DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-0818; Project Identifier AD-2022-00299-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 A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2,
A109E, A109S, and AW109SP helicopters modified by Supplemental Type
Certificate (STC) SR01812LA. This proposed AD was prompted by a report
of certain floats not deploying due to a faulty plunger assembly. This
proposed AD would require repairing or replacing certain float
assemblies. 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 August
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
Apical Industries, Inc., Jason Gardiner, 3030 Enterprise Ct., Vista, CA
92081, United States; phone: (760) 542-2096; email:
email@example.com; website: https://www.dartaerospace.com/. 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-2022-0818; 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, any comments
received, and other information. The street address for Docket
Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Johann S. Magana, Aerospace Engineer,
Cabin Safety & Environmental Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch,
Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd.,
Lakewood, CA 90712; telephone (562) 627-5322; email
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-2022-0818; Project Identifier
AD-2022-00299-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
Johann S. Magana, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety & Environmental
Systems Section, Los Angeles ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness
Division, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712; telephone
(562) 627-5322; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the
FAA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed
in the public docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA received a report of two forward floats not deploying after
an inadvertent activation. It was discovered that the plunger assembly
caused the forward floats to not deploy. Further investigation revealed
that a design change in 2009 of the plunger assembly inadvertently
changed the position of the bushing from a press fit to a threaded fit.
The dimensions for the threaded fit were preventing the bushing from
fully clearing the ball bearings when bottom out on the solenoid on the
valve assemblies. The plunger assembly is contained within the float
assembly and reservoir assembly. An emergency float kit consists of
float assemblies, reservoir assemblies, and additional components.
These emergency float kits (634.4100 Kit Series) are installed on
Leonardo S.p.a. Model A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2, A109E,
A109S, and AW109SP helicopters modified by STC SR01812LA; this STC is
held by Apical Industries, Inc., d/b/a DART Aerospace (DART). This
condition, if not addressed, could result in the helicopter either rolling
side or capsizing in an event of an emergency landing on water.
The FAA is issuing this NPRM after determining that the unsafe
condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on other
products of the same type designs.
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed DART Service Bulletin SB2021-05, dated December 6,
2021. This service bulletin specifies replacing certain serial-numbered
float assemblies or, if the serial number is not included as part of
the service bulletin, contacting DART to validate effectivity. The
service bulletin also provides procedures for removing the float
assemblies from the helicopter, discharging the reservoirs, shipping
the float assemblies, and re-installing the float assemblies.
The FAA also reviewed DART's Instructions for Continued
Airworthiness ICA109-1, Rev. U, dated October 27, 2020. This service
information provides description, operation, disassembly, inspection,
assembly, repair, and testing instructions as well as an illustrated
parts list for emergency float kits and emergency float with life raft
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require repairing or replacing each float
assembly part number 644.0501, 644.0502, 644.0503, 644.0504, 644.0505,
or 644.0506 in certain emergency float kits with a method approved by
the Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA. These actions would be
required within 300 hours time-in-service or 6 months after the
effective date of the final rule of this proposed AD, whichever occurs
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 25 helicopters of U.S. registry. Labor rates are estimated at
$85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates the
following costs to comply with this proposed AD.
Replacing each float assembly would take about 4 work-hours for an
estimated cost of $340 per helicopter and up to $8,500 for the U.S.
fleet. The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable the
FAA to provide parts cost estimates for the proposed actions; however,
according to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage for affected operators. As a result, the FAA has included all
known costs in the 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.
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