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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the supersedure of an existing airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to all Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes, that currently requires repetitive inspections for discrepancies of the lock bolt for the pintle pin on the main landing gear (MLG), and follow-on corrective actions, if necessary. This action would require additional follow-on actions for certain airplanes. This proposal is prompted by issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to detect and correct a rotated, damaged, or missing lock bolt, which could result in disengagement of the pintle pin from the pintle fitting bearing, and consequent collapse of the MLG during landing.

DATES:

Comments must be received by March 27, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-28-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 Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Norman B. Martenson, Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2110; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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-28-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 Start Printed Page 9226FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-28-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

On June 29, 1998, the FAA issued AD 98-14-11, amendment 39-10644 (63 FR 36834, July 8, 1998), applicable to all Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes, to require repetitive inspections for discrepancies of the lock bolt for the pintle pin on the main landing gear (MLG), and follow-on corrective actions, if necessary. That action was prompted by two reports indicating that the forward pintle pin of the MLG had migrated forward toward the wing rear spar. In both instances, the lock bolt and associated MLG barrel bushings securing the pintle pin were missing, which allowed the pintle pin to migrate forward, although further movement was prevented by the incrementally tapered diameter of the pintle pin. Backward migration of the pintle pin also could occur, which would allow the pintle pin to become disengaged and separate from the pintle fitting bearing. The requirements of that AD are intended to detect and correct a rotated, damaged, or missing lock bolt, which could result in disengagement of the pintle pin from the pintle fitting bearing, and consequent collapse of the MLG during landing.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Since issuance of AD 98-14-11, Airbus issued Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, dated June 17, 1998, and Revision 01, dated February 17, 1999. The original and revised service bulletin describe procedures for repetitive detailed visual inspections for discrepancies (rotation, wear, and missing or broken parts) of the lock bolt for the MLG pintle pin, and follow-on corrective actions, if necessary. The corrective actions include replacement of a discrepant lock bolt with a new or serviceable part, and relubrication of the pintle fitting bearing. The inspection procedure of the service bulletin is different from that described in Airbus All Operator Telex (AOT) 32-17, Revision 01, dated November 6, 1997 (which was cited in AD 98-14-11 as the appropriate source of service information). The service bulletin includes procedures for additional follow-on and corrective actions, including a one-time retorque of the lock bolt for the pintle pin if there is no sign that the lock bolt has turned, and replacement of the lock bolt with a new lock bolt. In addition, Revision 01 of the service bulletin includes procedures for additional follow-on actions, including application of sealant to the head of the lockbolt. The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, approved the original service bulletin and classified Revision 01 as mandatory, and issued French airworthiness directive 97-385-112(B)R1, dated October 21, 1998, in order to ensure the airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of Section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would supersede AD 98-14-11 to continue to require repetitive inspections for discrepancies of the lock bolt for the pintle pin on the main landing gear (MLG), and follow-on corrective actions, if necessary; and would require additional follow-on actions, including a retorque of the lock bolt for the pintle pin. In addition, the FAA has added a note to clarify the definition of a detailed visual inspection.

Interim Action

This is considered to be interim action until final action is identified, at which time the FAA may consider further rulemaking.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 341 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD. It would take approximately 2 work hours 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 inspection proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $40,920, or $120 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The cost impact figure discussed above is 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.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by removing amendment 39-10644 (63 FR 36834, July 8, 1998), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 99 -NM-28-AD. Supersedes AD 98-14-11, Amendment 39-10644.

Applicability: All Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes; certificated in any category.

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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 (c) 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 detect and correct a rotated, damaged, or missing lock bolt, which could result in disengagement of the pintle pin from the bearing, and consequent collapse of the main landing gear (MLG) during landing, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Perform a detailed visual inspection to detect discrepancies (rotation, damage, and absence) of the lock bolt for the pintle pin on the MLG, in accordance with Airbus All Operator Telex (AOT) 32-17, Revision 01, dated November 6, 1997, Airbus Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, dated June 17, 1998, or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, Revision 01, dated February 17, 1999, at the latest of the times specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3) of this AD. If any discrepancy is detected, prior to further flight, perform corrective actions, as applicable, in accordance with the AOT or service bulletin. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,000 flight cycles or 15 months, whichever occurs first. After the effective date of this AD, only Airbus Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, Revision 01, dated February 17, 1999, shall be used for compliance with this paragraph.

(1) Within 30 months since the airplane's date of manufacture or prior to the accumulation of 2,000 total flight cycles, whichever occurs first.

(2) Within 15 months or 1,000 flight cycles after the last gear replacement or accomplishment of Airbus Industrie Service Bulletin A320-32-1119, dated June 13, 1994, whichever occurs first.

(3) Within 500 flight cycles after August 12, 1998 (the effective date of AD 98-14-11, amendment 39-10644).

Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed visual inspection is defined as: “An intensive visual examination of a specific structural area, system, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at intensity deemed appropriate by the inspector. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”

One-Time Follow-On Actions

(b) For airplanes on which the actions described in paragraph 2.B.(2)(c) of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, Revision 01, dated February 17, 1999, have not been accomplished: At the time of the initial inspection or the next repetitive inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, perform the applicable one-time follow-on actions (including retorquing the forward pintle pin lock bolt and applying sealant to the head of the lock bolt), in accordance with section 2.B.(2)(c) of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-32-1187, Revision 01, dated February 17, 1999.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(c) 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, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate. Operators shall submit their request through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.

Note 3:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.

Special Flight Permits

(d) 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.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 97-385-112(B)R1, dated October 21, 1998.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 17, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-4336 Filed 2-23-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P