DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2022-1419; Project Identifier MCAI-2022-01002-R;
Amendment 39-22328; AD 2023-03-03]
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)
Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters. This AD was prompted
by a report of a damaged tail rotor duplex bearing (TRDB). This AD
requires repetitively inspecting certain TRDBs and depending on the
results, replacing the TRDB or tail rotor actuator (TRA), or as an
option, replacing the sliding control assembly. This AD also requires
replacing an affected TRDB with a serviceable TRDB at a specified
threshold and prohibits the installation of certain TRDBs or sliding
control assemblies on any helicopter, as specified in a European Union
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective March 23, 2023.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 23,
AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket at regulations.gov under
Docket No. FAA-2022-1419; 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.
Material Incorporated by Reference:
For EASA material that is incorporated by reference in
this final rule, contact EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne,
Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet
easa.europa.eu. You may find this material on the EASA website at
You may view this material 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. It is also available at
regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2022-1419.
Other Related Service Information: For Leonardo 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 customerportal.leonardocompany.com/en-US/. You may
also view this service information at the FAA contact information under
Material Incorporated by Reference above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan McCully, Program Manager,
Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1701 Columbia Ave., Mail Stop: ACO,
College Park, GA 30337; telephone (404) 474-5548; email
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued a series of ADs, with the most recent being
EASA Emergency AD 2022-0182-E, dated August 30, 2022 (EASA AD 2022-
0182-E), to correct an unsafe condition for all serial-numbered
Leonardo S.p.A. Helicopters Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters. EASA AD
2022-0182-E defines the ``affected part'' as TRDB part number (P/N)
3G6430V00151, P/N 3G6430V00152, and P/N 3G6430V00153, the ``affected
TRA'' as TRA P/N 3G6730V00731 and P/N 3G6730V00732, and the ``affected
assembly'' as sliding control assembly P/N 3G6430A02531.
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
AB139 and AW139 helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register
on November 10, 2022 (87 FR 67840). The NPRM was prompted by a report
of a damaged TRDB. According to EASA, after an investigation, it was
determined that the TRDB had been removed from a sliding control
assembly and reinstalled on another sliding control assembly, even
though Aircraft Maintenance Programme procedures do not allow
reinstallation of a removed TRDB. The NPRM proposed to require
accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2022-0182-E.
Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive
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.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2022-0182-E requires repetitively inspecting certain
affected parts, and depending on the results, replacing the affected
part with a serviceable part, and for certain conditions, replacing the
affected TRA or sliding control assembly, as defined therein. EASA AD
2022-0182-E also requires replacing affected parts with serviceable
parts at specified thresholds. Lastly, EASA AD 2022-0182-E prohibits
the installation of certain TRDBs or sliding control assemblies on any
This material 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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA also reviewed Leonardo Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin No. 139-725, Revision A, dated August 9, 2022 (EASB 139-725
Rev A). EASB 139-725 Rev A specifies procedures for inspecting for
rotation between the trunnion and pitch control rod, and applying
slippage marks; inspecting the visible areas of the TRDB (including
seals) for wear, damages, corrosion, particles, grease leakage, grease
leakage particles (including magnetic/metallic particles), and
roughness in its movement; and accomplishing a TRDB operational test.
Finally, EASB 139-725 Rev A specifies procedures for replacing a TRDB
and TRA, discarding the removed TRDB, and sending certain photos and
information to Leonardo S.p.A.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 80 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
Inspecting the TRDB takes up to about 12 work-hours and parts cost
about $100 for an estimated cost of up to $1,120 per helicopter and
$89,600 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle. If required,
replacing a TRDB takes about 3 additional work-hours and parts cost
about $2,100, for an estimated cost of $2,355 per helicopter. Replacing
a TRA takes about 2 additional work-hours and parts cost about $42,802,
for an estimated cost of $42,972 per helicopter. Alternatively,
replacing the sliding control assembly takes about 6 work-hours and
parts cost about $11,500, for an estimated cost of $12,010 per
The FAA has included all known costs in its cost estimate.
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this AD
may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on
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