DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0150; Product Identifier 2019-SW-063-AD; Amendment
39-21028; AD 2020-03-13]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.A. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Leonardo S.p.A. Model AW189 helicopters. This AD requires inspecting
the hydraulic fluid level on each tail rotor (T/R) damper and depending
on the inspection results, removing the T/R damper from service and
reporting information or repetitively inspecting the T/R damper. This
AD is prompted by reports of major leakage of hydraulic fluid in T/R
dampers. This condition could result in degradation of T/R damper
performance; multiple leaking T/R dampers could result in T/R damage
and subsequent loss control of the helicopter. The actions of this AD
are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective March 12, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of March 12, 2020.
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by April 27, 2020.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
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 https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-
0150; 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 service
information that is incorporated by reference, the economic evaluation,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations is listed above. 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, Emanuele Bufano, Head of Airworthiness,
Viale G.Agusta 520, 21017 C.Costa di Samarate (Va) Italy; telephone
+39-0331-225074; fax +39-0331-229046; or at https://www.leonardocompany.
com/en/home. 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 https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0150.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Bradley, Aerospace Engineer,
Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety, and the FAA did not provide you with notice and an opportunity
to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, the
FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written
comments, data, or views. The FAA also invites 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. The FAA will file in the docket all comments
received, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public
contact with FAA personnel concerning this rulemaking during the
comment period. The FAA will consider all the comments received 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. 2019-0160, dated July 5, 2019,
to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.A. Model AW189
helicopters, with T/R damper part number (P/N) 4F640V00254 with a
serial number (S/N) up to LK1229 inclusive. The EASA AD excludes any T/
R damper that is marked with ``R'' on its S/N and any T/R damper that
has accumulated 150 flight hours or more since installation on a
helicopter and that has been continuously installed for 12 months or
more. EASA advises that occurrences were reported of leakage of the T/R
damper hydraulic fluid. EASA advises that the T/R damper hydraulic
fluid leakage occurred on newly installed T/R dampers and those that
had accumulated less than 150 flight hours. Therefore, the EASA AD
requires repetitive visual inspections of the hydraulic fluid level of
each T/R damper at intervals not to exceed 10 flight hours until the T/R
damper accumulates 150 flight hours since first installation and 10
months after the effective date of the EASA AD. The EASA AD also
provides a terminating action and requires a ground run following
installation of an affected T/R damper. Additionally, depending on the
inspection results, the EASA AD requires replacement of the affected
part with a serviceable part, returning T/R dampers for re-work and re-
identification, and emailing information and pictures to Leonardo
These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all known relevant information and determining that an unsafe
is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Leonardo Helicopters has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin
(ASB) No. 189-226, dated July 5, 2019. The ASB specifies visually
checking for excess hydraulic fluid in each T/R damper and defines the
replacement and reporting criteria. The ASB also specifies performing
ground run and subsequent visual check immediately after installing any
affected T/R damper on a helicopter.
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, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) inspecting
the hydraulic fluid level of each affected T/R damper and repeating the
inspection at intervals not to exceed 10 hours TIS until the T/R damper
accumulates 150 total hours TIS and has been installed for 12 or more
consecutive months. Depending on the hydraulic fluid level, this AD
requires removing from service the affected T/R damper and emailing
photographs of the sight window showing the hydraulic fluid level and
certain information to Leonardo S.p.A Helicopters.
After the effective date of this AD, following installation of an
affected T/R damper, this AD requires performing a ground run for at
least 30 minutes, inspecting the hydraulic fluid level, and repeating
the hydraulic fluid level inspection at intervals not to exceed 10
hours TIS until the T/R damper accumulates 150 total hours TIS and has
been installed for 12 consecutive months.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires returning removed parts to Leonardo Helicopter
Division, while this AD does not. Following installation of an affected
T/R damper, the EASA AD requires repeating the hydraulic fluid level
inspection until the T/R damper accumulates 150 total hours TIS, has
been installed for 12 consecutive months, and has been installed for 10
months after the effective date of the EASA AD. This AD requires
repeating the hydraulic fluid level inspection until the T/R damper
accumulates 150 total hours TIS and has been installed for 12
consecutive months instead.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) do not
apply when an agency finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt
a rule without prior notice and comment. Because FAA has determined
that it has good cause to adopt this rule without notice and comment,
RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 4 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Visually inspecting the hydraulic fluid level on all four T/R
dampers requires about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per
helicopter and $340 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.
If required, replacing a T/R damper requires about 2 work-hours and
parts cost about $7,170 for an estimated cost of $7,340 per T/R damper.
Reporting information requires about 1 work-hour for an estimated
cost of $85 per helicopter.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the
collection of information. All responses to this collection of
information are mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including
suggestions for reducing this burden to: Information Collection
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C.)
authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for
rules when the agency, for ``good cause'' finds that those procedures
are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.''
Under this section, an agency, upon finding good cause, may issue a
final rule without seeking comment prior to the rulemaking.
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 corrective actions are required within 10 hours
TIS. Therefore, notice and opportunity for prior public comment are
impracticable and contrary to public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C.
553(b)(3)(B). In addition, for the reasons stated above, the FAA finds
that good cause exists pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) 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 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 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.
The FAA 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. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
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