[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 10 (Friday, January 14, 2022)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2316-2318]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00748]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-0689; Project Identifier AD-2020-01589-R; 
Amendment 39-21898; AD 2022-02-01]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation 
Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for 
certain Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-92A helicopters. This AD 
was prompted by a cracked main rotor stationary swashplate assembly 
(swashplate assembly). This AD requires visually inspecting the 
swashplate assembly at specified intervals and depending on the 
results, removing the swashplate assembly from service. The FAA is 
issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES: This AD is effective February 18, 2022.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of February 18, 
2022.

ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule, 
contact your local Sikorsky Field Representative or Sikorsky's Service 
Engineering Group at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Mailstop K100, 124 
Quarry Road, Trumbull, CT 06611; telephone 1-800-946-4337 (1-800-
Winged-S); email [email protected]. Operators

[[Page 2317]]

may also log on to the Sikorsky 360 website at https://www.sikorsky360.com. You may view this service information 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. It is also available 
at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. 
FAA-2021-0689.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0689; 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 final rule, any 
comments received, and other information. The address for Docket 
Operations U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, 
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jared Hyman, Aerospace Engineer, 
Boston ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1200 
District Avenue, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-
7799; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Sikorsky 
Aircraft Corporation Model S-92A helicopters. The NPRM published in the 
Federal Register on August 23, 2021 (86 FR 47041). The NPRM was 
prompted by a notification of an in-service crack in a swashplate 
assembly inner ring. The crack, discovered during a routine inspection, 
extended between the uniball bore and near the right-hand trunnion to 
servo attach bolt hole. This condition, if not detected and corrected, 
could result in fretting wear on the shoulder that supports the clamp-
up of the uniball outer race, failure of the swashplate assembly, and 
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. In the NPRM, the FAA 
proposed to require, within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), and 
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 50 hours TIS, visually inspecting 
the upper and lower surfaces of the swashplate assembly for a crack, 
nick, dent, and scratch. If there is a crack, nick, dent, or scratch 
that exceeds allowable limits, the NPRM proposed to require removing 
the swashplate assembly from service before further flight. The FAA is 
issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive

Comments

    The FAA received comments from one commenter; Sikorsky Aircraft. 
Sikorsky Aircraft requested the FAA change the required inspections to 
address the unsafe condition. The following presents the comments 
received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment.

Request for Changes to the Required Inspections

    Sikorsky Aircraft requested the FAA change the repetitive 
inspections proposed in the NPRM to more detailed repetitive 
inspections. Sikorsky Aircraft stated that the 50-hour repetitive 
inspections proposed in the NPRM are insufficient based on recent 
fatigue evaluations, which have introduced a new failure mode. Sikorsky 
Aircraft further stated that this new failure mode requires improved 
detection capability, which will be introduced in a forthcoming 
revision to ASB 92-62-009. Sikorsky Aircraft explained that the revised 
ASB will specify directed special inspections at 50-hour, 375-hour, and 
1,500-hour intervals to visually detect a potential fatigue crack at 
specific regions of the swashplate and will include criteria for when 
to accomplish a fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) or eddy-current 
inspection.
    The FAA appreciates that additional evaluations have been 
accomplished and revised service information is forthcoming; however, 
the FAA disagrees with changing the repetitive inspections proposed in 
this NPRM at this time. The FAA reviewed the drafted ``Chapter 5 AMM 
Revision--Inspection of the Main Rotor Swashplate Assembly'' submitted 
as an attachment to Sikorsky Aircraft's comment and determined that the 
preliminary data provided is not sufficient to substantiate Sikorsky 
Aircraft's request to change the repetitive inspections proposed in the 
NPRM. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the FAA to delay 
issuance of this rule in order to allow Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation 
to release revised service information. Since an unsafe condition 
exists, the FAA must issue an AD; however, in light of the new 
information, the FAA has changed this AD action to be an interim action 
and might consider further rulemaking if final action is later 
identified.

Conclusion

    The FAA reviewed the relevant data, considered any comments 
received, and determined that air safety requires adopting this AD as 
proposed. Accordingly, the FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe 
condition on these products. Except for minor editorial changes, this 
AD is adopted as proposed in the NPRM. None of the changes will 
increase the economic burden on any operator.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    The FAA reviewed Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 
ASB 92-62-009, Basic Issue, dated February 6, 2019 (ASB). The ASB 
specifies a one-time visual inspection of the swashplate assembly to 
determine if there are any cracks. If cracks are found, the ASB 
specifies replacing the swashplate assembly. If there is any other 
damage such as nicks, dents, or scratches, the ASB specifies providing 
that damage information to Sikorsky Customer Service Engineering. The 
ASB also specifies returning the swashplate assembly, uniball bearing, 
trunnions, and all attachment hardware to Sikorsky for investigation if 
cracks are found.
    This service information 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.

Differences Between This AD and the Service Information

    The ASB specifies a one-time visual inspection of the swashplate 
assembly; this AD requires repetitive visual inspections of the 
swashplate assembly to determine if any crack, nick, dent, or scratch 
develops over time. This AD does not require returning parts to or 
contacting Sikorsky, while the ASB specifies performing those actions.

Interim Action

    The FAA considers this AD to be an interim action. If final action 
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this AD affects 89 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry and that operators may incur the following costs in order to 
comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
    Visually inspecting a swashplate assembly takes about 0.5 work-
hour, for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter

[[Page 2318]]

and $3,827 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
    Replacing the swashplate assembly, if required, takes about 16 
work-hours and parts cost about $389,720, for an estimated cost of 
$391,080 per helicopter.

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 develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

    This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 
13132. This AD will 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 that this AD:
    (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive 
Order 12866,
    (2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.

The Amendment

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

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

0
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]

0
2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness 
directive:

2022-02-01 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Amendment 39-21898; Docket 
No. FAA-2021-0689; Project Identifier AD-2020-01589-R.

(a) Effective Date

    This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective February 18, 
2022.

(b) Affected ADs

    None.

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-92A 
helicopters, certificated in any category, with a main rotor 
stationary swashplate assembly (swashplate assembly) part number (P/
N) 92104-15011-042 or P/N 92104-15011-043 that has accumulated 1,600 
or more total hours time-in-service, installed.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 6230: Main Rotor 
Mast/Swashplate.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by the discovery of a crack on the 
swashplate assembly inner ring. This condition, if not detected and 
corrected, could result in fretting wear on the shoulder that 
supports the clamp-up of the uniball outer race, failure of the 
swashplate assembly, and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Required Actions

    (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective 
date of this AD, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 50 hours 
TIS, visually inspect the swashplate assembly for a crack, nick, 
dent, and scratch, by following the Accomplishment Instructions, 
Section 3, paragraph B. (except paragraphs B.(2)(a) through (c)) of 
Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin ASB 92-62-009, Basic 
Issue, dated February 6, 2019.
    (2) If there is a crack, nick, dent, or scratch that exceeds the 
allowable limits, before further flight, remove the swashplate 
assembly from service.

(h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Boston ACO, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, 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 certification office, 
send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (i) 
of this AD.
    (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.

(i) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Jared Hyman, 
Aerospace Engineer, Boston ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness 
Division, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, Massachusetts 
01803; telephone (781) 238-7799; email: [email protected].

(j) Material Incorporated by Reference

    (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the 
incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed 
in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.
    (2) You must use this service information as applicable to do 
the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.
    (i) Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin ASB 92-62-
009, Basic Issue, dated February 6, 2019.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (3) For Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation service information 
identified in this AD, contact your local Sikorsky Field 
Representative or Sikorsky's Service Engineering Group at Sikorsky 
Aircraft Corporation, Mailstop K100, 124 Quarry Road, Trumbull, CT 
06611; telephone 1-800-946-4337 (1-800-Winged-S); email 
[email protected]. Operators may also log on to 
the Sikorsky 360 website at https://www.sikorsky360.com.
    (4) You may view this service information 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.
    (5) You may view this service information that is incorporated 
by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration 
(NARA). For information on the availability of this material at 
NARA, email: [email protected], or go to: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued on January 4, 2022.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-00748 Filed 1-12-22; 11:15 am]
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