[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 14 (Friday, January 21, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3241-3244]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-01168]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2022-0008; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00882-R]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Leonardo S.p.a. Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) 
for all Leonardo S.p.a. Model AW109SP helicopters. This proposed AD was 
prompted by reports of corrosion inside the hoist support assembly 
(boom assembly) (affected part) that affects both the huck bolt heads 
(blind bolt fasteners) and the support surface. This proposed AD would 
require repetitive inspections of the external and internal surfaces of 
each affected part for cracking and corrosion and, depending on the 
findings, accomplishment of corrective actions, as specified in a 
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for 
incorporation by reference (IBR). This proposed AD would also allow the 
installation of an affected part, provided certain instructions are 
followed. 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 March 7, 
2022.

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 
EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 
8999 000; email [email protected]; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You 
may find the EASA material 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 EASA material is also 
available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating 
Docket No. FAA-2022-0008.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0008; 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, the EASA AD, 
any comments received, and other information. The street address for 
Docket Operations is listed above.

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 [email protected].

[[Page 3242]]


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-2022-0008; Project Identifier 
MCAI-2021-00882-R'' 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 NPRM.

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 [email protected]. 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 2021-0179, dated July 27, 2021 (EASA 
AD 2021-0179) to correct an unsafe condition for Leonardo S.p.A. 
Helicopters, formerly Finmeccanica S.p.A., AgustaWestland S.p.A., and 
Agusta S.p.A., Model AW109SP helicopters, all serial numbers.
    This proposed AD was prompted by reports of corrosion inside the 
hoist support assembly affecting both the huck bolt heads and the 
support surface. Investigation of the root cause for the corrosion is 
ongoing. The FAA is proposing this AD to address corrosion on the hoist 
support assembly. This condition, if not addressed, could affect the 
structural integrity of the hoist support assembly, leading to in-
flight detachment of the hoist support and consequent damage to the 
helicopter, and injury to hoisted persons. See EASA AD 2021-0179 for 
additional background information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    EASA AD 2021-0179 requires repetitive inspections of the external 
and internal surfaces of each affected part for cracking and corrosion 
and, depending on the findings, accomplishment of corrective actions. 
If there is no evidence of corrosion on the interior surface of the 
boom torque tube or on the huck bolt heads, the corrective actions 
include spraying the interior surface with corrosion preventative 
compound around the hulk bolt heads from the forward and aft ends of 
the boom torque tube, and installing new tube plugs on both ends of the 
boom torque tube. If there is superficial corrosion on the interior 
surface of the boom torque tube or on the hulk bolt heads, the 
corrective actions include cleaning the corrosion, spraying the 
interior surface with corrosion preventative compound, and installing 
new tube plugs on both ends of the boom torque tube. If corrosion is 
found that is not superficial corrosion, the corrective action is 
repair or replacement of the boom torque tube.
    If cracking is observed on the external surface of the hoist 
support assembly the corrective action is replacement of the hoist 
support assembly. If only corrosion is found on the external surface of 
the hoist support assembly the corrective actions include cleaning the 
hoist support assembly.
    EASA AD 2021-0179 also allows installing an affected part, provided 
certain instructions are followed.
    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.

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for 
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral 
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about the 
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD 
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that 
the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop 
on other helicopters of the same type design.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified 
in EASA AD 2021-0179, described previously, as incorporated by 
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the 
regulatory text of this proposed 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 2021-0179 by reference in the FAA 
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with 
EASA AD 2021-0179 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 2021-0179 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 2021-
0179. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0179 for 
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0008 after the FAA final 
rule is published.

Interim Action

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

[[Page 3243]]

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would 
affect 40 helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates the following 
costs to comply with this proposed AD.

                                                 Estimated Costs
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                                                                                                 Cost on U.S.
              Action                    Labor cost        Parts cost      Cost per product        operators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inspecting.......................  0.50 work-hour x                 $0  $42.50 per           $1,700 per
                                    $85 per hour =                       inspection cycle.    inspection cycle.
                                    $42.50 per
                                    inspection cycle.
Installing new boom torque tube    0.25 work-hour x              5,044  $5,065.25..........  $202,610.
 plugs.                             $85 per hour =
                                    $21.25.
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    The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary 
replacements that would be required based on the results of the 
proposed inspection. The agency has no way of determining the number of 
aircraft that might need these replacements:

                                               On-Condition Costs
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                                                                                                     Cost per
                    Action                                 Labor cost               Parts cost        product
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cleaning boom torque tube interior or exterior  0.25 work-hour x $85 per hour =               $0          $21.25
                                                 $21.25.
Replacing boom torque tube....................  6 work-hours x $85 per hour =             39,500          40,010
                                                 $510.
Replacing hoist support assembly..............  6.50 work-hours x $85 per hour =          44,864       45,416.50
                                                 $552.50.
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    The FAA has received no definitive data on which to base the cost 
estimates for the repairs specified in this proposed AD.
    The FAA has included all known costs in its cost estimate. 
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this 
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost 
impact on affected operators.

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

    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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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:

Leonardo S.p.a.: Docket No. FAA-2022-0008; Project Identifier MCAI-
2021-00882-R.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive 
(AD) by March 7, 2022.

(b) Affected ADs

    None.

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all Leonardo S.p.a. Model AW109SP 
helicopters, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2560, Emergency 
Equipment.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of corrosion inside the hoist 
support assembly (boom assembly) (affected part) that affects both 
the huck bolt heads (blind bolt fasteners) and the support surface. 
The FAA is issuing this AD to address corrosion on the hoist support 
assembly. This condition, if not addressed, could affect the 
structural integrity of the hoist support assembly, leading to in-
flight detachment of the hoist support and consequent damage to the 
helicopter, and injury to hoisted persons.

(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, European Union Aviation

[[Page 3244]]

Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021-0179, dated July 27, 2021 (EASA AD 
2021-0179).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2021-0179

    (1) Where EASA AD 2021-0179 requires compliance in terms of 
flight hours, this AD requires using hours time-in-service.
    (2) Where EASA AD 2021-0179 refers to its effective date, this 
AD requires using the effective date of this AD.
    (3) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-
0179 specifies discarding parts, this AD requires removing those 
parts from service.
    (4) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-
0179 specifies returning a part to the manufacturer, this AD 
requires removing that part from service.
    (5) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-
0179 specifies submitting photographs to the manufacturer, this AD 
does not require that action.
    (6) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-
0179 specifies attaching a label to the hoist support assembly, this 
AD does not require that action.
    (7) Where paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2021-0179 specifies 
contacting Leonardo S.p.a. for corrective action instructions, this 
AD requires replacing or repairing before further flight using a 
method approved by the Manager, General Aviation and Rotorcraft 
Section, International Validation Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Leonardo 
S.p.a.'s EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the 
DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.
    (8) This AD does not mandate compliance with the ``Remarks'' 
section of EASA AD 2021-0179.

(i) No Reporting Requirement

    Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0179 
specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD 
does not include that requirement.

(j) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits may be permitted provided that there are 
no passengers on board.

(k) 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 (l)(2) of 
this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected].
    (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.

(l) Related Information

    (1) For EASA AD 2021-0179, contact EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 
50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email 
[email protected]; internet www.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-2022-0008.
    (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 [email protected].

    Issued on January 14, 2022.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-01168 Filed 1-20-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P