DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2023-0018; Project Identifier AD-2022-00883-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2022-02-01, which applies to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-92A
helicopters with certain part-numbered main rotor stationary swashplate
assemblies (swashplate assemblies) that have accumulated 1,600 or more
total hours time-in-service (TIS) installed. AD 2022-02-01 requires
visually inspecting the swashplate assembly at specified intervals and
depending on the results, removing the swashplate assembly from
service. Since the FAA issued AD 2022-02-01, the FAA determined it was
necessary to expand the applicability and require more detailed
inspections to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would
retain the actions of AD 2022-02-01, expand the applicability, add a
detailed recurring visual inspection, and require either eddy current
inspections (ECI) or fluorescent penetrant inspections (FPI). 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 March
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 regulations.gov. Follow
the 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.
AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket at regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2023-0018; 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.
Material Incorporated by Reference:
For Sikorsky service information identified in this NPRM,
contact your local Sikorsky Field Representative or Sikorsky's Service
Engineering Group at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Mailstop K100, 124
Quarry Road, Trumbull, CT 06611; telephone 1-800-946-4337 (1-800-
Winged-S); email firstname.lastname@example.org. Operators may
also log on to the Sikorsky 360 website at sikorsky360.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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jared Hyman, Aerospace Engineer,
Boston ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1200
District Avenue, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-
7799; email: 9-AVS-AIR-BACO-COS@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-2023-0018; Project Identifier
AD-2022-00883-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
the 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
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 Jared
Hyman, Aerospace Engineer, Boston ACO Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington,
Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7799; email:
9-AVS-AIR-BACO-COS@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which
specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for
The FAA issued AD 2022-02-01, Amendment 39-21898 (87 FR 2316,
January 14, 2022) (AD 2022-02-01), for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Model S-92A helicopters with a swashplate assembly part number (P/N)
92104-15011-042 or P/N 92104-15011-043 that has accumulated 1,600 or
more total hours TIS, installed. AD 2022-02-01 was prompted by a
notification of an in-service crack in a swashplate assembly inner
ring. The crack, discovered during a routine inspection, extended
between the uniball bore and
near the right-hand trunnion to servo attach bolt hole. This condition,
if not detected and corrected, could result in fretting wear on the
shoulder that supports the clamp-up of the uniball outer race, failure
of the swashplate assembly, and subsequent loss of control of the
helicopter. AD 2022-02-01 requires, within 50 hours TIS and thereafter
at intervals not to exceed 50 hours TIS, visually inspecting the upper
and lower surfaces of the swashplate assembly for a crack, nick, dent,
and scratch. If there is a crack, nick, dent, or scratch that exceeds
allowable limits, AD 2022-02-01 requires removing the swashplate
assembly from service before further flight. The agency issued AD 2022-
02-01 to address the unsafe condition on these products.
Actions Since AD 2022-02-01 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2022-02-01, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
issued Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin ASB 92-62-010,
Basic Issue, dated January 26, 2022 (ASB 92-62-010), for Sikorsky
Aircraft Corporation Model S-92A helicopters with serial numbers 920006
and subsequent equipped with swashplate assembly P/N 92104-15011-042 or
P/N 92104-15011-043, delivered as of January 26, 2022 (the issuance
date of ASB 92-62-010). ASB 92-62-010 specifies a visual inspection of
the swashplate assembly for cracks followed by recurring 50-hour
inspections. Depending on the accrued flight time, maximum gross
weight, or suspicion of cracks, ASB 92-62-010 specifies performing
either an FPI or ECI. Prior to the FAA issuing AD 2022-02-01, Sikorsky
Aircraft provided a comment to the NPRM (86 FR 47041, August 23, 2021)
for that AD stating that the 50-hour recurring inspections proposed in
the NPRM were insufficient based on recent fatigue evaluations, which
had introduced a new failure mode. Sikorsky Aircraft further stated
that this new failure mode requires improved detection capability,
which would be introduced in a forthcoming revision to Sikorsky S-92
Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin ASB 92-62-009, Basic Issue, dated
February 6, 2019 (ASB 92-62-009). Sikorsky Aircraft explained that the
planned revision would specify special inspections at 50-hour, 375-
hour, and 1,500-hour intervals to visually detect a potential fatigue
crack at specific regions of the swashplate and would include criteria
for when to accomplish an FPI or ECI. Since providing that comment,
Sikorsky Aircraft has updated its guidance and retained ASB 92-62-009
and issued ASB 92-62-010. The special 375-hour and 1,500-hour
inspections with added specific focus on the swashplate region were
incorporated into the maintenance manual and not into a service
bulletin. Based on continued analysis, the FAA has determined that the
unsafe condition could exist on swashplate assemblies regardless of
accumulated usage and accordingly has expanded the applicability of
this proposed AD. In addition, the FAA has determined it is necessary
to require more detailed inspections to address the new failure mode.
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 design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed ASB 92-62-010, which specifies a visual inspection
of the swashplate assembly to determine if there are any cracks and
initiates a 50-hour recurring visual inspection. If cracks are found,
ASB 92-62-010 specifies replacing the swashplate assembly. Dependent on
accrued flight time or suspicion of cracks, an FPI or ECI is performed.
ASB 92-62-010 also specifies returning the swashplate assembly, uniball
bearing, trunnions, and all attachment hardware to Sikorsky for
investigation if cracks are found.
This proposed AD would also require ASB 92-62-009, which the
Director of the Federal Register approved for incorporation by
reference as of February 18, 2022 (87 FR 2316, January 14, 2022).
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 ADDRESSES.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would continue to require, for swashplate
assemblies that have accumulated 1,600 or more total hours TIS, certain
recurring visual inspections. This proposed AD would also expand the
visual inspections required by AD 2022-02-01 and revise the
applicability statement of AD 2022-02-01. This proposed AD would
require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information
already described, except as discussed under ``Differences Between this
AD and the Service Information.''
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information
The applicability statement in this proposed AD does not identify
airframe serial numbers, whereas the effectivity of ASB 92-62-010 does.
This proposed AD would affect all swashplate assemblies P/N 92104-
15011-042 and P/N 92104-15011-043 regardless of delivery date, whereas
the effectivity of ASB 92-62-010 is for those part-numbered swashplate
assemblies delivered as of January 26, 2022 (the issuance date of ASB
92-62-010). ASB 92-62-009 specifies a one-time visual inspection of the
swashplate assembly; this proposed AD would require recurring visual
inspections of the swashplate assembly to determine if any crack, nick,
dent, or scratch develops over time. This proposed AD does not require
returning parts to or contacting Sikorsky, while ASB 92-62-009 and ASB
92-62-010 specify performing those actions.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 89 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following
costs to comply with this proposed AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Visually inspecting a swashplate assembly would take about 1.0
work-hour, for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $7,565 for
the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Performing an ECI or FPI would take about 8.0 work-hours, for an
estimated cost of $680 per helicopter and $60,520 for the U.S. fleet,
per inspection cycle.
Replacing the swashplate assembly, if required, would take about 16
work-hours and parts cost about $389,720, for an estimated cost of
$391,080 per helicopter.
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 that the 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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2022-02-01, Amendment 39-21898 (87
FR 2316, January 14, 2022); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: