DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0170; Product Identifier 2017-SW-091-AD; Amendment
39-19239; AD 2018-07-08]
Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
S.p.A. (Agusta) Model A109E, A109K2, A109S, AW109SP, A119, and AW119
MKII helicopters. This AD reduces the life limit of and requires
inspecting a tail rotor blade retention bolt (bolt). This AD is
prompted by the discovery of a cracked bolt. The actions of this AD are
intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective April 26, 2018.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of April 26, 2018.
We must receive comments on this AD by June 11, 2018.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
instructions for sending your comments electronically.
Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to the ``Mail'' address 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
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-
0170; 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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any
incorporated-by-reference service information, the economic evaluation,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.
Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.
For service information identified in this final rule, contact
Leonardo S.p.A. Helicopters, Matteo Ragazzi, Head of Airworthiness,
Viale G.Agusta 520, 21017 C.Costa di Samarate (Va) Italy; telephone
+39-0331-711756; fax +39-0331-229046; or at http://www.leonardocompany
.com/-/bulletins. You may review the referenced
service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel,
Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX
76177. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0170.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110;
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to
provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, 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 resulted
from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific
portion of the AD, 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 them 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
rulemaking during the comment period. We will consider all the comments
we receive and may conduct additional rulemaking based on those
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued Emergency AD No. 2016-0173-E, dated August
24, 2016, to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly
Agusta) Model A109E, A109K2, A109LUH, A109S, A119, AW109SP, and
AW119MKII helicopters. EASA advises of a crack found in a bolt, part
number (P/N) 709-0160-57-101, during a pre-flight inspection of a Model
A109E helicopter. This part-numbered bolt is also installed on Model
A109K2, A109LUH, A109S, A119, AW109SP, and AW119MKII helicopters.
Subsequent investigation did not identify the cause of the crack. EASA
advises that this condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead
to failure of the tail rotor, possibly resulting in loss of control of
the helicopter. As a precautionary measure pending the completion of
the investigation and to address the unsafe condition, the EASA AD
requires reducing the life limit of and repetitively inspecting the
bolts. The EASA AD is considered an interim action and further AD
action may follow.
Accordingly, this AD requires reducing the life limit of bolt P/N
709-0160-57-101 to 800 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 3,200 landings,
depending on the model helicopter on which the bolt is installed. This
AD also requires, within 25 hours TIS, inspecting each bolt for a crack
using a 10X or higher power magnifying glass, both before and after
cleaning and degreasing the bolts. Additional inspections of the bolts
at longer intervals may also be necessary. We plan to publish a notice
of proposed rulemaking to give the public an opportunity to comment on
those long-term requirements.
The FAA is in the process of updating Agusta's name change to
Leonardo Helicopters on its FAA type certificate. Because this name
change is not yet effective, this AD specifies Agusta.
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
Italy and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to
our bilateral agreement with Italy, EASA, its technical representative,
has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the EASA AD. We
are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by
EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist
or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Leonardo Helicopters has issued Mandatory Bollettino Tecnico (BT)
No. 109EP-149 for Model A109E helicopters, Mandatory BT No. 109K-72 for
Model A109K2 helicopters, Mandatory BT No. 109S-072 for Model A109S
helicopters, Mandatory BT No. 109SP-105 for Model AW109SP helicopters,
and Mandatory BT No. 119-080 for Model A119 and AW119 MKII helicopters,
all dated August 19, 2016. This service information specifies reducing
the life limit of bolt P/N 709-0160-57-101 and repetitively inspecting
the bolts for cracks.
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 the ADDRESSES section.
This AD requires, before further flight, removing from service any
bolt P/N 709-0160-57-101 that has reached or exceeded its new life
limit. Thereafter, this AD requires removing from service any bolt P/N
709-0160-57-101 before it reaches its new life limit.
This AD also requires, within 25 hours time-in-service, inspecting
each bolt for a crack using a 10X or higher power magnifying glass,
both before and after cleaning and degreasing the bolts, and replacing
a cracked bolt before further flight.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to Model A109LUH helicopters. This AD does not
because the Model A109LUH does not have an FAA type certificate. The
EASA AD does not specify life limits for bolt P/N 709-0160-57-101 that
has been interchanged between model helicopter installations, while
this AD does. The EASA AD requires repeating the visual inspection
every 200 hours, while this AD does not, as this time interval would
allow for sufficient time for notice and comment.
We consider this AD to be an interim action. The design approval
holder is currently developing a modification that will address the
unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is
developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 234 helicopters of U.S. Registry.
We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to
comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Removing a bolt that has reached its new life limit will take about
2 work-hours for a cost of $170 per bolt. Inspecting the bolts will
take about 4 work-hours for an estimated cost of $340 per helicopter
and $79,560 for the U.S. fleet. Replacing a bolt will take negligible
additional labor time and parts will cost about $500.
According to Leonardo Helicopter's service information, some of the
costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the
cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty
coverage by Leonardo Helicopter. Accordingly, we have included all
costs in our cost estimate.
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because some of the required corrective actions must be completed
before further flight. Therefore, we find good cause that notice and
opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable.
In addition, for the reasons stated above, we find that good cause
exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.
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
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
We determined that this AD will not have federalism implications
under Executive Order 13132. This AD will 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 that this AD:
1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order
2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under 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 AD and placed it in the AD docket.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
Adoption of the Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA amends 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.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness