DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0092; Product Identifier 2019-SW-022-AD; Amendment
39-19585; AD 2019-05-03]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo 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
Leonardo S.p.A. Model AB139, AW139, AW169, and AW189 helicopters. This
AD requires removing certain part-numbered and serial-numbered tail
rotor (T/R) duplex bearings from service. This AD is prompted by a
report of a failed T/R duplex bearing roughness inspection. The actions
of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD becomes effective March 28, 2019.
We must receive comments on this AD by May 13, 2019.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
online 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-2019-
0092; 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, 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
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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Hatfield, 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 comments.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2019-0022, dated February 1,
2019, and corrected February 4, 2019, to correct an unsafe condition
for Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A., AgustaWestland
S.p.A., Agusta S.p.A.) Model AB139, AW139, AW169, and AW189
helicopters. EASA advises of a report of a failed T/R duplex bearing
roughness inspection. Investigation revealed that one of the bearing
balls installed in the T/R duplex bearing did not conform to design and
that a batch of T/R duplex bearings has been identified that may be
affected by the same nonconformity. Information issued by Leonardo
Helicopters advises that the defective T/R duplex bearings may
prematurely degrade and result in excessive drive torque and loss of
tail rotor control under certain circumstances.
EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could result in
loss of control of the helicopter. Accordingly, the EASA AD requires
removing from service certain serial-numbered T/R duplex bearings with
part number (P/N) 3G6430V00153 installed on Model AB139 and AW139
helicopters and certain serial-numbered T/R duplex bearings with P/N
4F6430V00551 installed on Model AW169 and AW189 helicopters. The EASA
AD also requires returning any affected T/R duplex bearings to Leonardo
Helicopters and prohibits installing the affected T/R duplex bearings
on any helicopter. Depending on your model helicopter, the EASA AD also
requires immediately providing to Leonardo Helicopters photos of the
removed affected T/R duplex bearings and any grease leaked from the T/R
These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for
operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement
with the European Union, EASA 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
We reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Service Bulletin (SB) Alert No.
139-571, Leonardo Helicopters SB Alert No. 169-134, and Leonardo
Helicopters SB Alert No. 189-221, each dated February 1, 2019. This
service information contains procedures to replace T/R duplex bearing
P/N 3G6430V00153 and P/N 4F6430V00551 with certain serial numbers and
instructions to return all affected T/R duplex bearings to Leonardo
Helicopters. Depending on your model helicopter, the service
information also specifies emailing photos of removed affected T/R
duplex bearings to Leonardo Helicopters and returning leaked T/R duplex
bearing grease to Leonardo Helicopters.
This AD requires removing certain serial-numbered T/R duplex
bearing P/N 3G6430V00153 installed on Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters
and certain serial-numbered T/R duplex bearing P/N 4F6430V00551
installed on Model AW169 and AW189 helicopters from service. This AD
also prohibits the installation of the affected T/R duplex bearings.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires returning any affected T/R duplex bearing to
Leonardo Helicopters. Depending on your model helicopter, the EASA AD
also requires emailing photos of removed affected T/R duplex bearings
to Leonardo Helicopters and returning leaked T/R duplex bearing grease
to Leonardo Helicopters. This AD does not require any of those actions.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 130 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.
Replacing an affected T/R duplex bearing takes about 2 work-hours
and parts cost about $1,500. Based on these numbers, we estimate a
total cost of $1,670 per helicopter and $217,100 for the U.S. fleet,
assuming every helicopter in the fleet has an affected bearing
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 Helicopters. 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 it requires removal of affected T/R duplex bearings within 30
hours time-in-service and further prohibits installation of those T/R
duplex bearings. 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, 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