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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A.

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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. Model A109S helicopters. This proposed AD is prompted by a report of a cabin liner detaching from the helicopter and hitting the main rotor (M/R) blades during flight. This proposed AD would require adding limitations to the rotorcraft flight manual (RFM). The proposed actions are intended to prevent an unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by June 9, 2017.

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 by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0142; 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 European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) 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.

For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact AgustaWestland, Product Support Engineering, Via del Gregge, 100, 21015 Lonate Pozzolo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Maurizio D'Angelo; telephone 39-0331-664757; fax 39 0331-664680; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/​technical-bulletins. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email matthew.fuller@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.Start Printed Page 17157

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 rulemaking. 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

EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2015-0227, dated November 19, 2015, to correct an unsafe condition for AgustaWestland S.p.A. Model A109S helicopters. EASA advises of a report that the right-hand lower cabin liner of Internal Arrangement part number (P/N) 109-0814-21-101 detached and hit three main rotor blades during a landing with the right-hand door removed. EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to further occurrences of in-flight lower cabin liner detachment, possibly resulting in damage to or loss of control of the helicopter. Therefore, the EASA AD requires revising the RFM to provide limitations on flights with a passenger cabin sliding door opened or removed. EASA considers its AD an interim action and states further AD action may follow.

FAA's Determination

This helicopter has been approved by the aviation authority of Italy and is 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 helicopters of the same type design.

Related Service Information

We reviewed AgustaWestland A109S RFM, Document No. 109G0040A013, Issue 2, Revision 3, dated April 23, 2015, which adds several limitations regarding flight with a passenger cabin sliding door opened or removed.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require, within 15 hours time-in-service, revising the Limitations section of the RFM by inserting a copy of this AD or by making pen-and-ink changes to add several limitations: Prohibiting flight with a passenger cabin sliding door opened or removed for helicopters with Internal Arrangement P/N 109-0814-21-101 installed; prohibiting flight with a passenger cabin sliding door open unless modification P/N 109-0814-35 is installed; prohibiting flight with a passenger cabin sliding door open unless the doors are locked; establishing a maximum VNE with a passenger cabin sliding door opened or removed; establishing a maximum airspeed for opening or closing a passenger cabin sliding door during flight; and prohibiting instrument flight rule operation with any door opened or removed.

Interim Action

We consider this proposed AD to be an interim action. The design approval holder is currently developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional rulemaking.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 19 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour, revising the RFM would take about 0.5 work-hour, for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter, or $817 for the U.S. fleet.

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 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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
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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.: Docket No. FAA-2017-0142; Directorate Identifier 2016-SW-013-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Model A109S helicopters, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as detachment of an internal arrangement lower cabin liner. This condition could result in damage to a main rotor blade and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by June 9, 2017.

(d) 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.Start Printed Page 17158

(e) Required Actions

Within 15 hours time-in-service, revise Section 1 Limitations of the AgustaWestland Model A109S Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM) by inserting a copy of this AD into the RFM or by making pen-and-ink changes to add the information in Figure 1 to paragraph (e) of this AD.

(f) Credit for Previous Actions

Incorporating the changes contained in AgustaWestland A109S RFM, Document No. 109G0040A013, Issue 2, Revision 3, dated April 23, 2015, into Section 1 of the RFM before the effective date of this AD is considered acceptable for compliance with this AD.

(g) Special Flight Permits

Special flight permits are prohibited.

(h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 9-ASW-FTW-AMOC-Requests@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.

(i) Additional Information

(1) AgustaWestland A109S RFM Document No. 109G0040A013, Issue 2, Revision 3, dated April 23, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact AgustaWestland, Product Support Engineering, Via del Gregge, 100, 21015 Lonate Pozzolo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Maurizio D'Angelo; telephone 39-0331-664757; fax 39 0331-664680; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/​technical-bulletins. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

(2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2015-0227, dated November 19, 2015. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

(j) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2500 Cabin Equipment/Furnishings.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 31, 2017.

Scott A. Horn,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2017-06961 Filed 4-7-17; 8:45 am]

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