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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Model AB139 and AW139 Helicopters

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Agusta S.p.A. (Agusta) Model AB139 and AW139 helicopters. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The aviation authority of Italy, with which we have a bilateral agreement, states in the MCAI that during the installation of a fire extinguisher bottle on a new helicopter, it was found that the electrical receptacle/connectors on the bottle which commands the firing of the extinguishing agent were swapped between engines No. 1 and No. 2. This condition could affect helicopters already in service and fire extinguisher bottles of the same part number in stock as spare parts. If not corrected, an improperly wired fire extinguishing bottle might cause the extinguishing agent to be discharged toward the unselected engine when the system is activated, rather than toward the engine with the fire. The proposed AD would require determining if each engine has the proper outlet end on the electrical receptacle/connector that attaches the firing cartridge to the fire extinguisher bottle, and if not, replacing the fire extinguisher bottle. The proposed AD is intended to prevent the fire extinguishing agent from not discharging toward the engine with the fire, which could result in loss of the helicopter due to an engine fire.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 8, 2009.

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ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You may get the service information identified in this proposed AD from Agusta, Via Giovanni Agusta, 520 21017 Cascina Costa di Samarate (VA), Italy, telephone 39 0331-229111, fax 39 0331-229605/222595, or at http://customersupport.agusta.com/​technical_​advice.php.

Examining the Docket: You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

John Strasburger, Aviation Safety Engineer FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Policy Group, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5167; fax (817) 222-5961.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2009-0168; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-33-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

The Ente Nazionale Per L'Aviazione Civile, which is the aviation authority for Italy, has issued an MCAI in the form of Airworthiness Directive No. 2007-227, dated June 18, 2007, (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for these Italian-certificated products. The MCAI states that during the installation of a fire extinguisher bottle, part number (P/N) 3G2620V00131, on a helicopter during manufacture, it was found that the electrical receptacle/connectors on the bottle which commands the firing of the extinguishing were swapped between engines No. 1 and No. 2. This condition could affect helicopters already in service and fire extinguisher bottles of the same part number in stock as spare parts. If not corrected, an improperly wired fire extinguishing bottle might cause the extinguishing agent to be discharged toward the unselected engine when the system is activated, rather than toward the engine with the fire. The proposed AD would require determining if each engine has the proper outlet end on the electrical receptacle/connector that attaches the firing cartridge to the fire extinguisher bottle, and if not, replacing the fire extinguisher bottle. The proposed AD is intended to prevent the fire extinguishing agent from not discharging toward the engine with the fire, which could result in loss of the helicopter due to an engine fire.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI and service information in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Agusta has issued Bollettino Tecnico No. 139-085, dated May 18, 2007. The actions described in the MCAI are intended to correct the same unsafe condition as that identified in the service information.

FAA's Determination and Proposed Requirements

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of Italy, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and the service information. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI

We have reviewed the MCAI and related service information and, in general, agree with their substance. However, our AD differs from the MCAI to clarify the unsafe condition and compliance instructions. In making these changes, we do not intend to differ substantively from the information provided in the MCAI and related service information. These differences are highlighted in the “Differences Between the FAA AD and the MCAI” section in the proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 20 helicopters of U.S. registry and that it would take about 1 work-hour per helicopter to verify the correct installation of electrical receptacles/connectors on the two fire extinguisher bottles. We also estimate that it would take about 3 work-hours per helicopter to replace a fire extinguisher bottle with the inverted electrical receptacles/connectors and that about 5% (2 bottles) of the fire extinguisher bottles in the fleet would have to be replaced. The cost of a replacement fire extinguisher bottle is $10,300. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $22,680.

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.

We are 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.

Regulatory Findings

We 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 Start Printed Page 9973distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

1. Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866;

2. Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); 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.

We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Agusta S.p.A.: Docket No. FAA-2009-0168; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-33-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by April 8, 2009.

Other Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Model AB139 helicopters, serial number (S/N) 31005 through 31054, except S/N 31007, and AW139 helicopters, S/N 31055 through 31067, S/N 31070, and S/N 31071, certificated in any category.

Reason

(d) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states that during the installation of a fire extinguisher bottle, part number 3G2620V00131, on a helicopter during manufacture, it was found that the electrical receptacle/connectors on the bottle which commands the firing of the extinguishing agent were swapped between engines No. 1 and No. 2. This condition could affect helicopters already in service and fire extinguisher bottles of the same part number in stock as spare parts. If not corrected, an improperly wired fire extinguishing bottle might cause the extinguishing agent to be discharged toward the unselected engine when the system is activated, rather than toward the engine with the fire. The proposed AD would require determining if each engine has the proper outlet end on the electrical receptacle/connector that attaches the firing cartridge to the fire extinguisher bottle, and if not, replacing the fire extinguisher bottle. The proposed AD is intended to prevent the fire extinguishing agent from not discharging toward the engine with the fire, which could result in loss of the helicopter due to an engine fire.

Actions and Compliance

(e) Within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 3 months, whichever occurs first, unless already done, do the following actions.

(1) Determine whether the fire extinguishing bottle (bottle) for engines No. 1 and No. 2 have the proper outlet end on the electrical receptacle/connector, which attaches the firing cartridge to the bottle, by following steps 4. and 5. of the Compliance Instructions in Agusta Bollettino Tecnico No. 139-085, dated May 18, 2007 (BT).

(2) If a bottle has an electrical receptacle/connector for the firing cartridge with an improper outlet end, before further flight, replace the bottle with a bottle that has an electrical receptacle/connector with a proper outlet end in accordance with step 6. of the Compliance Instructions in the BT.

Differences Between the FAA AD and the MCAI

(f) This AD uses the term “hours time-in-service” rather than “flight hours.”

Other FAA Information

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, ATTN: John Strasburger, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Policy Group, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111; telephone (817) 222-5167; fax (817) 222-5961, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

Related Information

(h) MCAI Ente Nazionale Per L'Aviazione Civile Airworthiness Directive No. 2007-227, dated June 18, 2007, contains related information.

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Tracking Code

(i) ATA Code 2621: Fire Bottle, Fixed.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 19, 2009.

Scott A. Horn,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E9-4943 Filed 3-6-09; 8:45 am]

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