Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Robinson
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.
We propose to adopt a new AD for Robinson Model R44 and Model R44 II helicopters equipped with emergency floats. The AD proposes replacing the inflation valve assembly. The needle that releases helium from a cylinder was binding within the float inflation valve assembly. These helicopters often transport people and goods over water. Consequently, this unsafe condition presents risks to a crew and its passengers should the helicopter need to land in water during an emergency.
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.
We have reviewed Robinson R44 Service Bulletin SB-80, dated September 7, 2011 (SB), which describes procedures for upgrading certain valve assemblies within the next 250 flight hours or by June 30, 2012, whichever occurs first. The SB reports that during a factory test of pop-out emergency floats the floats failed to inflate because of a stuck cylinder valve.
This AD would require, within 1 year or 500 hours time-in-service (TIS), whichever occurs first, replacing the inflation valve assembly.
This proposed AD would require replacing the inflation valve assembly within 1 year or 500 hours TIS, whichever occurs first. The SB specifies replacing the assembly within 250 flight hours or by June 30, 2012, whichever occurs first. We used the Monitor Safety/Analyze Data (MSAD) process and were able to predict when the next occurrence would likely occur if no repairs were completed.
We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 165 helicopters of U.S. Registry and that the labor cost would average $85 per work-hour. Based on these assumptions, we estimate that replacing the inflation valve assembly would take 2.5 work-hours for a labor cost of about $213. Parts would cost $850 to $955 for a total cost per helicopter of $1,063 to $1,168.
According to Robinson's service information, some or all 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. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.
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.
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.
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.
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):
This AD applies to Robinson Helicopter Company (Robinson) Model R44 and R44 II helicopters with emergency floats equipped with an inflation valve assembly, part number (P/N) D757-1, not engraved with “D758-4” or modified with modification B900-8, and containing a housing assembly, P/N D758-1, Revision C or prior, certificated in any category.
This AD defines the unsafe condition as binding of the needle within the float inflation valve assembly, which has resulted in the emergency floats failing to inflate.
Comments are due December 17, 2012.
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.
Within 1 year or 500 hours time-in-service (TIS), whichever occurs first, replace the inflation valve assembly with an airworthy inflation valve assembly, P/N D757-1R.
(1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Venessa Stiger, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety/Mechanical & Environmental Systems, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5337; email
(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.
Robinson R44 Service Bulletin SB-80, dated September 7, 2011, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Robinson Helicopter Company, 2901 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505; telephone (310) 539-0508; fax (310) 539-5198; or at
Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3212, Emergency Flotation Section.