Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Models 206L, L-1, L-3, L-4, and 407 Helicopters

Summary:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the specified Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) helicopters. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The Aviation Authority of Canada with whom we have a bilateral agreement states in the MCAI:

Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the horizontal stabilizer.

The manufacturer's service information states that in addition to cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or debonding around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address all these unsafe conditions.

Table of Contents

Dates:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 7, 2008.

Addresses:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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, or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

For further information contact:

Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-5961.

Supplementary information:

Streamlined Issuance of AD

The FAA is implementing a new process for streamlining the issuance of ADs related to MCAI. This streamlined process will allow us to adopt MCAI safety requirements in a more efficient manner and will reduce safety risks to the public. This process continues to follow all FAA AD issuance processes to meet legal, economic, Administrative Procedure Act, and Federal Register requirements. We also continue to meet our technical decision-making responsibilities to identify and correct unsafe conditions on U.S.-certificated products.

This proposed AD references the MCAI and related service information that we considered in forming the engineering basis to correct the unsafe condition. The proposed AD contains text copied from the MCAI and for this reason might not follow our plain language principles.

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2008-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-22-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has issued an MCAI in the form of Canadian Airworthiness Directive No. CF-2007-03, dated March 27, 2007 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for these Canadian-certificated products. The MCAI states:

Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the horizontal stabilizer.

The manufacturer's service information states that in addition to cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or debonding around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address all these unsafe conditions.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI and service information in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Transport Canada has issued Alert Service Bulletins 206L-06-141 and 407-06-72, both dated September 12, 2006. The actions described in the MCAI are intended to correct the same unsafe condition as that identified in the service information.

FAA's Determination and Proposed Requirements

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of Canada and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI

We have reviewed the MCAI and related service information and, in general, agree with their substance. However, we have changed the alternate compliance time from May 9, 2007, to within 30 days, and we have not mandated replacing the horizontal stabilizer by a certain date. In making this change, we do not intend to differ substantively from the information provided in the MCAI.

Differences are highlighted in the “Differences Between the FAA AD and the MCAI” section in the proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 59 horizontal stabilizers (27-206L and 32-407 models) on about 1156 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about:

• 2.5 work hours to determine if the affected part is installed on the helicopter,

• 4 work hours to perform the initial and 600-hour recurring inspection, and

• 8 work hours to remove and replace an affected part.

• The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour.

• Required parts would cost about $20,173 for the Model 206L series and $25,669 for the Model 407 helicopters.

Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators would be $1,663,519, assuming operators of the entire fleet would need to determine whether they have an affected part installed; the 59 helicopters with the affected parts would undergo the initial inspection; 30 helicopters with the affected part would undergo one recurring 600-hour inspection; and all 59 affected parts would be replaced.

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 above, 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); and

3. 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, 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

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

§ 39.13

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Docket No. FAA-2008-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-22-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by April 7, 2008.

Other Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Models 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-4 with horizontal stabilizer, part number (P/N) 206-023-119-167, and Model 407 with horizontal stabilizer, P/N 407-023-801-109, installed, certificated in any category.

Reason

(d) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states:

Horizontal stabilizers part numbers 206-023-119-167 and 407-023-801-109 may have manufacturing flaws on the inside surface of the upper and/or lower skin at the tailboom attachment inserts. These flaws may result in cracking of the skin and failure of the horizontal stabilizer.

The manufacturer's service information states that in addition to cracks, the horizontal stabilizer may have deformation or debonding around and between the inserts. The proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address all these unsafe conditions.

Actions and Compliance

(e) Within the next 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 30 days, whichever occurs first, unless done previously.

(1) Determine whether you have an affected serial numbered horizontal stabilizer installed by removing the elevators from the horizontal stabilizer. Access the horizontal stabilizer identification tag containing the horizontal stabilizer serial number as shown in Figure 1 and remove the elevators by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, of Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 206L-06-141, dated September 12, 2006, applicable to the Model 206L series helicopter (206L ASB) or BHTC ASB No. 407-06-72, dated September 12, 2006, applicable to the Model 407 helicopters (407 ASB).

(2) If the serial number on the identification tag is a serial number listed in Table 1 of the 206L ASB or 407 ASB, inspect the horizontal stabilizer as follows:

(i) Using a 10x or higher magnifying glass, inspect the horizontal stabilizer for a crack or deformation around the areas of the inserts. Also, using a tap test method, inspect for debonding between the inserts by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part II, of either the 206L ASB or 407 ASB, as applicable.

(ii) If you find a crack, deformation, or debonding, replace the horizontal stabilizer with an airworthy horizontal stabilizer that does not have a serial number listed in Table 1 of the 206L ASB or 407 ASB. Replace the horizontal stabilizer by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part III, of either the 206L ASB or the 407 ASB, as applicable.

(iii) If you do not find a crack, deformation, or debonding, thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 600 hours TIS or during each annual inspection, whichever occurs first, repeat the inspection required by paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this AD.

(f) Replacing any horizontal stabilizer containing a serial number listed in Table 1 of 206L ASB or 407 ASB with a horizontal stabilizer that does not contain such a serial number by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part III, of either the 206L ASB or 407 ASB, as applicable, constitutes terminating actions for the requirements of this AD.

Differences Between the FAA AD and the MCAI

(g) The MCAI requires compliance “within the next 100 hours air time but no later than 9 May 2007.” This AD requires compliance within the next 100 hours TIS or 30 days, whichever occurs first, unless done previously. Also, the MCAI requires replacing the horizontal stabilizer by September 30, 2008, and we have not mandated a compliance time for replacing the horizontal stabilizer.

Subject

(h) Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code: 5510 Horizontal Stabilizer Structure.

Other Information

(i) The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1)Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-5961.

(2)Airworthy Product: Use only FAA-approved corrective actions. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent) if the State of Design has an appropriate bilateral agreement with the United States. You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

(3)Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in this AD, under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the information collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

Related Information

(j) MCAI Transport Canada Airworthiness Directive No. CF-2007-03, dated March 27, 2007, contain related information.

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 28, 2008. Mark R. Schilling,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

References

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