DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0697; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01540-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for certain Leonardo S.p.a. Model A109E helicopters. This proposed AD
was prompted by reports of cracking in the center fuselage frame
assembly in the intersection of the lateral pylon and floor spar at
station (STA) 1815 on the left- and right-hand sides. This proposed AD
would require repetitive inspections of the intersection of the lateral
pylon and floor spar at STA 1815 for cracking and, depending on the
findings, repair, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety
Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference
(IBR). The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by October
ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
instructions for submitting comments.
Fax: (202) 493-2251.
Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For EASA material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact
EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221
8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may
find this IBR material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this material at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel,
Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.
For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call
(817) 222-5110. The EASA material is also available at https://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0697.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0697; 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 NPRM, the EASA AD,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email email@example.com.
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-2021-0697; Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-01540" 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 NPRM.
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
Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-
7330; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA
receives that 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 2020-0256, dated November 17, 2020
(EASA AD 2020-0256), to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo
S.p.A., formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A., AgustaWestland S.p.A., and Agusta
S.p.A., Model A109E helicopters, serial numbers 11001 through 11674
This proposed AD was prompted by reports of cracking in the center
fuselage frame assembly in the intersection of the lateral pylon and
floor spar at STA 1815 on the left- and right-hand sides. The FAA is
proposing this AD to address cracking in the center fuselage frame
assembly in the intersection of the lateral pylon and floor spar at STA
1815 on the left- and right-hand sides, which, if not addressed, could
affect the structural integrity of the helicopter. See EASA AD 2020-
0256 for additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0256 requires repetitive inspections of STA 1815 for
cracking, fluorescent liquid penetrant inspections of any cracking to
determine the extent of the cracking, and repair if necessary. For both
the left- and right-hand side repair, the actions include removing
equipment and furnishings to gain access to the work area; testing the
flight control system for correct travel of the flight controls;
performing an operational test of the cockpit and passenger doors
caution system; installing a new forward cap; installing a new angle,
butt strap, and web; installing new cotter pins; and re-installing the
removed equipment and furnishings when the repair is complete.
For the left-hand side repair, the actions also include replacing
the nut plates with new nut plates, and an operational test of the
collective control system and tail rotor control system. For the right-
hand side repair, the actions include an operational test of the cyclic
This material 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.
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
the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop
on other helicopters of the same type design.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2020-0256, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under
"Differences Between this Proposed AD and the MCAI."
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI
EASA AD 2020-0256 specifies to accomplish corrective actions if
"any crack is detected in an affected area" during a required
inspection. Figure 1 of the service information referenced in EASA AD
2020-0256 depicts the affected area, but the FWD bulkhead is mislabeled
as AFT. This proposed AD includes an exception to clarify the correct
location of the FWD bulkhead depicted in Figure 1.
Explanation of Required Compliance Information
In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD
process, the FAA developed a process to use some civil aviation
authority (CAA) ADs as the primary source of information for compliance
with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has been
coordinating this process with manufacturers and CAAs. As a result, the
FAA proposes to incorporate EASA AD 2020-0256 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2020-0256 in its entirety through that incorporation, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading
of a particular section in EASA AD 2020-0256 does not mean that
operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD
requirement refers to "all required actions and compliance times,"
compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section
titled "Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)" in EASA AD 2020-
0256. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0256 for
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0697 after the FAA final
rule is published.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 70 helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates the following
costs to comply with this proposed AD:
||6 work-hours x $85 per hour =
$510 per inspection cycle
||$510 per inspection cycle
||$35,700 per inspection cycle
The FAA estimates the following costs
to do any necessary repairs
that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection.
The agency has no way of determining the number of helicopters that
might need these repairs:
|Repair left-hand side
||120 work-hours x $85 per hour
|Repair right-hand side
||120 work-hour x $85 per hour
The FAA has included all known costs
in its cost estimate.
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators.
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 above, I certify this proposed
(1) Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive
(2) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(3) Would 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 adding the following new airworthiness