DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0797; Product Identifier 2018-SW-081-AD; Amendment
39-21464; AD 2021-05-21]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. (Type Certificate
Previously Held by Agusta S.p.A.) Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-23-08
for Agusta S.p.A. (now Leonardo S.p.a.) Model AB139 and AW139
helicopters. AD 2017-23-08 required repetitively inspecting the main
rotor (M/R) rotating scissors, removing certain lower half scissor
spherical bearings (bearings) from service, replacing the removed
bearings with a new bearing, and installing a special nut. This new AD
retains the requirements of AD 2017-23-08 and requires replacing each
affected bearing with a certain part-numbered bearing. This AD was
prompted by investigation results determining that a quality control
issue may have affected the production of the affected bearings. The
actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective May 7, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of May 7, 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 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-2020-0797.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
in Docket No. FAA-2020-0797; 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 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation and Rotorcraft Unit, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email Matthew.Fuller@faa.gov.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2017-23-08, Amendment 39-19102 (82 FR
55752, November 24, 2017) (AD-2017-23-08). AD 2017-23-08 applied to
Agusta S.p.A. (now Leonardo S.p.a.) Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters
with M/R rotating scissors with a bearing part number (P/N)
3G6230V00654 installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on
September 15, 2020 (85 FR 57165). The NPRM proposed to retain the
repetitive inspection requirements of AD 2017-23-08, and continue to
require replacing the bearing with an improved bearing, replacing the
rotating scissor attachment flange with a certain part-numbered
rotating scissor attachment flange, and replacing the nut with a
certain part-numbered special nut. The NPRM also proposed to require
removing each bearing P/N 3G6230V00654 from service and replacing it
with bearing P/N 3G6230V00655 within 100 hours time-inservice (TIS).
The NPRM was prompted by EASA Emergency AD (EAD) No. 2017-0028-E,
dated February 15, 2017 (EASA EAD 2017-0028-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. Model AB139 and AW139
helicopters. EASA advises that investigation results by the supplier of
the bearings determined that a quality control issue may have affected
the production of bearing P/N 3G6230V00654. Accordingly, this AD
retains the requirements of AD 2017-23-08 and requires replacing
bearing P/N 3G6230V00654 with P/N 3G6230V00655.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule. The following presents the comments
received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment.
Support for the NPRM
An individual commenter supported the NPRM.
Request for the FAA To Provide More Information
Request: One commenter requested more information about the purpose
of this new AD. The commenter stated that the AD from 2017 (AD 2017-23-
08) already removes all P/N 3G6230V00654 bearings from service.
FAA Response: The FAA disagrees that this AD is unnecessary. AD
2017-23-08 only required the replacement of the bearing if it failed an
inspection, whereas this AD requires this part-numbered bearing to be
removed from service within a certain compliance time.
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 specifies some compliance times using calendar time,
whereas this AD does not. The EASA AD requires reporting information to
Leonardo S.p.a. Product Support Engineering, whereas this AD does not.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Alert Bollettino Tecnico No.
139-392, Revision A, dated February 14, 2017. This service information
specifies repetitively inspecting the M/R rotating scissors to monitor
the bearings and replacing the bearing with a new part-numbered
bearing. This service information also specifies installing a special
nut in case of lower scissor bearing dislodging.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters AW139 IETP Document Code AMP-
39-A-62-31-00-00A-31AC-A, Rotating control installation--Fixed
swashplate and rotating scissors--Detailed inspection, Issue 29, dated
July 31, 2017, which describes procedures for a detailed inspection of
the fixed swashplate and rotating scissors.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 102 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.
Inspecting for bearing liner wear, seat movement, and play takes
about 1 work-hour for a cost of $85 per helicopter and $8,670 for the
U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.
Replacing a bearing takes about 2 work-hours and parts cost about
$950 for a cost of $1,120 per bearing.
Replacing a rotating scissor attachment flange takes about 0.25
work-hours and parts cost about $25,629 for a cost of $25,650 per flange.
Installing two special nuts takes about 1 work-hour and parts cost
about $755 for a cost of $840 per helicopter and $85,680 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 products identified in this rulemaking action.
The FAA has 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 above, I certify that this AD:
(1) Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order 12866,
(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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-23-08, Amendment 39-19102
(82 FR 55752, November 24, 2017); and
b. Adding the following new AD: