2362-2365]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00164]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-1178; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00986-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Textron Canada Limited (Type 
Certificate Previously Held by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited) 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2020-20-06, which applies to certain Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 
Limited (now Bell Textron Canada Limited) Model 429 helicopters. AD 
2020-20-06 requires repetitive inspections of certain cyclic and 
collective assembly bearings. Since the FAA issued AD 2020-20-06, the 
collective and cyclic bellcrank assemblies have been upgraded with 
corrosion resistant steel bearings. This proposed AD would retain some 
of the requirements of AD 2020-20-06 and depending on the inspection 
results, would require removing certain parts from service and 
installing the upgraded cyclic and collective bellcrank assemblies. 
This proposed AD would also require installing the upgraded collective 
and cyclic bellcrank assemblies on certain helicopters if not already 
installed, and would prohibit installing certain bellcrank assemblies. 
The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these 
products.

DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 
28, 2022.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    For service information identified in this NPRM, contact Bell 
Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J 
1R4, Canada; telephone 1-450-437-2862 or 1-800-363-8023; fax 1-450-433-
0272; email [email protected]; or at https://www.bellflight.com/support/contact-support. You may view this service 
information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest 
Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. For 
information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (817) 
222-5110.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1178; 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 NPRM, the 
Transport Canada AD, any comments received, and other information. The 
street address for Docket Operations is listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, 
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & 
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 
11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or 
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed 
under ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-1178; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2021-00986-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful 
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA 
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend 
this proposal because of those comments.
    Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in 
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to 
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you 
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each 
substantive verbal contact received about this NPRM.

Confidential Business Information

    CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily 
and actually treated as private by its owner.

[[Page 2363]]

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is 
exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM 
contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated 
as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or 
responsive to this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the 
submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission 
containing CBI as ``PROPIN.'' The FAA will treat such marked 
submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed 
in the public docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be 
sent to Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management 
Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; 
telephone (516) 228-7330; email [email protected]. Any commentary 
that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will 
be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Background

    The FAA issued AD 2020-20-06, Amendment 39-21262 (85 FR 60356, 
September 25, 2020) (AD 2020-20-06), for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 
Limited Model 429 helicopters with a bellcrank assembly part number (P/
N) 429-001-523-101, 429-001-523-103, 429-001-532-101, or 429-001-532-
103 installed. AD 2020-20-06 requires within 12 months after the 
helicopter was manufactured or 30 days after the effective date of AD 
2020-20-06, whichever occurs later, and thereafter at intervals not to 
exceed 6 months, disconnecting the forward ends of the collective 
control tube, longitudinal stability and control augmentation system 
(SCAS) actuator, and lateral SCAS actuator and stowing the collective 
control tube and each SCAS actuator to prevent binding. AD 2020-20-06 
requires slowly moving the cyclic fore/aft and laterally, and the 
collective up/down from stop to stop to determine if there is any 
roughness. If there is any roughness in the flight control system, AD 
2020-20-06 requires, before further flight, replacing the six pivot 
bearings in the collective lateral bellcrank assembly and the 
longitudinal bellcrank assembly. Finally, AD 2020-20-06 requires 
inspecting each arm end bearing at the end of the collective, lateral, 
and longitudinal arm assemblies by rotating each bearing and ensuring 
each bearing rotates freely. If there is any binding in any arm end 
bearing or on the longitudinal bellcrank assembly, AD 2020-20-06 
requires replacing each arm end bearing before further flight.
    AD 2020-20-06 was prompted by Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2, 
dated October 18, 2017 (Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2), issued by 
Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, to 
correct an unsafe condition for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Model 
429 helicopters equipped with a bellcrank assembly P/N 429-001-523-101, 
429-001-523-103, 429-001-532-101, or 429-001-532-103. Transport Canada 
advised that in-service reports show that bearings in the roof-mounted 
flight control bellcranks are adversely affected by precipitation. 
Pooling can occur at the forward portion of the roof, providing a 
source of contamination for bearings in the roof-mounted flight 
controls. Precipitation may reduce the effectiveness of the grease in 
the bearings, allowing corrosion to occur. This can result in 
intermittent restrictions, such as binding and roughness in the flight 
controls. Transport Canada also advised that an undetected corroded 
bearing could lead to restrictions in the collective, directional, or 
pitch control systems, resulting in difficulty controlling the 
helicopter.
    Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2 required within 12 months after 
the helicopter was manufactured and thereafter at intervals not to 
exceed 6 months, inspecting the flight controls and replacing any 
discrepant bearings. If the helicopter's age exceeded 12 months, 
Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2 required the 12-month inspection 
within 30 days. Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2 also required, within 
30 days, performing a functional check and replacement, if applicable, 
of the bearings if the most recent functional check of the helicopter 
was performed with the alternate procedure of using a hydraulic test 
stand or if the inspection method was unknown.

Actions Since AD 2020-20-06 Was Issued

    Since the FAA issued AD 2020-20-06, Transport Canada issued AD CF-
2016-11R3, dated August 30, 2021 (Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3), 
which supersedes Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R2. Transport Canada 
advises of new collective and cyclic bellcrank assemblies which have 
been upgraded with corrosion resistant steel bearings.
    Accordingly, Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 requires, for certain 
serial-numbered helicopters, within 12 months from the helicopter 
manufacture date, or for helicopters that have exceeded the age 
threshold of 12 months from the helicopter manufacturer date, within 30 
days, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6 months, performing a 
functional check of the flight controls to detect roughness in the 
pivot bearings and binding of the collective, lateral, or longitudinal 
arm end bearings of the bellcrank assemblies. If any roughness or 
binding is detected, Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 requires 
replacement of each affected bellcrank assembly before further flight. 
Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 also requires, within 24 months, 
installing the upgraded collective and cyclic bellcrank assemblies and 
considers this action a terminating action to the recurring 
inspections. Finally, Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 prohibits an 
affected bellcrank assembly from being installed on any helicopter.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to 
the FAA's bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its 
technical representative, has notified the FAA of the unsafe condition 
described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all 
known relevant information and determining that the unsafe condition 
described previously is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters 
of the same type design.

Related Service Information

    The FAA reviewed Bell Technical Bulletin 429-18-58, Revision B, 
dated August 23, 2021 (TB 429-18-58 Rev B), which specifies procedures 
to upgrade certain part-numbered bellcrank assemblies to the bellcrank 
assemblies that utilize the corrosion resistant steel bearings.
    The FAA also reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-
15-21, Revision C, dated August 23, 2021 (ASB 429-15-21 Rev C), which 
specifies moving the cyclic stick fore, aft, and laterally, and the 
collective stick up and down from stop to stop to detect deteriorated 
pivot bearings. ASB 429-15-21 Rev C also specifies inspecting to 
determine whether the bearings in the collective, lateral, and 
longitudinal arm assemblies rotate freely. If discrepant arm bearings 
are found, ASB 429-15-21 Rev C specifies contacting Bell Product 
Support Engineering to report the findings and replacing the discrepant 
parts with serviceable parts.

[[Page 2364]]

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

    This proposed AD would retain some of the requirements of AD 2020-
20-06. This proposed AD would require, for certain serial-numbered 
helicopters, within 12 months after the helicopter was manufactured or 
30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, 
and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6 months, disconnecting 
certain parts, stowing certain parts to prevent binding, and moving the 
cyclic stick and the collective stick to inspect for roughness in the 
flight control system and binding in the collective, lateral, and 
longitudinal arm assemblies. If any of these conditions exist, this 
proposed AD would require, before further flight, removing certain 
parts from service and installing upgraded bellcrank assemblies.
    This proposed AD would also require, for certain serial-numbered 
helicopters that do not have the upgraded bellcrank assemblies 
installed, within 24 months after the effective date of this AD, 
installing the upgraded bellcrank assemblies, which would provide a 
terminating action for the recurring inspections. Finally, this 
proposed AD would prohibit installing any affected bellcrank assembly 
on any helicopter.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and Transport Canada AD CF-2016-
11R3

    Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 provides requirements if the most 
recent functional check was performed using a hydraulic test stand as 
an alternate procedure. This proposed AD provides no such alternate 
procedure. Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 provides requirements for 
helicopters that have exceeded the age threshold of 12 months from the 
helicopter manufacturer date to complete the initial functional check 
within 30 days from the effective date of its AD. This proposed AD 
would require the initial inspection within 12 months after the 
helicopter was manufactured or 30 days after the effective date of this 
proposed AD, whichever occurs later. Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3 
allows credit for the corrective actions of Part I if the initial 
functional check was accomplished prior to the effective date of 
Transport Canada AD CF-2016-11R3, whereas this proposed AD does not.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would 
affect 64 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at 
$85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates the 
following costs to comply with this proposed AD.
    Inspecting the cyclic and the collective bellcrank assemblies for 
roughness in the pivot bearings and binding in the collective, lateral, 
and longitudinal arm end bearings would take about 3 work-hours for an 
estimated cost of $255 per inspection cycle.
    Installing the upgraded collective and cyclic bellcrank assemblies 
would take about 18 work-hours and parts would cost about $1,750 for an 
estimated cost of $3,280 per upgrade installation.
    The FAA has included all known costs in its cost estimate. 
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this 
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost 
impact on affected operators.

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.
    The FAA is 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

    The FAA 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) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
    (3) Would not have a significant economic impact, positive or 
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

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:
0
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2020-20-06, Amendment 39-21262 (85 
FR 60356, September 25, 2020); and
0
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive:

Bell Textron Canada Limited (Type Certificate Previously Held by 
Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited): Docket No. FAA-2021-1178; 
Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00986-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive 
(AD) action by February 28, 2022.

(b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2020-20-06, Amendment 39-21262 (85 FR 60356, 
September 25, 2020) (AD 2020-20-06).

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Bell Textron Canada Limited (type certificate 
previously held by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited) Model 429 
helicopters, certificated in any category, with a bellcrank assembly 
part number (P/N) 429-001-523-101, 429-001-523-103, 429-001-532-101, 
or 429-001-532-103 installed.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2700, Flight 
Control System.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by new bellcrank assemblies, which have 
been upgraded with corrosion resistant steel bearings. The FAA is 
issuing this AD to prevent corrosion of the bearings due to pooling 
at the bellcrank assembly from precipitation in the forward portion 
of the roof structure. The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could 
result in restrictions in the collective, directional, or pitch 
control systems, and subsequent loss of helicopter control.

(f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, 
unless already done.

[[Page 2365]]

(g) Required Actions

    (1) For Model 429 helicopters serial number (S/N) 57001 through 
57296 inclusive, within 12 months after the helicopter was 
manufactured or 30 days after the effective date of this AD, 
whichever occurs later, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6 
months:
    (i) Disconnect the forward ends of the collective control tube, 
longitudinal stability and control augmentation system (SCAS) 
actuator, and lateral SCAS actuator. Stow the collective control 
tube and each SCAS actuator to prevent binding.
    (ii) Move the cyclic stick fore, aft, and laterally, and the 
collective stick up and down from stop to stop to determine if there 
is any roughness. If there is any roughness in the flight control 
system, before further flight, remove each pivot bearing P/N 
MS27646-41, each arm assembly bearing P/N MS27643-4, and each sleeve 
P/N 120-13-4A from service and install bellcrank assemblies P/N 429-
001-523-101FM and 429-001-532-101FM; or 429-001-523-107FM and 429-
001-532-107FM; or 429-001-523-107 and 429-001-532-107.
    (iii) Inspect the collective arm assembly P/N 429-001-525-101, 
the lateral arm assembly P/N 429-001-527-101, and the longitudinal 
arm assembly P/N 429-001-530-101, by rotating each bearing and 
determining whether each bearing rotates freely. If there is any 
binding in any arm end bearing or on the longitudinal bellcrank 
assembly, before further flight, remove each pivot bearing P/N 
MS27646-41, each arm assembly bearing P/N MS27643-4, and each sleeve 
P/N 120-13-4A from service and install bellcrank assemblies P/N 429-
001-523-101FM and 429-001-532-101FM; or 429-001-523-107FM and 429-
001-532-107FM; or 429-001-523-107 and 429-001-532-107.
    (2) For Model 429 helicopters S/N 57001 through 57296 inclusive, 
unless already accomplished by following paragraphs (g)(1)(ii) or 
(iii) of this AD, within 24 months after the effective date of this 
AD, install bellcrank assemblies P/N 429-001-523-101FM and 429-001-
532-101FM; or 429-001-523-107FM and 429-001-532-107FM; or 429-001-
523-107 and 429-001-532-107.
    (3) As of the effective date of this AD, installing bellcrank 
assemblies P/N 429-001-523-101FM and 429-001-532-101FM; or 429-001-
523-107FM and 429-001-532-107FM; or 429-001-523-107 and 429-001-532-
107, constitutes a terminating action for the recurring inspections 
required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.
    (4) As of the effective date of this AD, do not install any 
bellcrank assembly P/N 429-001-523-101, 429-001-523-103, 429-001-
532-101 or 429-001-532-103 on any helicopter.

(h) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits are prohibited.

(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, has the 
authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the 
procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, 
send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight 
Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information 
directly to the manager of the International Validation Branch, send 
it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(1) of 
this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected].
    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate 
principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager 
of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding 
district office.

(j) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Andrea Jimenez, 
Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section, Operational 
Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 
Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-
7330; email [email protected].
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell 
Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J 
1R4, Canada; telephone 1-450-437-2862 or 1-800-363-8023; fax 1-450-
433-0272; email [email protected]; or at https://www.bellflight.com/support/contact-support. You may view this 
referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort 
Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability of this 
material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.
    (3) The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada AD 
CF-2016-11R3, dated August 30, 2021. You may view the Transport 
Canada AD on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov in Docket 
No. FAA-2021-1178.

    Issued on January 4, 2022.
Ross Landes,
Deputy Director for Regulatory Operations, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-00164 Filed 1-13-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P