DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0127; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00829-R;
Amendment 39-21557; AD 2021-10-24]
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) 2015-25-04
for Agusta S.p.A (now Leonardo S.p.a.) Model A109A and A109A II
helicopters. AD 2015-25-04 required inspecting the slider assembly
pitch control (slider) for play and replacing the slider if the play
exceeds certain limits. This AD was prompted by further investigation
that led to the determination that the play was caused by a
manufacturing issue. This AD retains certain requirements of AD 2015-
25-04, requires replacing certain part-numbered sliders as a
terminating action for the inspections, and prohibits installing the
affected part on any helicopter. The FAA is issuing this AD to address
the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective June 18, 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 service information
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.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket 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 final rule, the
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any comments received,
and other information. The 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: Matthew Fuller, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, telephone (817) 222-5110; email
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2015-25-04, Amendment 39-18342 (80 FR
76381, December 9, 2015), (AD 2015-25-04). AD 2015-25-04 applied to
Agusta S.p.A (now Leonardo S.p.a.) Model A109A and A109A II
helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 8,
2021 (86 FR 13232). In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to retain the initial
and repetitive 25 hours time-in-service (TIS) inspections required by
AD 2015-25-04 and depending on the inspection results, continue to
require replacing the slider with an airworthy slider. Additionally,
the NPRM proposed to 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, the NPRM proposed to prohibit installing certain
sliders on any helicopter. The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD 2020-0142,
dated June 25, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0142), 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 A109A and A109A II
helicopters with a certain part-numbered slider. EASA AD 2020-0142
supersedes EASA AD 2015-0097, dated June 1, 2015 (EASA AD 2015-0097).
EASA AD 2015-0097 was issued after unusual play was detected on a
certain part-numbered slider. EASA advised in EASA AD 2015-0097 that
investigation revealed excessive wear of the slider broaching at the
point of contact with the tail rotor shaft but that the cause of the
excessive play had not been determined. EASA AD 2015-25-04 prompted the
FAA to issue AD 2015-25-04. EASA now 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.
The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of
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 reviewed the relevant
data and determined that air safety requires adopting this AD as
proposed. Accordingly, the FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these helicopters as proposed in the NPRM; however, the
paragraphs have been restructured to meet current formatting
requirements, and the responsible office for approving Alternative
Methods of Compliance has been revised. These changes will neither
increase the scope of the AD nor increase the economic burden on any
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No.
109-149, Revision A, dated May 18, 2020, which specifies procedures for
repetitively inspecting the slider for play. This service information
also references procedures for replacing the affected slider with a
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires replacing the affected part-numbered slider
within 60 months, while this AD requires replacing the affected slider
within 800 hours TIS.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 147 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Inspecting the slider for play takes 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 takes about 10 work-hours and
parts 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 AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the
cost impact on affected persons. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage by Leonardo Helicopters. 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.
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
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) 2015-25-04, Amendment 39-18342
(80 FR 76381, December 9, 2015); and
b. Adding the following new AD: