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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10 Series Airplanes and KC-10A (Military) Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10 series airplanes and KC-10A (military) airplanes. This proposal would require a general visual inspection of electrical power feeder cables, airplane structure, and insulation blankets at a certain fuselage station to detect chafing and arcing damage, and corrective actions, if necessary; and installation of a standoff and clamp. This proposal is prompted by an incident in which the power feeder cables in the cabin electrical system were found to be chafed and arced against a fuselage frame due to insufficient clearance between the cables and airplane structure. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent such chafing and arcing, which could cause smoke and fire in the overhead of the main cabin.

DATES:

Comments must be received by March 13, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-214-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Technical Publications Business Administration, Dept. C1-L51 (2-60). This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Natalie Phan-Tran, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5343; fax (562) 627-5210.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 shall 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 Number 99-NM-214-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, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-214-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

As part of its practice of re-examining all aspects of the service experience of a particular aircraft whenever an accident occurs, the FAA has become aware of an incident in which the power feeder cables in the cabin electrical system had chafed and arced against the fuselage frame at station Y=1099.000 between longerons 9 and 10 (right side). The cable had burned in half, damaging Start Printed Page 4185a three-inch section of the fuselage frame and adjacent insulation blankets. This incident occurred on a McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10 series airplane. The cause of the chafing was insufficient clearance between the electrical power cable and the fuselage structure. This condition, if not corrected, could result in smoke and fire in the overhead of the main cabin.

Other Related Rulemaking

The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model DC-10 series airplanes, is continuing to review all aspects of the service history of those airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate corrective actions. This proposed AD is one of a series of actions identified during that process. The process is continuing and the FAA may consider additional rulemaking actions as further results of the review become available.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A163, dated July 28, 1999. The service bulletin describes procedures for a general visual inspection of electrical power feeder cables, airplane structure, and insulation blankets at station Y=1099.000 between longerons 9 and 10 (right side) to detect chafing and arcing damage; installation of a standoff and clamp at station Y=1093.000, longeron 10; and corrective actions, if necessary. The corrective actions involve repair or replacement of damaged power feeder cables, airplane structure, or insulation blankets with new parts. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously.

Typographical Error in Service Information

Operators should note the applicability statement of the proposed AD differs from the effectivity listing of the referenced service bulletin in that it includes McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-15 series airplanes in the applicability statement. The service bulletin contains a typographical error that identifies Model “DC-10-20” series airplanes (which do not exist) as one of the affected models rather than Model DC-10-15 series airplanes. However, the manufacturer's fuselage numbers listed in the service bulletin corresponds to the affected Model DC-10-15 series airplanes. Therefore, the applicability statement of the proposed AD correctly refers to the subject service bulletin for the listing of affected airplanes.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 160 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 80 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

It would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $4,800, or $60 per airplane.

It would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed installation, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $4,800, or $60 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations proposed herein 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. Therefore, it is determined that this proposal would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

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.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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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 follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 99-NM-214-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-10 series airplanes and KC-10A (military) airplanes, as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A163, dated July 28, 1999; certificated in any category.

Note 1:

This AD applies to each airplane 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 airplanes that have been modified, altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is affected, the owner/operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (b) of this AD. The request should include an assessment of the effect of the modification, alteration, or repair on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD; and, if the unsafe condition has not been eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to address it.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent arcing of the power feeder cables against the fuselage structure, which could cause smoke and fire in the overhead of the main cabin, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, perform a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables in the cabin electrical system, airplane structure, and insulation blankets at station Y=1099.000 between longerons 9 and 10 (right side) for evidence of chafing and arcing damage, in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A163, dated July 28, 1999.

Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a general visual inspection is defined as: “A visual examination of an interior or exterior area, installation, or assembly to detect Start Printed Page 4186obvious damage, failure, or irregularity. This level of inspection is made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or drop-light, and may require removal or opening of access panels or doors. Stands, ladders, or platforms may be required to gain proximity to the area being checked.”

Condition 1 Corrective Action

(1) If no chafing or damage to the power feeder cables, structure, or insulation blankets is detected: Prior to further flight, install a standoff and clamp at station Y=1093.000, longeron 10, in accordance with Condition 1 of the Work Instructions of the service bulletin.

Condition 2 Corrective Action

(2) If any chafed power feeder cable is detected, and if no damage to adjacent structure or insulation blankets is detected: Prior to further flight, repair or replace the power feeder cables in the cabin electrical system with new power feeder cables; and install a standoff and clamp at station Y=1093.000, longeron 10, in accordance with Condition 2 of the Work Instructions of the service bulletin.

Condition 3 Corrective Action

(3) If any chafed power feeder cable is detected, and if any damage to the adjacent structure and/or insulation blankets is detected: Prior to further flight, accomplish the actions specified in paragraphs (a)(3)(i), (a)(3)(ii), (a)(3)(iii), and (a)(3)(iv) of this AD, as applicable, in accordance with Condition 3 of the Work Instructions of the service bulletin.

(i) Repair or replace the damaged power feeder cables in the cabin electrical system with new power feeder cables.

(ii) Repair or replace the damaged structure with new structure.

(iii) Repair or replace the damaged insulation blankets with new insulation blankets; however, insulation blankets made of metallized polyethyleneteraphthalate (MPET) may not be used.

(iv) Install a standoff and clamp at station Y=1093.000, longeron 10.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(b) 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, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Los Angeles ACO.

Note 3:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Los Angeles ACO.

Special Flight Permits

(c) 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 airplane to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 20, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-1776 Filed 1-25-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P