DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1139; Product Identifier 2018-SW-056-AD; Amendment
39-21447; AD 2021-05-04]
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)
certain serial-numbered Leonardo S.p.a. (Leonardo) Model A109S and
AW109SP helicopters. This AD requires installing a placard in the
baggage compartment, revising the existing Rotorcraft Flight Manual
(RFM) for your helicopter, and inspecting the installation of the
terminal lugs. Depending on the outcome of the inspection, this AD
requires restoring the installation of the terminal lugs. This AD would
also require modifying the helicopter to shim the baggage fairing assy
(fwd up) away from the circuit breaker panel and incorporating
protective coverings. This AD was prompted by reports of several
occurrences of fire ignition and smoke in the baggage compartment. The
actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective April 16, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of April 16, 2021.
ADDRESSES: 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 this 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-2020-1139.
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-
1139; 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: Kristin Bradley, Aerospace Engineer,
General Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International Validation Branch,
FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-
5110; email Kristin.Bradley@faa.gov.
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 A109S
helicopters, serial number (S/N) 22702, 22703, 22705, and 22706 and
AW109SP helicopters with S/N up to 22386 inclusive, except S/N 22375
and S/N 22376. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on December
21, 2020 (85 FR 82972). The NPRM proposed to require, before further
flight, for certain serial-numbered helicopters, installing a placard
and revising the existing RFM for your helicopter. The NPRM also
proposed to require within 5 hours time-in-service (TIS), for certain
model helicopters, inspecting the installation of the terminal lugs,
shimming the installation of the baggage fairing assembly (fwd up), and
installing a silicon rubber protection over the blind rivets of the
hinge in accordance with certain applicable service information. The
NPRM also proposed to require within 10 hours TIS and thereafter at
intervals not to exceed 25 hours TIS until protective coverings are
installed, removing the baggage fairing assembly (fwd up), removing the
rubber protections, and inspecting the cable assembly routing of both
circuit breaker panels for damage. Depending on the outcome of these
inspections, the NPRM proposed to require repairing or replacing
certain parts. The NPRM also proposed to require, within 200 hours TIS,
modifying the helicopter to incorporate a certain protective coverings,
which would provide a terminating action for the repetitive
inspections. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent fire in
the baggage department.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA Emergency AD No. 2018-0120-E, dated
May 29, 2018 (EASA AD 2018-0120-E), issued by EASA, which is the
Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct
an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.a. (formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A.,
AgustaWestland S.p.A., Agusta S.p.A.) Model A109S and AW109SP
helicopters. EASA advises that an occurrence was reported on an AW109SP
helicopter experiencing fire ignition and smoke in the baggage
compartment. The investigation determined the event was due to chafing
of electrical wiring and further analysis indicated that due to
similarity of design, this event could also occur on A109S helicopters.
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires modification of the affected baggage
fairing assembly (fwd up) part number (P/N) 109-0344-31-101 and
temporarily amending the existing RFM and installing a placard
prohibiting carrying any loads in the baggage compartment.
After EASA AD 2018-0120-E was issued, a second occurrence was
reported of fire ignition and smoke in the baggage compartment, and as
a precautionary measure, Leonardo Helicopters issued a series of
emergency alert service bulletins providing instructions to prevent
damage of electrical assemblies in the baggage compartment.
Accordingly, EASA issued EASA Emergency No. 2018-0149-E, dated July 13,
2018 (EASA AD 2018-0149-E), which retains the requirements of EASA AD
2018-0120-E, and also requires repetitive inspections of the baggage
compartment electrical assemblies and depending on the inspection
outcomes, repairing or replacing certain parts. Also, EASA AD 2018-
0149-E expands the applicability to include three additional serial-
numbered helicopters, and requires a modification, which acts as a
terminating action for the repetitive inspections.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule, but the agency did not receive any comments
on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.
The FAA reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety
and the public interest require adopting this final rule as proposed,
except for minor editorial changes. The FAA has determined that these
Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the
NPRM for addressing the unsafe condition; and
Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was
already proposed in the NPRM.
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 these same type designs and that air safety and the
public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD uses compliance times in terms of calendar dates,
whereas this AD uses compliance times terms of in hours TIS.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA has reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. 109S-079, and Leonardo Helicopters EASB No. 109SP-
120, each Revision A, and each dated June 4, 2018. This service
information specifies instructions for manufacturing a placard for the
baggage compartment door and also specifies instructions for modifying
and inserting a specific cutout into the existing RFM. This service
information also specifies instructions for removing the baggage
fairing assembly (fwd up) and the rubber protections, inspecting the
cable assemblies routing of both circuit breaker panels, and inspecting
the installation of the terminal lugs.
The FAA also reviewed Leonardo Helicopters EASB No. 109SP-122, and
Leonardo Helicopters EASB No. 109S-081, each dated July 5, 2018, which
specify procedures for modifying the helicopter by incorporating
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 15 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.
Installing a placard and revising the existing RFM for your
helicopter takes about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per
helicopter and $1,275 for the U.S. fleet.
Inspecting the installation of the terminal lugs, shimming the
baggage fairing assembly (fwd up), and installing a silicon rubber
protection over the blind rivets takes about 3 work-hours for an
estimated cost of $255 per helicopter.
Removing the baggage fairing assembly (fwd up), removing the rubber
protections, and performing a repetitive inspection of the cable
assemblies of both circuit breaker panels for damage takes about 2
work-hours for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter per inspection
cycle and $2,550 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.
Repairing a cable assembly takes about 4 work-hours and parts would
cost about $340 for an estimated cost of $680 per repair.
Modifying the helicopter by installing protective coverings takes
about 4 work-hours and parts would cost about $20 for an estimated cost
of $360 per helicopter and $5,400 for the U.S. fleet.
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