[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 10 (Friday, January 14, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2368-2370]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00358]



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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-1180; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00794-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) 
for all Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model MBB-BK 117 D-3 
helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of a main rotor 
(M/R) blade lead-lag damper in a tilted position. This proposed AD 
would require inspecting the Flex Control Unit (FCU), and corrective 
actions if necessary, as well as rework and re-identification of the 
bearing pin, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency 
(EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). 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 EASA material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the 
EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +49 221 
8999 000; email: [email protected]; internet: www.easa.europa.eu. You 
may find the EASA material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this material 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. This material is also 
available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating 
Docket No. FAA-2021-1180.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1180; 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 EASA 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-2021-1180; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2021-00794-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. 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 that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in 
the public docket for this rulemaking.

Background

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the 
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0160, dated July 5, 2021 (EASA 
AD 2021-0160), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters 
Deutschland GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH, Model 
MBB-BK117 D-3 helicopters, all serial numbers, including Model MBB-
BK117 D-2 helicopters that have been converted into Model MBB-BK117 D-3 
helicopters through Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin MBB-BK117 D-2-
00-003.
    This proposed AD was prompted by reports of an M/R blade lead-lag 
damper in a tilted position. EASA advises that subsequent investigation 
results determined that the tolerances stack-up may lead to an 
insufficient clamping on the bearing pin. The FAA is proposing this AD 
to address this unsafe condition, which if not detected and corrected, 
could result in an unbalance of the M/R system, excessive vibration, 
and reduced control of the helicopter. See EASA AD 2021-0160 for 
additional background information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    EASA AD 2021-0160 requires a one-time inspection of the affected 
FCU and depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective 
actions. EASA AD 2021-0160 also requires after the initial FCU 
inspection, re-working and re-identifying each affected part by marking 
the part with a letter ``M.'' EASA AD 2021-0160 prohibits installing an 
affected FCU or affected part on any helicopter.
    This material is reasonably available because the interested 
parties have access to it through their normal course

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of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Other Related Service Information

    The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB MBB-
BK117 D-3-62A-002, dated June 29, 2021, which specifies procedures for 
a one-time inspection of the FCU and re-work of the bearing pin 
installed on the support assembly.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for 
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral 
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about 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.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified 
in EASA AD 2021-0160, described previously, as incorporated by 
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the 
regulatory text of this proposed AD.

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

    In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD 
process, the FAA developed a process to use some civil aviation 
authority (CAA) ADs as the primary source of information for compliance 
with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has been 
coordinating this process with manufacturers and CAAs. As a result, the 
FAA proposes to incorporate EASA AD 2021-0160 by reference in the FAA 
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with 
EASA AD 2021-0160 in its entirety through that incorporation, except 
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of 
this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading 
of a particular section in EASA AD 2021-0160 does not mean that 
operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD 
requirement refers to ``all required actions and compliance times,'' 
compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section 
titled ``Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)'' in EASA AD 2021-
0160. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0160 for 
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1180 after the FAA final 
rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would 
affect 41 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 each FCU, including inspecting each rotor hub-shaft, 
hexagonal screw, nut, damper assembly, bearing pin, support assembly, 
spherical bearing, and integrated bearing sleeve, would take about 3 
work-hours for an estimated cost of $255 per FCU inspection and $10,455 
for the U.S. fleet per FCU inspection.
    Reworking and re-identifying the bearing pin would take about 0.5 
work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $1,763 for 
the U.S. fleet per bearing pin.
    The FAA has received no definitive data on which to base the cost 
estimates for the on-condition repairs specified in this proposed AD.

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 above, 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 adding the following new airworthiness 
directive:

Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH: Docket No. FAA-2021-1180; 
Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00794-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

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

(b) Affected ADs

    None.

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model 
MBB-BK 117 D-3 helicopters, certificated in any category.
    Note 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD: Model MBB-BK117 D-2 
helicopters that have been converted into Model MBB-BK117 D-3 
helicopters are Model MBB-BK 117 D-3 helicopters and this AD is also 
applicable to those helicopters.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6200, Main Rotor 
System.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of a main rotor (M/R) blade 
lead-lag damper in a tilted position. The FAA is issuing this AD to 
prevent an unbalance of the M/R system. The unsafe condition, if not 
addressed, could result in excessive vibration and reduced control 
of the helicopter.

(f) Compliance

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

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(g) Requirements

    Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all 
required actions and compliance times specified in, and in 
accordance with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 
2021-0160, dated July 5, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0160).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2021-0160

    (1) Where EASA AD 2021-0160 requires compliance in terms of 
flight hours, this AD requires using hours time-in-service.
    (2) Where EASA AD 2021-0160 refers to its effective date, this 
AD requires using the effective date of this AD.
    (3) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-
0160 specifies to contact Airbus Helicopters or replace the Flex 
Control Unit (FCU) if you find cracks or damage at the protruding 
conical end of the integrated bearing sleeve, this AD requires 
removing the FCU from service and replacing with an airworthy part, 
or repairing the FCU in accordance with a method approved by the 
Manager, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International 
Validation Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus Helicopters' EASA Design 
Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval 
must include the DOA-authorized signature.
    (4) Where a work card in the service information referenced in 
EASA AD 2021-0160 specifies performing the corrective action and 
contacting Airbus Helicopters when discrepancies are found, this AD 
requires performing the corrective actions as specified in the work 
card but does not require contacting Airbus Helicopters.
    (5) Where a work card in the service information referenced in 
EASA AD 2021-0160 specifies to do a dye penetrant inspection for the 
inspection of Zone B of the rotor hub-shaft ``if you are not sure 
there are cracks,'' this AD requires performing a dye penetrant 
inspection.
    (6) Where paragraph (5) of EASA AD 2021-0160 specifies ``it is 
allowed to install a hexagonal screw P/N D622M0500207 on any 
helicopter, provided that installation is accomplished in accordance 
with the instructions of section 3.D of the ASB, or in accordance 
with the instructions of an AMM revision which includes the 
technical content of section 3.D of the ASB,'' for this AD replace 
the text ``in accordance with the instructions of section 3.D of the 
ASB, or in accordance with the instructions of an AMM revision which 
includes the technical content of section 3.D of the ASB'' with ``in 
accordance with the instructions of section 3.D of the ASB, or in 
accordance with the instructions of an AMM revision which includes 
the identical content of section 3.D of the ASB.
    (7) This AD does not mandate compliance with the ``Remarks'' 
section of EASA AD 2021-0160.

(i) No Reporting Requirement

    Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0160 
specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD 
does not include that requirement.

(j) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 14 CFR 
21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location where the 
helicopter can be modified, provided no passengers are onboard.

(k) 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 (l)(2) 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.

(l) Related Information

    (1) For EASA AD 2021-0160, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-
Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email 
[email protected]; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may view this 
material 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. This material may be found in the AD docket at 
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. 
FAA-2021-1180.
    (2) 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 a[email protected].

    Issued on January 6, 2022.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-00358 Filed 1-13-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P