DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0987; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01205-R;
Amendment 39-21323; AD 2020-23-07]
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 for
Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters. This AD requires
removing certain emergency life raft (raft) reservoirs (reservoirs)
from service, inspecting the reservoirs and raft actuator cables
(actuator cables), and depending on the inspection results, replacing
the reservoir or adjusting the actuator cable. This AD was prompted by
the inadvertent activation and deployment of a raft while the
helicopter was in flight. The actions of this AD are intended to
address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective December 4, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of December 4,
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-
0987; 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 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. FAA-2020-0987.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel E. Moore, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Regulations & Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch,
FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-
5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
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 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.
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 final rule 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 final rule, 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 final rule. Submissions containing CBI
should be sent to Daniel E. Moore, Aviation Safety Engineer,
Regulations & Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
email@example.com. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2020-0185, dated August 19,
2020, 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 AB139 and AW139 helicopters, all serial numbers, if
equipped with emergency flotation kit part number (P/N) 4G9560F00111
(15 passengers) or P/N 4G9560F00211 (18 passengers). An
inadvertent raft activation and deployment event occurred on a Model
AW139 helicopter during flight. EASA advises that following the
deployment, the raft separated from the helicopter and was lost at sea.
EASA states that investigation is on-going into the cause of this
event. Model AB139 helicopters are subject to the same unsafe condition
due to design similarity to the AW139 helicopters. EASA advises that
this condition, if not detected and corrected, may lead to further
unintended activation and deployment of the raft in flight and
separation with possible impact on the rotors, resulting in reduced
control of the helicopter.
To address this unsafe condition, Leonardo Helicopters has issued
Alert Service Bulletin No. 139-648, dated August 10, 2020 (ASB 139-648)
to provide replacement instructions for certain reservoirs and a one-
time inspection for all other reservoirs to verify that the actuator
cable and the valve pull rod are correctly installed.
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires, for some helicopters,
replacement of affected reservoirs and, for other helicopters,
inspections of the valve pull rod and the actuator cable of the raft
and, depending on findings, accomplishment of the applicable corrective
action(s). The EASA AD also prohibits (re)installation of an affected
reservoir on any helicopter.
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.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed ASB 139-648, which specifies procedures to replace
certain reservoirs and return them to the supplier, inspect the
measurement of the actuator cable between the face of the pull rod and
the back of the valve cap, inspect the actuator cable by inspecting the
clearance between the sphere at the end of the actuator cable and the
activation system, and adjust the actuator cable.
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 the following:
For helicopters with certain serial-numbered right-hand
(RH) or left-hand (LH) reservoirs P/N 3G2560V01951 or P/N 3G2560V01251
installed, within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS), removing each
affected reservoir from service.
For helicopters with certain other serial-numbered RH or
LH reservoirs P/N 3G2560V01951 or P/N 3G2560V01251 installed, within 25
hours TIS or before the reservoir accumulates 55 total hours TIS since
first installation on a helicopter, whichever occurs later, inspecting
the valve pull rod of each reservoir. If the measurement of the
actuator cable between the face of the pull rod and the back of the
valve cap exceeds 68.5 mm, this AD requires replacing the reservoir
before further flight.
For helicopters with certain other serial-numbered RH or
LH reservoirs P/N 3G2560V01951 or P/N 3G2560V01251 installed, this AD
requires, within 25 hours TIS, inspecting the actuator cable of each
reservoir. If the clearance between the sphere at the end of the
actuator cable and the activation system exceeds 5.0 + 0.00/-2.0 mm,
this AD requires adjusting the actuator cable before further flight.
This AD also prohibits installing certain serial-numbered
reservoirs P/N 3G2560V01951 or P/N 3G2560V01251 on any helicopter and
prohibits installing any other serial-numbered reservoir P/N
3G2560V01951 or P/N 3G2560V01251 on any helicopter unless the actuator
cable of the reservoir has been inspected, and if required, the
actuator cable adjusted.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD states one of the compliance times to inspect the valve
pull rod is since installation of a serviceable reservoir due removal
of an affected reservoir, whereas this AD does not. The EASA AD
requires returning removed reservoirs to the supplier, whereas this AD
requires removing certain reservoirs from service and replacing other
certain reservoirs 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 130 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 AD.
Replacing a reservoir takes about 1 work-hour and parts cost about
$400 for an estimated cost of $485 per reservoir.
Inspecting the valve pull rod of the reservoirs takes about 1 work-
hour for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $11,050 for the
Inspecting the actuator cables takes about 0.25 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $21 per helicopter and $2,730 for the U.S. fleet. If
required, adjusting an actuator cable takes about 0.75 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $64 per cable.
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 the required corrective actions must be completed within 25
hours TIS or before a component accumulates 55 total hours TIS since
first installation on a helicopter, a short time period of about two
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
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