DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-1174; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00246-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 supersede Airworthiness Directive
2020-23-07, which applies to certain Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139 and
AW139 helicopters. AD 2020-23-07 requires removing certain life raft
reservoirs (reservoirs) from service, inspecting the reservoirs and
actuator cables, and depending on the inspection results, replacing the
reservoir or adjusting the actuator cable. Since the FAA issued AD
2020-23-07, additional serial-numbered reservoirs were identified as
also being affected by the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would
retain certain requirements of AD 2020-23-07, expand the required
actions to include additional serial-numbered reservoirs, and update
applicable service information. The FAA is proposing this AD to address
the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by February
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
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 service information identified in this NPRM, 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://customerportal.leonardocompany.com/
en-US/. You may view this service information at the FAA, Office of the
Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth,
76177. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA,
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-1174; 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 European
Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any comments received, and
other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7323; email Darren.Gassetto@faa.gov.
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-2021-1174; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00246-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 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
Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-
7323; email Darren.Gassetto@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives
which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public
for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2020-23-07, Amendment 39-21323 (85 FR 73610,
November 19, 2020) (AD 2020-23-07), for Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139 and
AW139 helicopters with emergency flotation kit part number (P/N)
4G9560F00111 (15 passengers) or 4G9560F00211 (18 passengers) installed.
AD 2020-23-07 requires for helicopters with certain serial-numbered
right-hand (RH) or left-hand (LH) reservoirs installed, within 25 hours
time-in-service (TIS) removing each affected reservoir from service.
For helicopters with certain serial-numbered RH or LH reservoirs
installed, AD 2020-23-07 requires, within 25 TIS or before the
reservoir accumulates 55 hours TIS since first installation on a
helicopter, whichever occurs later, inspecting the valve pull rod of
each reservoir and depending on the inspection results, replacing the
reservoir before further flight. For helicopters with certain other
serial-numbered RH or LH reservoirs installed, AD 2020-23-07 requires
within 25 hours TIS, inspecting the actuator cable of each reservoir
and depending on the inspection results, adjusting the actuator cable
before further flight. Finally, AD 2020-23-07 prohibits installing
certain serial-numbered reservoirs with certain part numbers on any
helicopter and prohibits installing certain other serial-numbered
reservoirs with certain part numbers on any helicopter unless the
actuator cable of the reservoir has been inspected, and if required,
the actuator cable adjusted.
AD 2020-23-07 was prompted by EASA AD 2020-0185, dated August 19,
2020 (EASA AD 2020-0185), 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. Helicopters, formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A,
AgustaWestland S.p.A., Agusta S.p.A.; and AgustaWestland Philadelphia
Corporation, formerly Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Model AB139 and
AW139 helicopters, all serial numbers, if equipped with emergency
flotation kit P/N 4G9560F00111 (15 passengers) or P/N 4G9560F00211 (18
passengers). EASA advised of an inadvertent emergency life raft
activation and deployment event that occurred on a Model AW139
helicopter during flight. EASA advised that following the deployment,
the life raft separated from the helicopter and was lost at sea. EASA
stated that investigation is on-going into the cause of this event and
that Model AB139 helicopters are subject to the same unsafe condition
due to design similarity to the AW139 helicopters. This condition, if
not addressed, could result in further unintended activation and
deployment of the life raft in flight and separation with possible
impact on the rotors, resulting in reduced control of the helicopter.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2020-0185 required for some helicopters,
replacement of affected reservoirs and, for other helicopters,
inspections of the valve pull rod and the actuator cable of the life
raft and, depending on findings, accomplishment of the applicable
corrective actions. EASA AD 2020-0185 also prohibited re-installation
of an affected reservoir on any helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2020-23-07 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2020-23-07, EASA issued AD 2021-0054, dated
February 25, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0054), which supersedes EASA AD 2020-
0185. EASA advises that additional serial-numbered reservoirs are
affected by the same unsafe condition. EASA also advises Leonardo
Helicopters issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 139-662, dated
February 15, 2021 (ASB 139-662), which includes a Table listing the
serial numbers of the additional batch of affected reservoirs and
provides additional replacement and inspection instructions.
Furthermore, EASA advises some of the affected reservoirs could become
serviceable after an inspection and after these reservoirs are re-
identified and marked with an ``R.'' Accordingly, EASA AD 2021-0054
retains the requirements of EASA AD 2020-0185, expands the batch of
affected reservoirs to include the additional affected reservoirs, and
includes the updated service information.
After AD 2020-23-07 was issued, the FAA determined the total number
of affected helicopters stated in the Cost of Compliance paragraph in
AD 2020-23-07 was estimated as the total number of U.S. registered
Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters. However, the FAA
revised the Cost of Compliance paragraph in this proposed AD to the
total number of helicopters that the type certificate holder estimated
as having an affected emergency flotation kit installed. The FAA has
also updated the cost information for the parts cost estimates.
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 products of the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Leonardo Helicopters ASB No. 139-648, dated August
10, 2020 (referred to as ``ASB 139-648 First Issue'') and ASB No. 139-
648, Revision A, dated February 15, 2021 (ASB 139-648 Rev A). ASB 139-
648 First Issue specifies procedures to replace certain reservoirs and
return them to the supplier, inspect the valve pull rod by measuring
the actuator cable between the face of the pull rod and the back of the
valve cap, inspect the actuator cable by verifying the presence of a
clearance between the sphere at the end of the actuator cable and the
activation system, and adjust the actuator cable. ASB 139-648 Rev A
specifies the same procedures as ASB 139-648 First Issue, except ASB
139-648 Rev A includes a Note clarifying that LH and RH reservoirs with
S/Ns marked (or recorded on the component Log Card) with the suffix
``R'' after the S/N are not affected by Part I of ASB 139-648 Rev A,
even if they have an S/N listed in Table 1 of ASB 139-648 Rev A.
The FAA also reviewed ASB 139-662, which specifies additional
serial-numbered reservoirs that are affected by the same unsafe
condition. ASB 139-662 also provides additional actuator cable
inspection procedures for these affected reservoirs.
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.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would retain all of the requirements of AD 2020-
23-07 and would expand the required actions to include the additional
serial-numbered reservoirs identified in ASB 139-662. This proposed AD
would also allow alternative service information to be used for
specific portions of certain inspections and corrective action. This
proposed AD would add an exemption from certain required actions for
reservoirs marked with an ``R'' after the S/N.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and EASA AD 2021-0054
EASA AD 2021-0054 uses flight hours (FH) for certain compliance
times, whereas this proposed AD would use hours TIS. EASA AD 2021-0054
specifies the compliance time for certain serial-numbered reservoirs to
be replaced is within 25 FH after August 26, 2020 (the effective date
of EASA AD 2020-0185), whereas this proposed AD would require certain
serial-numbered reservoirs to be removed from service within 25 hours
TIS after December 4, 2020 (the effective date of AD 2020-23-07). EASA
AD 2021-0054 specifies the compliance time for certain serial-numbered
reservoirs to be replaced is within 25 FH after March 4, 2021 (the
effective date of EASA AD 2021-0054), whereas this proposed AD would
require certain serial-numbered reservoirs to be removed from service
within 25 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD.
EASA AD 2021-0054 specifies the compliance time to inspect the
valve pull rod for certain helicopters is after replacement of the
affected reservoir and within 5 FH after the serviceable reservoir
exceeds 50 FH since installation, whereas this proposed AD would
require the valve pull rod inspection for certain helicopters within 25
hours TIS or before the reservoir accumulates 55 total hours TIS since
first installation on a helicopter, whichever occurs later after
December 4, 2020 (the effective date of AD 2020-23-07).
EASA AD 2021-0054 specifies the compliance time to inspect the
actuator cable for certain helicopters is before next flight after the
replacement of the affected reservoir and for certain other helicopters
within 25 FH after August 26, 2020 (the effective date of EASA AD 2020-
0185), whereas this proposed AD would require the actuator cable
inspection for certain helicopters within 25 hours TIS after December
4, 2020 (the effective date of AD 2020-23-07).
EASA AD 2021-0054 requires returning removed reservoirs to the
supplier, whereas this proposed AD would require removing certain
reservoirs from service and replacing other reservoirs instead.
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.
Replacing a reservoir would take about 1 work-hour and parts would
cost up to $3,710 for an estimated cost of up to $3,795 per reservoir.
Inspecting the valve pull rod of a reservoir would take about 1
work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per reservoir and up to $ 2,550
for the U.S. fleet.
Inspecting an actuator cable would take about 0.25 work-hours for
an estimated cost of $21 per inspection and up to $630 for the U.S.
If required, adjusting an actuator cable would take about 0.75
work-hour for an estimated cost of $64 per cable.
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
(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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2020-23-07, Amendment 39-21323 (85
FR 73610, November 19, 2020); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: