[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 58 (Tuesday, March 26, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18228-18230]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06131]



[[Page 18228]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2011-1453; Directorate Identifier 2009-SW-46-AD; 
Amendment 39-17394; AD 2013-05-22]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Agusta S.p.A. Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all 
Agusta S.p.A. (Agusta) Model A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2, 
A109E, A109S, and A119 helicopters. This AD was prompted by a mandatory 
continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) AD issued by the European 
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the 
Member States of the European Community. The MCAI AD states that a 
Model A109E helicopter experienced a failure of the tail rotor pitch 
control link assembly caused by a production defect. The actions of 
this AD are intended to prevent failure of a tail rotor pitch control 
link and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES: This AD is effective April 30, 2013.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of April 30, 2013.

ADDRESSES: 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 referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, 
Texas 76137.

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 AD, any incorporated-by-reference 
service information, the economic evaluation, any comments received, 
and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations 
Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Docket Operations Office, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Roach, Aerospace Engineer, 
Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Policy Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham 
Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 
gary.b.roach@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Discussion

    On January 11, 2012, at 77 FR 1654, the Federal Register published 
our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 
CFR part 39 to include an AD that would apply to Agusta Model A109, 
A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2, A109E, A109S, and A119 helicopters, 
with a certain tail rotor pitch control link assembly (link assembly). 
That NPRM proposed to require inspecting the link assembly for freedom 
of movement of the links and, if a rotation resistance or binding 
occurred, either replacing it with an airworthy link assembly with a 
``T'' marked after the serial number, or inspecting it for the torsion 
value force of the ball bearing before further flight. If no rotation 
resistance or binding occurred during the inspection, the NPRM proposed 
inspecting the link assembly for the torsion value force of the ball 
bearing rotation within 5 hours time-in-service. If the torsion value 
force in either end of the link assembly is greater than 7.30 N, the 
NPRM proposed replacing the link assembly. If the torsion value force 
of the ball bearing in both ends of the link assembly is equal to or 
less than 7.30 N, the NPRM proposed inspecting the stem of the link 
assembly for a crack and, if there is a crack, replacing the link 
assembly. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent failure of 
a tail rotor pitch control link and subsequent loss of control of the 
helicopter.
    EASA issued EASA AD No. 2006-0228-E, dated July 27, 2006 (AD 2006-
0228-E), to correct an unsafe condition for Agusta Model A109A, A109A 
II, A109C, A109K2, A109E, A109S, A109LUH and A119 helicopters. EASA 
advises that an Agusta Model A109E helicopter experienced a failure of 
a tail rotor pitch control link assembly with 10 flight hours.

Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing 
this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM (77 FR 1654, 
January 11, 2012).

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 the EASA AD. We 
are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by 
EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist 
or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs and that air 
safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as 
proposed except we are correcting the paragraph reference in paragraph 
(e)(3) of the required actions. Paragraph (e)(3) references the 
inspection requirements of ``paragraph (2)(ii)'' when the correct 
reference is ``paragraph (2).'' This change is consistent with the 
intent of the proposals in the NPRM (77 FR 1654, January 11, 2012) and 
will not increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the 
scope of the AD.

Related Service Information

    Agusta has issued Alert Bollettino Tecnico (ABT) No. 109S-5, dated 
July 26, 2006, for Model A109S helicopters; ABT No. 109EP-70, dated 
July 27, 2006, for Model A109E helicopters; ABT No. 109K-47, dated July 
27, 2006, for Model A109K2 helicopters; ABT No. 109-122, dated July 27, 
2006, for Model A109A, A109A II, and A109C helicopters; and ABT No. 
119-15, dated July 27, 2006, for Model A119 helicopters. These ABTs 
specify performing a one-time inspection of the subject link assembly 
for excessive friction of the spherical bearing of the bearing ball and 
for a crack. The EASA classified these ABTs as mandatory and issued 
EASA AD 2006-0228-E, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these 
helicopters.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

    This AD does not apply to uninstalled parts whereas the EASA AD 
does apply to uninstalled parts. This AD includes the Agusta Model A109 
helicopter whereas the EASA AD does not. The EASA AD applies to the 
Model A109LUH helicopter; however, this AD does not. This AD does not 
require accomplishing Part III of the ABTs; the EASA AD does.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 203 helicopters of U.S. 
Registry.
    We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order 
to comply with this AD. It will take about 5 work-hours per helicopter 
to inspect each tail

[[Page 18229]]

rotor pitch control link assembly, the average labor rate is $85 per 
work-hour, and required parts will cost about $3,188 per helicopter. 
Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost to be $733,439, 
assuming the tail rotor pitch control link assembly is replaced on the 
entire fleet.
    According to the Agusta service information some of the costs of 
this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact 
on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by Agusta. 
Accordingly, we have included all costs in our 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.
    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 helicopters 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) Is not a ``significant rule'' under 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 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.

Adoption of 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 (AD):

2013-05-22 Agusta S.p.A. (Agusta): Amendment 39-17394; Docket No. 
FAA-2011-1453; Directorate Identifier 2009-SW-46-AD.

(a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Agusta Model A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, 
A109K2, A109E, A109S, and A119 helicopters, with a tail rotor pitch 
control link assembly (link assembly), part number (P/N) 109-0130-
05-117, with less than 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) and with a 
serial number (S/N) with a prefix of ``MO'' and S/N 001 through 773 
and without the letter ``T'' suffix after the S/N, installed, 
certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a failure of the tail 
rotor pitch control link assembly, P/N 109-0130-05-117. This 
condition could result in failure of the tail rotor pitch control 
link and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective April 30, 2013.

(d) 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.

(e) Required Actions

    (1) Before further flight, inspect the link assembly for freedom 
of movement while it is installed on the helicopter. If rotation 
resistance or binding occurs, before further flight, remove the link 
assembly from the helicopter, and either:
    (i) Replace it with an airworthy link assembly with a ``T'' 
marked after the serial number, or
    (ii) Inspect the link assembly for the torsion value force of 
the ball bearing rotation, in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of 
this AD.
    (2) If there is no rotation resistance or binding found during 
the inspection required by paragraph (e)(1) of this AD that required 
an immediate torsion value force inspection, within 5 hours TIS, 
remove the link assembly from the helicopter and inspect the torsion 
value force of the ball bearing rotation by referring to Figure 1 
and following the Compliance Instructions, Part II, paragraphs 3. 
through 3.2, of Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico (ABT) No. 109S-5, 
dated July 26, 2006, for Model A109S helicopters; ABT No. 109EP-70, 
dated July 27, 2006, for Model A109E helicopters; ABT No. 109K-47, 
dated July 27, 2006, for Model A109K2 helicopters; ABT No. 109-122, 
dated July 27, 2006, for Model A109, A109A, A109A II, and A109C 
helicopters; or ABT No. 119-15, dated July 27, 2006, for Model A119 
helicopters.
    (i) If the torsion value force of the ball bearing in either end 
of the link assembly is greater than 7.30 N, the link assembly is 
unairworthy.
    (ii) If the torsion value force of the ball bearing in both ends 
of the link assembly is equal to or less than 7.30 N, after cleaning 
the link assembly stem using aliphatic naphtha, or equivalent, and a 
soft non-metallic bristle brush, inspect all 4 (four) faces of the 
stem of the link assembly for a crack using a 10x or higher 
magnifying glass. If you cannot determine whether there is a crack 
in the stem of the link assembly by using a 10x or higher magnifying 
glass, conduct a dye penetrant inspection by referring to Figure 1 
and following the Compliance Instructions, Part II, paragraphs 6. 
through 6.7, of the ABT that is applicable to your model helicopter. 
If a crack is found, the link assembly is unairworthy.
    (3) For a link assembly which has been inspected in accordance 
with paragraph (e)(2) of this AD and determined to be unairworthy, 
before further flight, replace the link assembly with an airworthy 
link assembly. Only a link assembly with a ``T'' marked after the 
serial number, documenting that the link assembly has been inspected 
for a crack, is eligible for installation.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs 
for this AD. Send your proposal to: Gary Roach, Aviation Safety 
Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 
2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-
5110; email gary.b.roach@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.

(g) Additional Information

    The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety 
Agency AD No. 2006-0228-E, dated July 27, 2006.

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(h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6400, Tail Rotor 
System.

(i) 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) Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 109S-5, dated July 26, 
2006;
    (ii) Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 109EP-70, dated July 
27, 2006;
    (iii) Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 109K-47, dated July 
27, 2006;
    (iv) Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 109-122, dated July 27, 
2006; and
    (v) Agusta Alert Bollettino Tecnico No. 119-15, dated July 27, 
2006.
    (3) For Agusta 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.
    (4) You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, 
Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham 
Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.
    (5) You may also view this service information at the National 
Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the 
availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go 
to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 7, 2013.
Lance T. Gant,
Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-06131 Filed 3-25-13; 8:45 am]
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