DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0413; Product Identifier 2017-SW-018-AD; Amendment
39-21258; AD 2020-20-02]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Leonardo S.p.a. (Leonardo) Model A109E, A109S, and AW109SP helicopters.
This AD requires inspecting each fire extinguisher bottle for a crack.
This AD was prompted by a report of a cracked fire extinguisher bottle.
The actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on
DATES: This AD is effective November 3, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of November 3,
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Leonardo, 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. It is also available on the internet
at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
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-
0413; 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 (now 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 U.S.
Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Haight, Aviation Safety Engineer,
Regulations and Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110;
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Leonardo Model A109E,
A109S, and AW109SP helicopters with a fire extinguisher bottle part
number (P/N) 27300-1 installed. The NPRM published in the Federal
Register on April 23, 2020 (85 FR 22686). The NPRM proposed to require
repetitively inspecting the weld beads of each fire extinguisher bottle
P/N 27300-1 assembly for a crack. If there is a crack, the NPRM
proposed to require replacing the fire extinguisher bottle before
further flight. The NPRM also proposed to prohibit the installation of
a fire extinguisher bottle P/N 27300-1 on any helicopter unless it has
met the requirements of this AD. The proposed requirements were
intended to detect a crack on a fire extinguisher bottle bypass outlet
assembly, which could result in failure of the fire extinguishing
system in the event of a fire in the engine area and subsequent loss of
control of the helicopter.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2016-0261R1, dated February
13, 2020, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member
States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for
Leonardo Model A109LUH, A109E, A109S, and AW109SP helicopters. EASA
advises that a fractured bypass outlet assembly (assembly), which is a
component of fire extinguishing bottle P/N 27300-1, was found during
maintenance on a Model AW109SP helicopter. EASA states that this
condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the capability
of the fire extinguishing system to extinguish a fire in the engine
area, resulting in damage to the helicopter and injury to any
occupants. To address this unsafe condition, the EASA AD requires
repetitive inspections of the assembly, and if there is a crack,
replacing the fire extinguisher bottle. Due to similarity of design,
EASA advises other helicopter models may be subject to the same unsafe
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule, but the FAA did not receive any comments on
the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.
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 of the information provided by EASA and determining the
unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other
helicopters of the same type designs and that air safety and the public
interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.
The FAA considers this AD to be an interim action. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to Model A109LUH helicopters; this AD does not
as that model helicopter is not type certificated in the U.S.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Bollettino Tecnico (BT) No.
109EP-152 for Model A109E helicopters, BT No. 109S-073 for Model A109S
helicopters, and BT No. 109SP-108 for Model AW109SP helicopters, all
dated December 15, 2016. The FAA also reviewed Leonardo Helicopters
Alert Service Bulletin No. 109S-073, Revision A, dated November 23,
2018 for Model A109S helicopters. This service information contains
procedures for inspecting the assembly for a crack and replacing the
fire extinguishing bottle if there is a crack.
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.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 107 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
Inspecting both assemblies requires about 2 work-hours, for an
estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $18,190 for the U.S fleet, per
Replacing a fire extinguishing bottle requires about 3 work-hours
and parts cost about $6,432, for an estimated cost of $6,687 per
According to Leonardo's 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. Accordingly, the FAA has included all costs in this cost
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 helicopters identified in this rulemaking action.
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 above, I certify that this AD:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
(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
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