DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0127; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00829-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. (Type Certificate
Previously Held by Agusta S.p.A.) Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede airworthiness directive
2015-25-04 for Agusta S.p.A (now Leonardo S.p.a.) Model A109A and A109A
II helicopters. AD 2015-25-04 requires inspecting the slider assembly
pitch control (slider) for play and replacing the slider if the play
exceeds certain limits. Since the FAA issued AD 2015-25-04, further
investigation determined the play was caused by a manufacturing issue.
This proposed AD would retain certain requirements of AD 2015-25-04,
require replacing certain part-numbered sliders as a terminating action
for the inspections, and prohibit installing the affected part on any
helicopter. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address an
unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by April
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-2021-0127;
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 FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Fuller, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, telephone 817-222-5110; email
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-2021-0127; Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-00829-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 Matthew Fuller, AD
Program Manager, Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products
Section, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, 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.
The FAA issued AD 2015-25-04, Amendment 39-18342 (80 FR 76381,
December 9, 2015) (AD 2015-25-04) for Agusta S.p.A (now Leonardo
S.p.a.) Model A109A and A109A II helicopters. AD 2015-25-04 requires
repetitively inspecting the slider for play and replacing the slider if
the play exceeds certain limits.
AD 2015-25-04 was prompted by EASA AD No. 2015-0097, dated June 1,
2015 (EASA AD 2015-0097), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent
for the Member States of the European Union. EASA advises that during
scheduled 100-flight-hour inspection on a Model A109A II helicopter,
unusual play was detected on a certain part-numbered slider. EASA
advises further investigation revealed excessive wear of the slider
broaching at the point of contact with the tail rotor shaft. EASA
stated the cause of the excessive play has not been determined.
Actions Since AD 2015-25-04 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2015-25-04, EASA issued EASA AD No. 2020-
0142 (EASA AD 2020-0142), dated June 25, 2020, to correct an unsafe
condition for Leonardo S.p.a. Model A109A and A109A II helicopters with
a certain part-numbered slider. EASA advises that further investigation
results identified the reason for the excessive play was a
manufacturing issue. Accordingly, EASA AD 2020-0142 retains the
repetitive inspections for a certain part-numbered slider, requires
replacing a certain part-numbered slider with a modified slider, and
provides a terminating action for the repetitive inspections.
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 products of the
same type designs.
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No.
109-149, Revision A, dated May 18, 2020, which describes procedures for
repetitively inspecting the slider for play. This service information
also references procedures for replacing the affected slider with a
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would retain the initial and repetitive 25 hours
time-in-service (TIS) inspections required by AD 2015-25-04 and
depending on the inspection results, would continue to require
replacing the slider with an airworthy slider. Additionally, this NPRM
would require, within 800 hours TIS, removing slider part number (P/N)
109-0130-11-7 from service and replacing it with a modified slider P/N
109-0130-11-7 marked with an "R" after the serial number, which would
provide a terminating action for the repetitive inspections. Finally,
this NPRM would prohibit installing certain sliders on any helicopter.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires replacing the affected part-numbered slider
within 60 months, while this proposed AD would require replacing the
affected slider within 800 hours TIS.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 147
helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may
incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Inspecting the slider
for play would take about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per
helicopter and $12,495 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.
Replacing a slider would take about 10 work-hours and parts would
cost about $4,068 for an estimated cost of $4,918 per helicopter and
$722,946 for the U.S. fleet.
According to Leonardo Helicopters service information some of the
costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby
reducing the cost impact on affected persons. The FAA does not control
warranty coverage by Leonardo. Accordingly, the FAA has included all
costs in this cost estimate.
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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-25-04, Amendment 39-18342
(80 FR 76381, December 9, 2015); and
b. Adding the following new AD: