DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0503; Product Identifier 2018-SW-006-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for certain Leonardo S.p.a. (Leonardo) Model AW189 helicopters. This
proposed AD would require various repetitive inspections of the main
rotor (MR) damper. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of in-
service MR damper failures and the development of an improved MR
damper. This condition, if not corrected, could lead to loss of the
lead-lag damping function of the MR blade, possibly resulting in damage
to adjacent critical rotor components and subsequent loss control of
the helicopter. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address
the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by July
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
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 https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0503;
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 proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (now European
Union Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, 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
For service information identified in this proposed 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 view the referenced service information at the FAA,
Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy,
Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.
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;
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 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
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 proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal,
the FAA will consider all comments received on or before the closing
date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed after the
comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring
expense or delay. The FAA may change this proposal in light of the
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2016-0145R1, dated January 17,
2018 (EASA AD 2016-0145R1), to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo
S.p.A. Model AW189 helicopters with MR damper part number (P/N)
4F6220V00251 installed. EASA advises that a MR damper failed, which
resulted in complete seizure of the body end lug and an in-flight
disconnection of the damper. EASA states that a combination of factors
may have contributed to the MR damper disconnection, and that this
condition could result in loss of the lead-lag damping function of the
MR blade, damage to adjacent critical rotor components, and subsequent
reduced control of the helicopter. The contributing factors include
cracks, slippage marks, damaged broach ring teeth, and loss of torque.
According to EASA, the AW189 MR damper is a similar design to the
MR dampers installed on Model AW139 helicopters, where multiple MR
damper failures have been reported involving the body end lug, the eye
end lug, and the rod end. To correct this condition, EASA issued a
series of superseded and revised ADs to require repetitive inspections
of certain MR dampers, and similar corrective actions as those for
Model AW139 helicopters. EASA AD 2016-0145R1 requires various one-time
and repetitive inspections of the MR damper, a torque check of the
damper body end, and replacing any MR damper with a crack or that fails
the torque check. EASA AD 2016-0145R1 also allows installation of a new
MR damper, P/N 8G6220V00151, as an optional terminating action for the
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 proposing this AD
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that an
unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of
the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Finmeccanica Bollettino Tecnico No. 189-080,
Revision A, dated July 15, 2016, which contains procedures for visual
and dye penetrant inspections of the MR damper for cracks and for
verifying the torque of the damper body ends.
The FAA also reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin
No. 189-102, Revision A, dated December 21, 2017, which contains
procedures for installing an MR damper with reduced torque values and
specifies replacing MR damper P/N 4F6220V00251 with new MR damper P/N
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Finmeccanica Bollettino Tecnico No. 189-069, dated
February 12, 2016, which contains procedures for installing a special
washer on the MR damper rod end, modifying the installation torque of
the MR damper, and inspecting the rod end bearings.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require compliance with certain procedures
described in the manufacturer's service bulletins. For helicopters with
a MR damper P/N 4F6220V00251, this proposed AD would require:
Within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS), reducing the
installation torque of the nuts on the bolts attaching the MR damper to
the MR hub;
Within 30 hours TIS or before a MR damper body end
accumulates 500 hours TIS since first installation on a helicopter,
whichever occurs later, and, thereafter at intervals not to exceed 500
hours TIS, replacing the affected MR damper;
Before the MR damper accumulates 300 hours TIS since new
or overhaul, dye penetrant or eddy current inspecting the rod end and
body end of each MR damper for a crack, and thereafter, before the
first flight of each day, visually inspecting the rod end and body end
of each MR damper for a crack. If there is a crack, this proposed AD
would require replacing the MR damper;
Within 30 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not
exceeding 10 hours TIS for MR dampers that have accumulated less than
300 hours TIS since new or overhaul or within 5 hours TIS and therefore
before the first flight of each day for MR dampers that have
accumulated 300 or more hours TIS since new or overhaul, inspecting
each rod end and body end bearing for rotation, and replacing the rod
end or MR damper as applicable if there is any rotation;
For certain serial-numbered MR dampers, within 30 hours
TIS and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 20 hours TIS, inspecting
the lag damper broached ring nut for damage, correct engagement, and
alignment. If there is damage on the ring nut, incorrect engagement, or
mis-alignment, this proposed AD would require removing the rod end and
broached ring nut from service. These repetitive inspections would
terminate after the MR damper has accumulated 600 hours TIS;
Within 50 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not
exceeding 100 hours TIS, inspecting the bearing friction torque of each
MR damper body end and rod end, and replacing the MR damper if the
torque value exceeds 30.0 Nm (265.5 lb in);
Within 50 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not
exceeding 100 hours TIS, inspecting the MR damper anti-rotation block
for wear and replacing the anti-rotation block if there is wear beyond
Within 50 hours TIS, replacing each special washer P/N
3G6220A05051 with special washer P/N 3G6220A05052;
For certain MR dampers, within 50 hours TIS, inspecting
the broached ring for damage and alignment, removing the broached ring
from service if there is damage, and replacing the broached ring if the
rod end and broached ring cannot be aligned; and
Prior to installation on any helicopter, inspecting
certain serial-numbered MR dampers for correct torque of the broached
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires contacting the manufacturer under certain
conditions, while this proposed AD would not.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD would affect 3 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
Adjusting the tightening torque would require about 10 work-hours,
for an estimated cost of $850 per helicopter and $2,550 for the U.S.
Replacing an MR damper would require about 2 work-hours, and parts
would cost about $18,000, for an estimated cost of $18,170 per MR
Performing a dye penetrant or eddy current inspection of the MR
damper would require about 8 work-hours, for an estimated cost of $680
per helicopter and $2,040 for the U.S. fleet.
Visually inspecting the rod ends and body ends would require about
0.5 hour, for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $129 for the
U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Inspecting the rod ends and body ends for bearing rotation would
require about 0.5 hour, for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and
$129 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Inspecting the broached ring nut would require about 0.5 hour, for
an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $129 for the U.S. fleet,
per inspection cycle.
Inspecting for bearing friction would require about 2 hours, for an
estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $510 for the U.S. fleet, per
Inspecting the broached ring teeth for proper alignment and
applying torque would require about 8 work-hours, for an estimated cost
of $680 per helicopter and $2,040 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing a rod end would require about 3 work-hours and parts
would cost about $500, for a cost an estimated cost of $755 per rod
Replacing a broached ring would require about 3 work-hours and
parts would cost about $100, for an estimated cost of $355, per
Replacing a broached ring nut would require about 3 work-hours and
parts would cost about $125, for an estimated cost of $380 per broached
Replacing an anti-rotation block would require about 3 work-hours
and parts would cost about $50, for a cost an estimated cost of $305
per anti-rotation block.
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 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, I certify this proposed regulation:
1. Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order
2. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, 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.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
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.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness