DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2023-1894; Project Identifier MCAI-2022-00334-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 all Leonardo S.p.a. Model A109E, A109S, AW109SP, A119, and AW119
MKII helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by multiple reports of
excessive axial play on the ball bearing of the lower half of the main
rotor (MR) rotating scissor assembly. This proposed AD would require
one-time scissor coupling and axial play inspections and repetitive
quantitative axial play inspections and, depending on the results,
additional inspections and replacing certain parts. This proposed AD
would also require reporting information and prohibit installing
certain parts unless certain inspections have been accomplished as
specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which
is proposed for incorporation by reference. 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 November
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 under
Docket No. FAA-2023-1894; 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 EASA material that is identified in this NPRM, 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 the EASA material on the EASA website at ad.easa.europa.eu.
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. The EASA material is also
available at regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-2023-1894.
Other Related Service Information: For Leonardo Helicopters 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) 0031-229046; 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: Jared Hyman, Aviation Safety Engineer,
FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; 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-2023-1894; Project Identifier
MCAI-2022-00334-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
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, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410,
Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (781) 238-7799; email 9-AVS-AIR-BACO
-COS@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is not
specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2022-0037, dated March 7, 2022, and
corrected March 15, 2022 (EASA AD 2022-0037), to correct an unsafe
condition for all Leonardo S.p.A Model A109E, A109LUH, A109S, AW109SP,
A119, and AW119 MKII helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by multiple reports of excessive
axial play on the ball bearing of the lower half of the MR rotating
scissor assembly. In some cases, this resulted in dislodgement of the
ball bearing from its seat. The FAA is proposing this AD to detect and
address any excessive axial play of the MR rotating scissor assembly.
See EASA AD 2022-0037 for additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
For certain applicable model helicopters, EASA AD 2022-0037
requires accomplishing one-time MR rotating scissor coupling and axial
play checks. Depending on the results, EASA AD 2022-0037 requires
repetitively measuring the axial play or replacing certain parts. For
all applicable model helicopters, EASA AD 2022-0037 requires
accomplishing repetitive qualitative and quantitative axial play
checks and, depending on the results, repetitively measuring the axial
play or replacing certain parts. Furthermore, EASA AD 2022-0037
requires reporting certain information to the manufacturer and
prohibits installing certain parts on any helicopter unless the part
has passed required inspections.
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 Alert Service Bulletin
(ASB) No. 109EP-177, Leonardo Helicopters ASB No. 109S-105, Leonardo
Helicopters ASB No. 109SP-149, and Leonardo Helicopters ASB No. 119-
111, each Revision A and dated March 3, 2022. This service information
specifies procedures for inspecting the MR rotating scissor coupling
and axial play, measuring the axial play, inspecting the qualitative
axial play, inspecting the quantitative axial play, and replacing
components of the MR rotating scissor assembly (scissor bracket flange
assembly, rotary scissor sleeve, lower scissor lever assembly, and
upper scissor lever assembly) and bushings.
These products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design
Authority, it has notified the FAA of the unsafe condition described in
its AD described above. The FAA is issuing this NPRM after determining
that the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or
develop in other products of the same type designs.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2022-0037, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under
``Differences Between this Proposed AD and the EASA AD.''
Explanation of Required Compliance Information
In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD
process, the FAA developed a process to use some civil aviation
authority (CAA) ADs as the primary source of information for compliance
with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has been
coordinating this process with manufacturers and CAAs. As a result, the
FAA proposes to incorporate EASA AD 2022-0037 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2022-0037 in its entirety through that incorporation, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading
of a particular section in EASA AD 2022-0037 does not mean that
operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD
requirement refers to ``all required actions and compliance times,''
compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section
titled ``Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)'' in EASA AD 2022-
0037. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2022-0037 for
compliance will be available at regulations.gov under Docket No. FAA-
2023-1894 after the FAA final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
EASA AD 2022-0037 applies to Model A109LUH helicopters, whereas
this proposed AD would not because that model is not FAA-type
certificated. EASA AD 2022-0037 refers to several actions as a
``check,'' whereas this proposed AD would refer to those actions as an
``inspection'' instead because those actions must be accomplished by
persons authorized under 14 CFR 43.3. EASA AD 2022-0037 requires
discarding certain parts, whereas this proposed AD would require
removing those parts from service instead.
Service information referenced in EASA AD 2022-0037 specifies to
contact Leonardo Helicopters for instructions as a result of certain M/
R rotating scissor maximum torque force check (inspection) results,
whereas this proposed AD would require accomplishing corrective action
in accordance with a method approved by the FAA, EASA, or Leonardo
S.p.a. Helicopters' EASA Design Organization Approval. EASA AD 2022-
0037 requires interpreting the MR rotating scissor coupling and axial
play inspection results (PASSED or FAILED) by using its required
service information, whereas this proposed AD would require
interpreting those results by using tables in the body of this proposed
AD and recorded results of certain inspections. Furthermore, if the
scissor coupling inspection result is an ``UNCERTAIN RESULT,'' the
service information referenced in EASA AD 2022-0037 specifies
contacting Leonardo Helicopters, whereas this proposed AD would
consider an ``UNCERTAIN RESULT'' as ``FAILED.''
EASA AD 2022-0037 requires accomplishing repetitive qualitative
axial play checks, whereas this proposed AD would not. EASA AD 2022-
0037 requires quantitative axial play checks within intervals not to
exceed 200 flight hours, whereas this proposed AD would require
quantitative axial play inspections within intervals not to exceed 55
hours time-in-service. The service information referenced in EASA AD
2022-0037 cautions that only approved personnel are permitted to
perform the bushing replacement, whereas this proposed AD would not
include that caution.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 204 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.
The one-time MR rotating scissor coupling and axial play
inspections would take about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170
per helicopter and up to $34,680 for the U.S. fleet.
A quantitative axial play inspection would take about 1 work-hour
for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $17,340 for the U.S.
fleet per inspection cycle.
Measuring the axial play would take about 1 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $17,340 for the U.S. fleet per
Certain corrective action that may be needed as a result of an
inspection could vary significantly from helicopter to helicopter. The
FAA has no data to determine the costs to accomplish the corrective
action or the number of helicopters that may require corrective action.
Replacing the scissor bracket flange assembly would take about 4
work-hours and parts would cost about $8,099-11,574 (depending on part
number) for an estimated cost of $8,439-11,914 per replacement.
Alternatively, replacing its bushings would take about 2 work-hours and
parts would cost about $225 for an estimated cost of $395 per
Replacing each rotary scissor sleeve would take about 2 work-hours
and parts would cost about $565 for an estimated cost of $735 per
Replacing the lower scissor lever assembly (including the washer
and retaining bolt) would take about 2 work-hours and parts would cost
about $3,308-3,385 (depending on part number) for an estimated cost of
$3,478-3,555 per replacement. Alternatively, replacing its bushings
would take about 2 work-hours and parts would cost about $225 for an
estimated cost of $395 per replacement.
Replacing the upper scissor lever assembly would take about 2 work-
hours and parts would cost about $2,219-3,015 (depending on part
number) for an estimated cost of $2,389-3,185 per replacement.
Alternatively, replacing its bushings would take about 2 work-hours and
parts would cost about $225 for an estimated cost of $395 per
Reporting the inspection results to the manufacturer would take
about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per report.
The FAA has included all known costs in its cost estimate.
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to take
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the
collection of information. All responses to this collection of
information are mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including
suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Information Collection
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
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