DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-1020; Product Identifier 2019-SW-076-AD; Amendment
39-21147; AD 2020-13-02]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.A. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Leonardo S.p.A. Model A119 and AW119 MKII helicopters. This AD
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 plug threads, nut
threads, and T/R duplex bearing. Depending on the inspection results,
this AD requires removing parts from service, reassembling the T/R
duplex assembly, and reporting information. This AD also prohibits
installing a T/R duplex bearing unless it has been inspected. This AD
was prompted by findings from a preliminary investigation of a Model
AW119 MKII helicopter accident. The actions of this AD are intended to
address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective July 8, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of July 8, 2020.
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by August 7, 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-2019-
1020; 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 Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any
service information that is incorporated by reference, 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
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. It is also available on the internet at https://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-1020.
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 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 Emergency AD No. 2019-0194-E, dated
August 9, 2019, to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.A.
Helicopters, formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A., AgustaWestland S.p.A.,
Agusta S.p.A.; and AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation, formerly
Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Model A119 and AW119MKII helicopters with
a serial number (S/N) up to 14966 inclusive, except S/N 14950, 14957,
and 14961 through 14963 inclusive. According to EASA, 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 states
an investigation to determine the root cause of the occurrence is in
progress. EASA advises 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.
As a precautionary measure and pending further information from the
investigation, Leonardo S.p.A. issued Leonardo Helicopters Emergency
Alert Service Bulletin No. 119-100, dated August 7, 2019 (EASB 119-
100), to provide inspection instructions and improved installation
procedures for the T/R duplex bearing.
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires inspecting the T/R pitch change
mechanism and installation of additional locking wire. The EASA AD also
requires repetitive inspections of the duplex bearing and, depending on
findings, corrective actions. EASA states its AD is considered an
interim action and further AD action may follow.
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 of the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all information provided by EASA and determining 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
The FAA has reviewed EASB 119-100 which specifies a one-time
inspection of the tightening torque of T/R plug part number (P/N) 129-
0160-45-103. This service information also specifies a repetitive
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.
This AD requires, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS),
inspecting for movement and the tightening torque of the T/R plug.
If there is no movement and the tightening torque is at
least 30.5 Nm, this AD requires installing lockwire before further
flight. Thereafter, within 50 hours TIS, this AD requires inspecting
for presence of the P/N and S/N markings of the outboard and inboard
faces of T/R duplex bearing, inspecting the T/R duplex bearing for
rough rotation, brinelling, spalling, chipping, flaking, evidence of
overheated bearing balls, and damage to the races, and inspecting for
damaged threads of the T/R plug and nut.
If there is any movement or the tightening torque is less
than 30.5 Nm, this AD requires inspecting for presence of the P/N and
S/N markings of the outboard and inboard faces of T/R duplex bearing,
inspecting the T/R duplex bearing for rough rotation, brinelling,
spalling, chipping, flaking, evidence of overheated bearing balls, and
damage to the races, and inspecting for damaged threads of the T/R plug
and nut before further flight.
If the P/N and S/N markings are visible on the outboard or
inboard face of the T/R duplex bearing; the T/R duplex bearing has any
rough rotation, brinelling, spalling, chipping, flaking, evidence of
overheated bearing balls, or damage to the races; or if the nut has any
damaged threads, this AD requires removing the T/R duplex bearing,
internal spacer, external spacer, bearing liner assembly, and T/R
control rod from service before further flight.
If the T/R plug or nut has any damaged threads, this AD
requires removing the affected part from service before further flight.
After inspecting, this AD requires assembling and
installing the T/R duplex assembly by following related service
This AD also requires reporting inspection results to
Leonardo Helicopters if there is any T/R plug movement or if its
tightening torque is not at least 30.5 Nm and any parts that must be
removed from service.
This AD also prohibits installing a T/R duplex bearing on
any helicopter unless it has been inspected.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires repeating the inspection of the T/R duplex
bearing installation and the condition of the T/R duplex bearing, plug
threads, and nut threads at any installation or disassembly of the T/R
duplex bearing, whereas this AD does not because it could be difficult
to track. The EASA AD requires inspecting the tightening torque of the
T/R plug in the range of 30.5-33.9 Nm, whereas this AD requires
inspecting the tightening torque of the T/R plug to a minimum of 30.5
Nm instead. 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 AD requires 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.
The EASA AD also requires repeating the inspection of the T/R duplex
bearing installation and the condition of the T/R duplex bearing, plug
threads, and nut threads every 200 hours TIS, whereas this AD does not.
The FAA plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to give the
public an opportunity to comment on this long-term requirement.
The FAA considers this AD to be an interim action. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking.
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 93 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. Labor costs 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 AD.
Inspecting the tightening torque of the T/R plug takes about 0.5
work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $3,999 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 plug
threads, nut threads, and T/R duplex bearing takes about 2 work-hours
for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter.
Assembling and installing the T/R duplex bearing assembly takes
about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170. If required, the
parts for replacing the T/R duplex bearing, internal spacer, external
spacer, bearing liner assembly, and T/R control rod cost about $4,200,
and parts for replacing the T/R plug cost about $171.
If required, reporting information takes about 1 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $85 per instance.
According to Leonardo Helicopters' service information, some of the
costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the
cost impact on affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage by Leonardo Helicopters. Accordingly, the FAA has included all
costs in this cost estimate.
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 there are required corrective actions that must be completed
within 10 hours TIS and 50 hours TIS, a time period of up to 2 months
based on the average flight-hour utilization rate of these helicopters.
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 12866, and
(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