[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 22, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30234-30236]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12354]



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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0501; Directorate Identifier 2009-SW-083-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for 
Agusta S.p.A. (Agusta) Model A109E and Model A109S helicopters with 
certain lower semichannel assemblies installed. This proposed AD 
results from reported cases of damage to the main drive shaft caused by 
improperly secured metallic spacers on some A109 model helicopters. 
This proposed AD would require a one-time inspection of the lower 
semichannel assemblies to determine if metallic spacers are installed. 
If the metallic spacers are installed, this proposed AD would require 
an inspection for the correct installation of the metallic spacers on 
the semichannels and for the correct seating of the gaskets. If the 
metallic spacers are not installed with rivets, the lower semichannel 
assemblies would be required to be modified, and the main drive shaft 
would be inspected for damage. The actions specified by this proposed 
AD are intended to detect missing spacer rivets, which could allow the 
metallic spacers to rotate and lead to damage and failure of the main 
drive shaft, and subsequent loss of helicopter control.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 23, 2012.

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 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 
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 AD, contact 
Agusta Westland, Customer Support & Services, Via Per Tornavento 15, 
21019 Somma Lombardo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Giovanni Cecchelli; telephone 
39-0331-711133; fax 39 0331 711180; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/technical-bullettins. You may review the 
referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Grigg, Manager, Aircraft 
Certification, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5126, 
fax (817) 222-5961; email: jim.grigg@faa.gov.

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.
    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

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical 
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA 
Emergency AD 2007-0192-E, dated July 13, 2007 (EAD 2007-0192-E), to 
correct an unsafe condition for the Agusta Model A109E, ``up to S/N 
11694 included,'' except serial numbers (S/N) 11633 and 11634; Model 
A109S, ``up to S/N 22034 included,'' except S/Ns 22026 and 22033; and 
Model A109LUH, ``from S/N 13653 up to S/N 13668 included, from S/N 
13752 up to S/N 13761 included, and from S/N 13801 up to 13811 
included''; with lower semichannel assemblies, part number (P/N) 109-
0641-10-213 or 109-0642-01-171, installed. EASA advises that some cases 
of interference between the metallic spacer, P/N 109-0642-01-195, and 
the main drive shaft, P/N 109-0415-06-103, have been detected on the 
Model A109LUH helicopter, a military version of the Model A109 
helicopter that is not type certificated in the U.S., and that this 
interference has damaged the main drive shaft. EASA advises that this 
condition, if not corrected, could lead to failure of the main drive 
shaft ``with significant effects on the safety of the helicopter.''

FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of 
Italy and are 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 exists and is likely to exist 
or develop on other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information

    Agusta has issued Mandatory Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 109EP-79, 
dated July 12, 2007 (BT 109EP-79), which applies to certain S/Ns of the 
model A109E helicopter, and Mandatory Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 
109S-15, dated July 12, 2007 (BT 109S-15), which applies to certain S/
Ns of the model A109S helicopter. Both BT 109EP-79 and BT 109S-15 
specify performing an inspection on the left side and right side lower 
semichannel assemblies to determine if metallic spacers are installed. 
If the metallic spacers are installed, BT 109EP-79 and BT 109S-15 
specify inspecting the metallic spacers for correct installation, 
inspecting the gaskets for correct seating, modifying

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the semichannel assemblies by installing missing rivets, and inspecting 
the main drive shaft for damage if the metallic spacers are installed 
without rivets.

Proposed AD Requirements

    Within 50 hours time-in-service, this proposed AD would require you 
to do the following:
     Perform a one-time inspection of the lower semichannel 
assemblies to determine if the metallic spacers are installed.
     If the metallic spacers are installed, determine correct 
installation of the metallic spacers and correct seating of the 
gaskets.
     If the metallic spacers are installed without rivets, 
modify the lower semichannel assemblies by installing rivets. Also, 
inspect the main drive shaft for nicks, scratches, or other damage in 
the area of the semichannel. If damage exceeds allowable damage 
tolerances, replace the main drive shaft with an airworthy main drive 
shaft.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    This proposed AD differs from the EASA AD as follows:
     This proposed AD is not applicable to A109LUH model 
helicopters because they are not type certificated for use in the 
United States;
     This proposed AD does not require compliance ``not later 
than September 30, 2007'' because that date has passed;
     This proposed AD uses the term ``hours time-in-service'' 
rather than ``flight hours'' when referring to compliance times; and
     This proposed AD does not contain the steps necessary to 
install the main drive shaft.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 90 helicopters 
of U.S. registry. We also estimate an average labor rate of $85 per 
work hour. Based on these assessments, we calculate the following 
costs:
     Inspecting the lower semichannel assembly for metallic 
spacers would take about 15 minutes for a labor cost of $21 per 
helicopter. No parts would be needed, so the total cost for the 90-
helicopter fleet would be $1,890.
     Inspecting for missing rivets would take about three work-
hours for a total labor cost of $255 per helicopter. Parts would cost 
$10, increasing the per-helicopter cost to $265.
     Removing, inspecting for damage, and reinstalling the main 
drive shaft would take four work-hours for a labor cost of $340. No 
parts would be required.
     Replacing the main drive shaft. This task also would take 
four work-hours, so that labor costs would again total $340. Parts 
would cost $20,824 for a total per-helicopter cost of $21,164.

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.

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

    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. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new 
Airworthiness Directive (AD):

Agusta S.p.A.: Docket No. FAA-2012-0501; Directorate Identifier 
2009-SW-083-AD.

 (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model A109E helicopters, up to and including 
serial number (S/N) 11694, except 11633 and 11634; and Model A109S 
helicopters, up to and including S/N 22034, except S/N 22026 and 
22033; with lower semichannel assemblies, part number (P/N)109-0641-
10-213 or 109-0642-01-171, installed; certificated in any category.

    Note to paragraph (a) of this AD:  The lower semichannel 
assemblies are sub-components of the forward firewall assembly.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD results from reported cases of damage to the main drive 
shaft caused by improperly secured metallic spacers on some A109 
model helicopters. The actions specified by this AD are intended to 
detect missing spacer rivets, which could allow the metallic spacers 
to rotate and lead to damage and failure of the main drive shaft, 
and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) 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.

(d) Required Actions

    Within 50 hours time-in-service:
    (1) Inspect the left-side and right-side lower semichannel 
assemblies by referring to Figures 1 and 2, and in accordance with 
Paragraph 3. of the Compliance Instructions in the Agusta Bollettino 
Tecnico (BT) No. 109EP-79 for the Model A109E helicopter, or BT No. 
109S-15 for the Model A109S helicopter, both dated July 12, 2007, to 
determine if metallic spacers, P/N 109-0642-01-195, are installed. 
If metallic spacers are not installed, no further actions are 
required.
    (2) For each semichannel assembly with a metallic spacer, remove 
the semichannel assembly from the helicopter firewall and note 
whether it is the left-side or right-side semichannel assembly.
    (3) Inspect each removed semichannel assembly and determine 
whether there is a fixing rivet, P/N MS20427M3-5, MS20426T3-5, or 
A298A04TW02, installed that holds the spacer to the lower 
semichannel assembly and whether the gasket is properly seated.
    (4) For each semichannel assembly without a fixing rivet on each 
side of the lower

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semichannel assembly or those where the gasket is improperly seated, 
separate the lower semichannel from the upper semichannel, noting 
the orientation of each spacer and gasket. Modify the lower 
semichannel assembly by installing a fixing rivet on each side of 
the lower semichannel assembly, and reattaching the lower and upper 
semichannel assemblies in accordance with paragraphs 4.2 through 4.7 
of the appropriate BT for your model helicopter. Paragraph 4.2 of 
the BT states ``remove the fixing rivets''; this AD changes that 
provision to ``remove the screws, P/N MS27039-08-05.''
    (5) Inspect each main drive shaft for a nick, a scratch, or 
other damage in the semichannel area. If a nick, a scratch, or other 
damage is found that exceeds those allowable damage tolerances in 
the maintenance manual, replace the main drive shaft with an 
airworthy main drive shaft.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Jim Grigg, Manager, Aircraft 
Certification, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-
5126, fax (817) 222-5961; email: jim.grigg@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.

(f) Additional Information

    (1) For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Agusta Westland, Customer Support & Services, Via Per Tornavento 15, 
21019 Somma Lombardo (VA) Italy, ATTN: Giovanni Cecchelli; telephone 
39-0331-711133; fax 39-0331-711180; or at http://www.agustawestland.com/technical-bullettins. You may review a copy 
of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137.
    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in the European Aviation 
Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2007-0192-E, dated July 13, 2007.

(g) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 7100, powerplant 
system.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 9, 2012.
Kim Smith,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12354 Filed 5-21-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P