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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Helicopters (Type Certificate Currently Held By AgustaWestland S.P.A) (AgustaWestland)

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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 AgustaWestland Model A109S, AW109SP, A119, and AW119 MKII helicopters to require removing certain rod end assemblies from service. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of fractures on the rod end assemblies that could damage the main rotor assembly and lead to loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 23, 2013.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD 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, the foreign authority's AD, 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.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Agusta Westland, Customer Support & Services, Via Per Tornavento 15, 21019 Somma Lombardo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Giovanni Cecchelli; telephone 39- 0331-711133; fax 39 0331 711180; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/​technical-bullettins. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone 817-222-5110; email robert.grant@faa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rule. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2012-0208, dated October 5, 2012, to correct an unsafe condition for the AgustaWestland Model A109LUH, A109S, AW109SP, A119, and AW119 MKII helicopters. EASA advises that cases of in-flight fractures of rod end assembly, part number (P/N) M004-01H007-045, installed on main rotor lag dampers have been reported on Model A109LUH and AW109SP helicopters. An investigation revealed that two batches of rod end assemblies, P/N M004-01H007-041 and M004-01H007-045, could have cracks, according to EASA. EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to main rotor damage, possibly resulting in loss of control of the helicopter.

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of Italy and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with Italy, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information

AgustaWestland issued Bollettino Tecnico (BT) No. 109S-49 for Model A109S helicopters, BT No. 109SP-052 for Model AW109SP helicopters, and BT No. 119-50 for Model AW119 and AW119 MKII helicopters. All of the BTs are dated October 3, 2012. The BTs specify a one-time inspection of each rod end assembly, P/Ns M004-01H007-041 and M004-01H007-045, to determine its serial number. The BTs then require removal from service of certain serial-numbered rod end assemblies because fractures had been reported on rod ends in these batches. According to the BTs, no one was injured in the helicopters and no helicopters were damaged because of these fractures.

Proposed AD Requirements

Within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS), this proposed AD would require removing each affected rod end assembly from service.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

EASA requires compliance with the inspection and removal of any affected parts from service within 25 hours flight hours or three months. We propose to require removal of the affected parts from service within 25 hours TIS. The EASA AD applies to AgustaWestland Model A109LUH, and this proposed AD would not because that model has no U.S. type certificate.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 91 helicopters of U.S. Start Printed Page 44043Registry and that labor costs average $85 a work-hour. Based on these estimates, we expect the following costs:

  • Replacing a rod end assembly would require 1.5 work-hours for a labor cost of $128. Parts would cost $3,918 for a total cost of $4,046 per helicopter, $368,186 for the U.S. fleet.

According to the manufacturer's service information, costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by manufacturers. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

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 proposed 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 distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed, 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);

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

4. 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

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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]
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2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

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Agusta S.p.A. Helicopters (Type Certificate Currently Held By Agustawestland S.p.A) (AgustaWestland): Docket No. FAA-2013-0643; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-096-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to AgustaWestland Model A109S, AW109SP, A119, and AW119 MKII helicopters with a main rotor lag damper assembly (lag damper), part number (P/N) 109-0112-39-103, 109-0112-39-105, 109-0112-05-105, or 109-0112-05-107, installed with a rod end assembly, P/N M004-01H007-041 or M004-01H007-045, with a serial number (S/N) 84 through 132, or 4964 through 5011, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack in a rod end assembly, which could result in fracture of the rod end assembly, damage to the main rotor, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Compliance

You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

(d) Required Actions

(1) Within 25 hours time-in-service, remove the rod end assembly from service.

(2) Do not install a rod end assembly, P/N M004-01H007-041 or M004-01H007-045, with a S/N 84 through 132 or 4964 through 5011, on any helicopter.

(e) Special flight permit

Special flight permits are prohibited.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone 817-222-5110; email robert.grant@faa.gov.

(2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

(g) Additional Information

(1) AgustaWestland S.p.A. Helicopters Bollettino Tecnico No. 109S-49, No. 109SP-052, and No. 119-50, all dated October 3, 2012, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact AgustaWestland, Customer Support & Services, Via Per Tornavento 15, 21019 Somma Lombardo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Giovanni Cecchelli; telephone 39- 0331-711133; fax 39 0331 711180; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/​technical-bullettins. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth Texas 76137.

(2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency AD No. 2012-0208, dated October 5, 2012. You may view the EASA AD at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating it in Docket No. FAA-2013-0643.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6200, Main Rotor System.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 17, 2013.

Kim Smith,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2013-17617 Filed 7-22-13; 8:45 am]

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