[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 108 (Friday, June 5, 1998)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30660-30662]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-14912]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 97-SW-55-AD]

Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Model A109C and A109K2 

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).


SUMMARY: This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness 
directive (AD) that is applicable to Agusta S.p.A. Model A109C and 
A109K2 helicopters. This proposal would require removing the main rotor 
pitch link assemblies, measuring the radial play of the upper and lower 
spherical bearings (bearings), and replacing any unairworthy bearings. 
This proposal is prompted by four reports of increased vibration of the 
helicopters caused by wear in the bearings of the main rotor pitch 
change link assembly. The actions specified by the proposed AD are 
intended to detect unairworthy bearings on the pitch change link 
assembly and to prevent increased vibration and subsequent reduced 
controllability of the helicopter.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 6, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 97-SW-55-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, 
Fort Worth, Texas 76137. Comments may be inspected at this location 
between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Shep Blackman, Aerospace Engineer, 
FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft

[[Page 30661]]

Standards Staff, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137, telephone 
(817) 222-5296, fax (817) 222-5961.


Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the 
proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as 
they may desire. Communications should identify the Rules Docket number 
and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All 
communications received on or before the closing date for comments, 
specified above, will be considered before taking action on the 
proposed rule. The proposals contained in this notice may be changed in 
light of the comments received.
    Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All 
comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing 
date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested 
persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with 
the substance of this proposal will be filed in the Rules Docket.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
submitted in response to this notice must submit a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket No. 97-SW-55-AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped and 
returned to the commenter.

Availability of NPRMs

    Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request 
to the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 97-SW-55-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, 
Fort Worth, Texas 76137.


    The Registro Aeronautico Italiano (RAI), which is the airworthiness 
authority for Italy, recently notified the FAA that an unsafe condition 
may exist on Agusta Model A109C and A109K2 helicopters. The RAI advises 
that there have been instances of increased vibration in Agusta Model 
A109C helicopters, which necessitated an AD requiring compliance in 
accordance with Agusta Bollettino Technico Telegraphico No. 109-9, 
dated March 23, 1995.
    Agusta has issued Agusta Bollettino Technico Telegraphico Nos. 109-
9 and 109K-2, both dated March 23, 1995, which specify a procedure to 
measure the radial play of both the upper and lower spherical bearings 
of the main rotor pitch change link assemblies. The RAI classified 
these service bulletins as mandatory and issued RAI AD's 95-082 and 95-
083, both dated March 28, 1995, to assure the continued airworthiness 
of these helicopters in Italy.
    This helicopter model is manufactured in Italy and is type 
certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 
section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and 
the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this 
bilateral airworthiness agreement, the RAI has kept the FAA informed of 
the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the 
RAI, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action 
is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for 
operation in the United States.
    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or develop on other Agusta Model A109C and A109K2 helicopters of 
the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD 
would require inspection of the main rotor pitch link assemblies Part 
Number (P/N) 109-0110-71, and if the radial play of the spherical 
bearings exceeds 0.2 millimeters, or .008 inches, replacement of the 
affected bearings prior to further flight
    The FAA estimates that 3 helicopters of U.S. registry would be 
affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 3 work 
hours per helicopter to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the 
average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost 
approximately $1,122 for the upper bearing and $995 for the lower 
bearing per helicopter. Based on these figures, the total cost impact 
of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $6,891.
    The regulations proposed herein would not have substantial direct 
effects 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. Therefore, in 
accordance with Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this 
proposal would not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant 
the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that 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) if promulgated, 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. A copy of the draft 
regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the 
Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules 
Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 
part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as 


    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. Section 39.13 is amended by adding a new airworthiness directive 
to read as follows:

Agusta S.p.A.: Docket No. 97-SW-55-AD.

    Applicability: Model A109C and A109K2 helicopters, certificated 
in any category.

    Note 1: This AD applies to each helicopter identified in the 
preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been 
modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the 
requirements of this AD. For helicopters that have been modified, 
altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of 
this AD. For helicopters that have been modified, altered, or 
repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is 
affected, the owner/operator must use the authority provided in 
paragraph (d) to request approval from the FAA. This approval may 
address either no action, if the current configuration eliminates 
the unsafe condition, or different actions necessary to address the 
unsafe condition described in this AD. Such a request should include 
an assessment of the effect of the changed configuration on the 
unsafe condition addressed by this AD. In no case does the presence 
of any modification, alteration, or repair remove any helicopter 
from the applicability of this AD.

    Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished 
    To prevent main rotor pitch change link spherical bearing axial 
play due to wear, which could result in an increase in the vibration 
level and reduced controllability of the helicopter, accomplish the 

[[Page 30662]]

    (a) Within the next 10 hours time in service (TIS) and 
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS, remove the 
pitch change link assembly, part number (P/N) 109-0110-71.
    (b) Measure the radial play at both the upper and lower 
spherical bearings. If the radial play of a bearing exceeds 0.2 
millimeters, or .008 inches, replace the affected bearing with an 
airworthy bearing prior to further flight.

    Note 2: Agusta Bollettino Technico Telegrafico No. 109-9, dated 
March 23, 1995, pertains to the subject of this AD.

    (c) Reinstall the pitch change link assembly.
    (d) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the 
compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be 
used if approved by the Manager, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, 
Rotorcraft Standards Staff. Operators shall submit their requests 
through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may concur or 
comment and then send it to the Manager, Rotorcraft Standards Staff.

    Note 3: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Rotorcraft Standards Staff.

    (e) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 
sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 
CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the helicopter to a location where 
the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

    Note 4: The subject of this AD is addressed in Registro 
Aeronautico Italiano (Italy) AD's 95-082 and 95-083, both dated 
March 28, 1995.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 28, 1998.
Henry A. Armstrong,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 98-14912 Filed 6-4-98; 8:45 am]