DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-0818; Project Identifier AD-2022-00299-R;
Amendment 39-22296; AD 2023-01-02]
Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Leonardo S.p.a. Model A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109E,
A109K2, A109S, and AW109SP helicopters modified by Supplemental Type
Certificate (STC) SR01812LA. This AD was prompted by a report of
certain floats not deploying due to a faulty plunger assembly. This AD
requires repairing or replacing certain float assemblies. The FAA is
issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective February 17, 2023.
AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket at 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 final rule, 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.
Related Service Information:
For DART Aerospace service information identified in this
final rule, contact Apical Industries, Inc., Jason Gardiner, 3030
Enterprise Ct., Vista, CA 92081, United States; phone: (760) 542-2096;
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: 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.
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 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Leonardo S.p.a. Model
A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109E, A109K2, A109S, and AW109SP
helicopters, modified by STC SR01812LA with A109 Float (with/without
Liferafts System) DART Aerospace 634.4100 Kit Series part number (P/N)
634.4101, 634.4102, 634.4103, 634.4104, 634.4106, or 634.4107 with
float assembly P/N 644.0501, 644.0502, 644.0503, 644.0504, 644.0505, or
644.0506 installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July
12, 2022 (87 FR 41263).
The NPRM was prompted by a report, received by the FAA, 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 of the
plunger assembly in 2009 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 bottoming 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, A109E, A109K2, A109S, and
AW109SP helicopters modified by STC SR01812LA. In the NPRM, the FAA
proposed to require repairing or replacing affected float assemblies
with a method approved by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA. The
FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive
The FAA received a comment from one commenter, Bristow Group Inc.
(VTOL). The following presents the comment received on the NPRM and the
FAA's response to the comment.
Request for Credit for Compliance With Service Information
Bristow Group Inc. (VTOL) requested clarification regarding if
credit will be given for previous compliance with DART SB2021-05.
The FAA agrees to allow credit for the accomplishment of DART
Aerospace Service Bulletin SB2021-05, Revision N/C, dated December 6,
2021, provided those actions were accomplished prior to the effective
date of this AD. Accordingly, the FAA has added the Credit for Previous
Actions paragraph in this final rule.
The FAA reviewed the relevant data, considered any comments
received, 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 products. Except for minor editorial changes and any
other changes described previously, this AD is adopted as proposed in
the NPRM. None of the changes will increase the economic burden on any
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB2021-05,
Revision N/C, dated December 6, 2021. This service bulletin specifies
replacing certain serial-numbered float assemblies or, if the serial
number is not listed in the service bulletin, contacting DART to verify
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 Aerospace 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
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 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
Replacing each float assembly takes 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 required actions; however,
according to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this 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
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 adding the following new airworthiness