[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 14 (Friday, January 21, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3244-3246]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00886]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2022-0006; Project Identifier AD-2021-01298-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Bell Textron Inc. 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 certain Bell Textron Inc. Model 205A, 205A-1, 205B, 210, 212, 412, 
412CF, and 412EP helicopters with a certain part-numbered tailboom left 
hand fin spar cap (spar cap) installed. This proposed AD was prompted 
by reports of cracked spar caps. This proposed AD would require 
inspecting each spar cap and depending on the inspection results, 
removing the spar cap from service. 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 March 7, 
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, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101; 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-2022-0006 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, any comments 
received, and other information. The street address for Docket 
Operations is listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ameet Shrotriya, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, DSCO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524; phone: (817) 222-5525; 
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-2022-0006; Project Identifier 
AD-2021-01298-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

[[Page 3245]]

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 Ameet 
Shrotriya, Aviation Safety Engineer, DSCO Branch, Compliance & 
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 
76177-1524; phone: (817) 222-5525; 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 is proposing to adopt a new AD for certain serial-numbered 
Bell Textron Inc. Model 205A, 205A-1, 205B, 210, 212, 412, 412CF, and 
412EP helicopters with a spar cap part number (P/N) 212-030-447-117 
installed. This proposed AD was prompted by multiple reports of fatigue 
cracking in the spar caps. Metallurgical lab reports identified that 
the cracks originate at the rivet holes, possibly from mechanical 
damage caused during deburring. This condition, if not addressed, could 
result in reduced structural integrity of the helicopter and subsequent 
loss of control of the helicopter.

FAA's Determination

    The FAA is issuing this NPRM after determining that the unsafe 
condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on other 
products of the same type design.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    The FAA reviewed the following Bell Alert Service Bulletins, each 
dated April 15, 2020 (ASB):
     ASB 205-20-116 for Model 205A and 205A-1 helicopters, 
serial numbers (S/N) 30001 through 30065, 30067 through 30165, 30167 
through 30187, 30189 through 30296, and 30298 through 30332;
     ASB 205B-20-69 for Model 205B helicopters, S/N 30066, 
30166, 30188, and 30297;
     ASB 210-20-13 for all serial-numbered Model 210 
helicopters;
     ASB 212-20-162 for Model 212 helicopters, S/N 30502 
through 30603, 30611 through 30999, 31101 through 31311, 32101 through 
32142, and 35001 through 35103;
     ASB 412-20-180 for Model 412 and 412EP helicopters, S/N 
33001 through 33213, 34001 through 34036, 36001 through 36999, 37002 
through 37999, 38001 through 38999, and 39101 through 39999; and
     ASB 412CF-20-67 for Model 412CF helicopters, S/N 46400 
through 46499.
    Bell received a report of a fractured fin spar cap that occurred at 
vertical fin station (F.S.) 71 through the first rivet hole attaching 
the skin to the spar cap. Bell states that if undetected, the fin spar 
cap cracking may lead to additional structural damage. Each ASB 
specifies procedures for inspecting both flanges of the spar cap 
between F.S. 50 and F.S. 71 for cracks, loose rivets, and other damage 
using a 10x magnifying glass and flashlight and inspecting the exterior 
of the fin skin where it contacts the spar cap for cracks, loose 
rivets, and/or distortion. If no cracks or other damage are found, each 
ASB specifies returning the helicopter to service; if a crack or other 
damage is found, each ASB specifies contacting Bell's Product Support 
Engineering before further flight. Additionally, each ASB specifies 
that these inspections are to be accomplished within the next 100 
flight hours or 90 days after the ASB's release, whichever occurs 
first, and every 100 flight hours thereafter.
    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 ADDRESSES.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

    This proposed AD would require, within 100 hours time-in-service 
(TIS) after the effective date of the AD, and thereafter at intervals 
not to exceed 100 hours TIS, using a 10x or higher power magnifying 
glass and flashlight, inspecting both flanges of the spar cap for any 
crack, loose rivet, and other damage (such as a scratch, dent, 
spalling, or corrosion). This proposed AD would also require inspecting 
the exterior of the fin skin in the area where it contacts the spar cap 
for any crack, loose rivet, and distortion. If there is any crack, 
loose rivet, or other damage in either flange, or if there is any 
crack, loose rivet, or distortion in the fin skin area, removing the 
spar cap from service would be required before further flight.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

    The ASBs specify contacting Bell if there is a crack or other 
damage, where as this proposed AD would not. The ASBs also specify the 
compliance time for the initial inspection is within 100 flight hours 
or 90 days after April 15, 2020, whichever occurs first; whereas the 
initial inspection in this proposed AD would be required within 100 
hours TIS after the effective date of this AD.

Interim Action

    The FAA considers that this proposed AD would be an interim action. 
The design approval holder may develop a modification that will address 
the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is 
developed, approved, and available, the FAA might consider additional 
rulemaking.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would 
affect 226 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the 
following costs to comply with this proposed AD, using an average labor 
rate of $85 per work-hour.
    Each inspection would take about 1 work-hour, and there would be no 
parts costs, for an estimated cost of $85 per inspection and $19,210 
for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle. Replacing a spar cap, if 
required, would take about 50 work-hours and parts costs would be about 
$2,000, for an estimated cost of $6,250 per spar cap replacement.

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

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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:

Bell Textron Inc.: Docket No. FAA-2022-0006; Project Identifier AD-
2021-01298-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive 
(AD) by March 7, 2022.

(b) Affected ADs

    None.

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the following Bell Textron Inc. helicopters 
certificated in any category, with a tailboom left hand fin spar cap 
(spar cap) part number 212-030-447-117 installed.
    (1) Model 205A and 205A-1 helicopters, serial number (S/N) 30001 
through 30065 inclusive, 30067 through 30165 inclusive, 30167 
through 30187 inclusive, 30189 through 30296 inclusive, and 30298 
through 30332 inclusive;
    (2) Model 205B helicopters, S/N 30066, 30166, 30188, and 30297;
    (3) Model 210 helicopters, all S/Ns;
    (4) Model 212 helicopters, S/N 30502 through 30603 inclusive, 
30611 through 30999 inclusive, 31101 through 31311 inclusive, 32101 
through 32142 inclusive, and 35001 through 35103 inclusive;
    (5) Model 412 and 412EP helicopters, S/N 33001 through 33213 
inclusive, 34001 through 34036 inclusive, 36001 through 36999 
inclusive, 37002 through 37999 inclusive, 38001 through 38999 
inclusive, and 39101 through 39999 inclusive; and
    (6) Model 412CF helicopters, S/N 46400 through 46499 inclusive.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5302, Rotorcraft 
Tail Boom.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by the discovery of fatigue cracking in the 
spar cap. A crack in the spar cap, if not detected and corrected, 
could create stress concentrations at the edge of the rivet holes, 
resulting in reduced structural integrity of the helicopter and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. The FAA is issuing 
this AD to detect and prevent this unsafe condition.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Required Actions

    Within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective date 
of this AD, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS:
    (1) Using a 10x or higher power magnifying glass and a 
flashlight, inspect both flanges of the spar cap between fin station 
(F.S.) 50 and F.S. 71 for any crack, loose rivet, and other damage 
such as a scratch, dent, spalling, or corrosion, as depicted in 
Figure 1 of Bell Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) 205-20-116, ASB 205B-
20-69, ASB 210-20-13, ASB 212-20-162, ASB 412-20-180, or ASB 412CF-
20-67, each dated April 15, 2020, as applicable to your helicopter. 
If either spar cap flange is cracked, has a loose rivet, or has 
other damage, remove the spar cap from service before further 
flight.
    (2) Inspect the exterior of the fin skin in the area that 
contacts the spar cap for any crack, loose rivets, and distortion. 
If there is any crack, loose rivet, or distortion in the fin skin in 
the area that contacts the spar cap, remove the spar cap from 
service before further flight.

(h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, DSCO 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 
certification office, send it to the attention of the person 
identified in Related Information.
    (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.

(i) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Ameet Shrotriya, 
Aviation Safety Engineer, DSCO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524; 
phone: (817) 222-5525; email: [email protected].
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell 
Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101; 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.

    Issued on January 11, 2022.
Gaetano A. Sciortino,
Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-00886 Filed 1-20-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P