Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Document Statistics
Document page views are updated periodically throughout the day and are cumulative counts for this document. Counts are subject to sampling, reprocessing and revision (up or down) throughout the day.
Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble Start Printed Page 40962

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139, AW139, AB412, and AB412 EP helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by failure of an Emergency Flotation System (EFS) float compartment to inflate during maintenance of the EFS. This proposed AD would require inspecting certain EFSs and depending on the results, marking certain parts or removing certain parts from service, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). 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 September 13, 2021.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://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: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For EASA material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find the EASA material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. For Leonardo Helicopters and Safran 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 +39-0331-229046; or at https://customerportal.leonardocompany.com/​en-US/​. 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 in the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0608.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0608; 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. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email andrea.jimenez@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

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-2021-0608; Project Identifier 2019-SW-119-AD” 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 https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.

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 Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email andrea.jimenez@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Background

EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2019-0311, dated December 19, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0311), to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.A., formerly Finmeccanica Helicopter Division, AgustaWestland, Agusta S.p.A. Model AB139, AW139, AB412, and AB412EP helicopters.Start Printed Page 40963

This proposed AD was prompted failure of an EFS float compartment to inflate during maintenance of the EFS. The FAA is proposing this AD to address a blocked float supply hose. The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in partial inflation of an EFS float during an emergency landing on water and subsequently preventing a timely egress from the helicopter, which could result in injury to helicopter occupants. See EASA AD 2019-0311 for additional background information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies inspecting certain EFSs and depending on the results, marking a float supply hose with a green heat shrinkable sleeve if the float supply hose passes an inspection, replacing the float supply hose with a serviceable float supply hose. EASA AD 2019-0311 also prohibits installing a float supply hose unless it passes the inspection and is re-identified.

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 reviewed Safran Service Bulletin 025-69-19, Revision 00, dated November 22, 2019 (SB 025-69-19), which is attached as Annex A to Leonardo Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 139-610 and Emergency ASB No. 412-157, each dated December 17, 2019. SB 025-69-19 specifies procedures for inspecting for blockage through the float supply hoses of the EFS inflation system.

FAA's Determination

These products have been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in EASA AD 2019-0311. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all the relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these same type designs.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2019-0311, 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 2019-0311 by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2019-0311 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 2019-0311 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 2019-0311. Service information specified in EASA AD 2019-0311 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2019-0311 will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0608 after the FAA final rule is published.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

EASA AD 2019-0311 requires inspecting each affected part in Group A within 400 flight hours (FH) or 12 months, whichever occurs first, whereas this proposed AD would require inspecting each affected part in that group within 100 hours time-in-service instead. EASA AD 2019-0311 requires inspecting each affected part in Group C within 300 FH or during the next scheduled “18 months” inspection, whichever occurs first, whereas this proposed AD would require inspecting each affected part in that group within 15 hours time-in-service instead to address the unsafe condition as soon as practical as there are no Group C aircraft registered in the U.S.; the proposed compliance time matches those same model aircraft found in Group D. Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies “operator able to perform the EFS maintenance in accordance with Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) or Aircraft Maintenance Publication (AMP) can perform the procedure defined in this Service Bulletin,” this proposed AD would require that the work be accomplished by a mechanic that meets the requirements of 14 CFR part 65 subpart D. Where EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies replacing an affected float supply hose that fails the inspection, this proposed AD would require removing the float supply hose from service instead.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 129 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.

Inspecting each EFS supply hose would take about 0.25 work-hour for an estimated cost of $21 per hose. Re-identifying each EFS supply hose would take a minimal amount of time at a nominal cost.

Replacing an EFS supply hose would take up to 8 work-hours and parts would cost between $2,500 and $9,500 for a set of float supply hoses, for an estimated cost of up to $10,180 per helicopter.

According to Safran's service information, some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty coverage by Safran; accordingly, all costs are included in this 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.

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 Start Printed Page 40964develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

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 regulation:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

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

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

End Part Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part Start Authority

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

End Authority
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part

Leonardo S.p.a.: Docket No. FAA-2021-0608; Project Identifier 2019-SW-119-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by September 13, 2021.

(b) Affected Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Leonardo S.p.a. Model AB139, AW139, AB412, and AB412 EP, helicopters, certificated in any category, with an affected part as identified in European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2019-0311, dated December 19, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0311), installed.

(d) Subject

Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code: 3212, Emergency Flotation Section.

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by failure of an Emergency Flotation System (EFS) float compartment to inflate during maintenance of the EFS. The FAA is issuing this AD to address a blocked float supply hose. The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in partial inflation of an EFS float during an emergency landing on water and subsequently preventing a timely egress from the helicopter, which could result in injury to helicopter occupants.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Requirements

Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all required actions and compliance times specified in, and in accordance with, EASA AD 2019-0311.

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2019-0311

(1) Where EASA AD 2019-0311 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) Where EASA AD 2019-0311 requires compliance in terms of flight hours, this AD requires using hours time-in-service (TIS).

(3) Where paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2019-0311 requires inspecting each affected part within the compliance time specified in Table 2 of its AD, this AD requires:

(i) Inspecting each affected part in Group A within 100 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD.

(ii) Inspecting each affected part in Group C within 15 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD.

(4) Where the service information referenced in paragraph (1) of EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies “operator able to perform the EFS maintenance in accordance with Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) or Aircraft Maintenance Publication (AMP) can perform the procedure defined in this Service Bulletin,” this AD requires that the work be accomplished by a mechanic that meets the requirements of 14 CFR part 65 subpart D.

(5) Where paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies replacing an EFS supply hose that fails the inspection, this AD requires removing the hose from service.

(6) This AD does not require the “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2019-0311.

(i) No Reporting Requirement

Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2019-0311 specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement.

(j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the International Validation Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(k) Related Information

(1) For EASA AD 2019-0311, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https://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. This material may be found in the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0608.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email andrea.jimenez@faa.gov.

Start Signature

Issued on July 23, 2021.

Lance T. Gant,

Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-16168 Filed 7-29-21; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P