DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1026; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00745-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2020-13-02, which applies to certain Leonardo S.p.A. Model A119 and
AW119 MKII helicopters. AD 2020-13-02 requires inspecting for movement
and the tightening torque of the tail rotor (T/R) plug, the
installation of the outboard and inboard faces of the T/R duplex
bearing, and the condition of the T/R duplex bearing, T/R plug threads,
and nut threads. Depending on the inspection results, AD 2020-13-02
requires corrective actions and reporting information. Since the FAA
issued AD 2020-13-02, Leonardo S.p.a. issued updated service
information. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2020-
13-02 except the reporting requirement, update the service information,
and require repeating the inspection. The FAA is proposing this AD to
address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this AD by January 4, 2021.
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-2020-1026;
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 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 receipt.
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: David Hatfield, 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 send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2020-1026; Product Identifier
MCAI-2020-00745-R" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend
this proposal because of those comments.
Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each
substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.
Confidential Business Information
CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing
CBI as "PROPIN." The FAA will treat such marked submissions as
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to David
Hatfield, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section,
Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any
commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated
as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2020-13-02, Amendment 39-21147 (85 FR 37551, June
23, 2020) (AD 2020-13-02), for Leonardo S.p.A. (Leonardo) Model A119
and AW119 MKII helicopters with a T/R duplex bearing part number (P/N)
129-0160-11-103 installed. AD 2020-13-02 was prompted by EASA Emergency
AD No. 2019-0194-E, dated August 9, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0194-E), which
stated that preliminary investigation of a Model AW119 MKII helicopter
accident identified a disassembled connection between the yaw control
input lever and the rotating input shaft, partial presence of spalling
on the T/R duplex bearing inner races, and missing plug and related
lockwire. EASA advised that this condition, if not corrected, could
lead to functional failure of the T/R pitch change mechanism, resulting
in loss of control of the helicopter. EASA considered EASA AD 2019-
0194-E an interim action and stated further AD action may follow.
AD 2020-13-02 requires inspecting the T/R plug for movement and its
tightening torque measurement, inspecting the installation of the
outboard and inboard faces of the T/R duplex bearing, and inspecting
the condition of the T/R duplex bearing, T/R plug threads, and nut
threads. Depending on inspection results, AD 2020-13-02 requires
removing the affected parts from service and reporting the inspection
findings to Leonardo. For some of these actions, AD 2020-13-02 requires
following the procedures in Leonardo Helicopters Emergency Alert
Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 119-100, dated August 7, 2019 (EASB 119-
100). AD 2020-13-02 also prohibits installing a T/R duplex bearing
unless it had been inspected. The FAA issued AD 2020-13-02 to prevent
structural failure of the T/R assembly, loss of T/R pitch change
control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2020-13-02 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2020-13-02, EASA has issued EASA AD No.
2020-0128, dated June 4, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0128), to supersede EASA AD
2019-0194-E. EASA advises that Leonardo has determined that additional
serial-numbered helicopters are affected by the unsafe condition. EASA
also advises that Leonardo canceled EASB 119-100 and instead included
the repetitive inspections in the maintenance manual (MM). Accordingly,
EASA AD 2020-0128 partially retains the requirements of EASA AD 2019-
0194-E and expands the applicability.
In addition, Leonardo replaced EASB 119-100 with EASB No. 119-105,
currently at Revision A, dated June 3, 2020 (EASB 119-105 Rev A). EASB
119-105 Rev A expands the effectivity by identifying additional serial-
numbered helicopters and omits the long-term and on-condition
repetitive inspections that have been incorporated into the MM.
AD 2020-13-02 did not require repeating the inspection of the T/R
duplex bearing installation every 200 hours time-in-service (TIS), as
there was sufficient time to allow for notice and comment prior to this
long-term action going into effect. The FAA has determined that
repeating the inspection is needed to address this unsafe condition.
Although Leonardo has added this action to the MM, the FAA must mandate
it through an AD in order to require it for all operators.
Accordingly, the FAA has included this long-term requirement in this
Comments to AD 2020-13-02
After AD 2020-13-02 was published, the FAA received comments from
three individual commenters. The following presents the comments
received and the FAA's response to each comment.
Request: Two commenters requested the FAA update the references in
AD 2020-13-02, as EASB 119-100 has been canceled and EASA AD 2019-0194-
E has been superseded by EASA AD 2020-0128. The commenters proposed
referencing the new EASB 119-105.
FAA's Response: The FAA agrees. This NPRM reflects the changes
proposed by the commenters.
Request: One commenter requested the AD allow credit for previous
compliance with either EASB 119-100 or EASB 119-105.
FAA's Response: The FAA agrees. In this NPRM, the FAA has proposed
to require using EASB 119-105 instead of EASB 119-100. Paragraph (e) of
the proposed AD would require compliance unless already done. Thus, the
proposed AD allows operators to take credit for actions using EASB 119-
105 if done before the effective date of the AD. This NPRM also
proposes to allow credit for previous actions accomplished using the
procedures specified in EASB 119-100.
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 determining that the unsafe condition described previously is
likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed EASB 119-105 Rev A, which specifies a one-time
inspection of the tightening torque of T/R plug P/N 129-0160-45-103,
and a one-time inspection for correct installation of the inboard and
outboard faces of T/R duplex bearing P/N 129-0160-11-103, for damage to
the threads of the T/R plug and nut P/N MS17825-7, and of the T/R
duplex bearing for roughness, ease of rotation, and presence of
brinelling, spalling, chipping, and flaking or traces of overheating of
bearing balls, and general damage to races.
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 EASB 119-100, which specifies the same procedures
as EASB 119-105 Rev A, except EASB 119-100 also specifies repeating the
inspection for correct installation of the inboard and outboard faces
of T/R duplex bearing P/N 129-0160-11-103, for damage to the threads of
the T/R plug and nut P/N MS17825-7, and of the T/R duplex bearing for
roughness, ease of rotation, and presence of brinelling, spalling,
chipping, and flaking or traces of overheating of bearing balls, and
general damage to races in conjunction every 200 hours TIS or at any
removal, installation, or disassembly of the T/R duplex bearing.
The FAA also reviewed Leonardo Helicopters EASB No. 119-105, dated
May 18, 2020, which contains the same procedures as EASB 119-105 Rev A,
except EASB 119-105 Rev A applies to additional serial-numbered
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would retain all of the inspection requirements
and the installation prohibition of AD 2020-13-02. This proposed AD
would also require repeating the inspection for presence of the P/N and
S/N markings of the outboard and inboard faces of T/R duplex bearing
every 200 hours TIS. This proposed AD would not require reporting any
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD is applicable to certain serial-numbered Model A119 and
AW119MKII helicopters, whereas this proposed AD would apply to Model
A119 and AW119 MKII helicopters with a T/R duplex bearing P/N 129-0160-
11-103 installed instead. The EASA AD requires inspecting the
tightening torque of the T/R plug in the range of 30.5-33.9 Nm, whereas
this proposed AD would require inspecting the tightening torque of the
T/R plug to a minimum of 30.5 Nm instead. This proposed AD would
require repeating the inspections for the presence of the P/N and S/N
markings, for rough rotation, brinelling, spalling, chipping, flaking,
evidence of overheated bearing balls, and damage to the races, and for
damaged threads of the T/R plug and nut, at intervals not to exceed 200
hours TIS, whereas the EASA AD does not require repeating these
inspections. The EASA AD requires inspecting the threads of nut P/N
MS17825-7 for damage, but does not state what to do if the threads have
damage. This proposed AD would require inspecting for damage to the
threads of the nut indicated by uneven threads, missing threads, or
cross-threading, and if the nut has any damaged threads, removing the
nut from service.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 89 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at
$85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates that
operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this
Inspecting the tightening torque of the T/R plug would take about
0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $3,827
for the U.S. fleet.
Inspecting for correct installation of the outboard and inboard
faces of the T/R duplex bearing and the condition of the T/R duplex
bearing, T/R plug threads, and nut threads would take about 2 work-
hours for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $15,130 for the
U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Assembling and installing the T/R duplex bearing assembly would
take about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter
and $15,130 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
If required, the parts for replacing the T/R duplex bearing,
internal spacer, external spacer, bearing liner assembly, and T/R
control rod would cost about $4,200, and parts for replacing the T/R
plug would cost about $171.
The FAA has included all known costs in this cost estimate.
According to Leonardo, however, some of the costs of this proposed AD
may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on
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 that this proposed regulation:
1. Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order
2. Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
3. Would 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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2020-13-02, Amendment 39-21147 (85
FR 37551, June 23, 2020); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: