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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Model F.28 Mark 0100 Series Airplanes

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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 certain Fokker Model F.28 Mark 0100 series airplanes, that currently requires a one-time visual inspection and a one-time eddy current and/or dye penetrant inspection of the nose landing gear (NLG) main fitting to detect cracking; and rework of the NLG main fitting, if necessary. This action would require new inspections (one-time detailed visual inspection and repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspections) to detect cracking of the NLG main fitting subassembly, and corrective actions, if necessary. This action also would revise the applicability of the existing AD. This proposal is prompted by the issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent cracking of the NLG main fitting, which could lead to collapse of the NLG during takeoff and landing, and possible injury to the flightcrew and passengers.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 14, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-02-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 Start Printed Page 13924Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands. 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 2000-NM-02-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. 2000-NM-02-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

On October 13, 1998, the FAA issued AD 98-22-01, amendment 39-10847 (63 FR 58625, November 2, 1998), applicable to certain Fokker Model F.28 Mark 0100 series airplanes, to require a one-time visual inspection and a one-time eddy current and/or dye penetrant inspection of the nose landing gear (NLG) main fitting to detect cracking; and rework of the NLG main fitting, if necessary. That action was prompted by issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The requirements of that AD are intended to prevent cracking of the NLG main fitting, which could lead to collapse of the NLG during takeoff and landing, and possible injury to the flightcrew and passengers.

Actions Since Issuance of Previous Rule

Since the issuance of that AD, the Rijksluchtvaartdienst (RLD), which is the airworthiness authority for the Netherlands, has advised the FAA that, during maintenance, several additional occurrences of cracking of the main fitting subassembly (MFSA) of the downlock plunger support webs of the NLG were found. The cracks initiated on the inner side of both the left-hand and right-hand support webs of the downlock plunger. In light of the recent events, the manufacturer has released new service information and the FAA has determined that it is necessary to perform a new, one-time detailed visual inspection and repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspections to enable early detection of cracking in the affected area.

Issuance of New Service Information

The manufacturer has issued Fokker Service Bulletin SBF100-32-118, dated October 8, 1999, which describes procedures for a one-time detailed visual inspection and repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspections of the NLG main fitting subassembly to detect cracking, and rework of the main fitting, if necessary. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The RLD classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued Dutch airworthiness directive BLA 1997-116/2 (A), dated October 29, 1999, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the Netherlands.

The Fokker service bulletin references Messier-Dowty Service Bulletin F100-32-92, Revision 1, dated October 8, 1999, as an additional source of service information for accomplishing the inspections and rework of the NLG main fitting subassembly.

FAA's Conclusions

This airplane model is manufactured in the Netherlands and is type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the RLD has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the RLD, 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 the requirements of AD 98-22-01. This proposed AD would require a new, one-time detailed visual inspection, and a new eddy current or dye penetrant inspection to be accomplished repetitively. This proposed AD would revise the applicability of the existing AD to include airplanes on which a certain main fitting subassembly is installed. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the Fokker service bulletin described previously, except as described below. The proposed AD also would require that operators report all findings of the one-time detailed visual inspection and the initial eddy current or dye penetrant inspection to Fokker Services.

Differences Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin

Operators should note that, although the Fokker service bulletin specifies that the manufacturer may be contacted for disposition of certain cracking conditions, this proposal would require the repair of those conditions to be accomplished in accordance with a method approved by either the FAA, or the RLD (or its delegated agent). In light of the type of repair that would be required to address the identified unsafe condition, and in consonance with existing bilateral airworthiness agreements, the FAA has determined that, for this proposed AD, a repair approved by either the FAA or the RLD would be acceptable for compliance with this proposed AD.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 87 airplanes of U.S. registry that would be affected by this proposed AD.

The one-time detailed visual inspection proposed by this AD action would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact Start Printed Page 13925of the one-time inspection proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $5,220, or $60 per airplane.

The repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspections proposed by this AD action would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the repetitive inspection proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $5,220, or $60 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

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 removing amendment 39-10847 (63 FR 58625, November 2, 1998), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

Fokker Services B.V.: Docket 2000-NM-02-AD. Supersedes AD 98-22-01, Amendment 39-10847.

Applicability: Model F.28 Mark 0100 series airplanes, certificated in any category; equipped with Messier-Dowty nose landing gear (NLG) having part number (P/N) 201071001 or 201071002, on which a main fitting subassembly (MFSA) having P/N 201071200, 201071228, 201071248, or 201071249 is installed.

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 (f) 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 cracking of the NLG main fitting, which could lead to collapse of the NLG during takeoff and landing, and possible injury to the flightcrew and passengers, accomplish the following:

One-time Detailed Visual Inspection

(a) Prior to the accumulation of 7,500 total flight cycles or within 50 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Perform a one-time detailed visual inspection of the NLG main fitting subassembly to detect cracking, in accordance with Part 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Fokker Service Bulletin SBF100-32-118, dated October 8, 1999.

(1) If no cracking is detected, no further action is required by this paragraph.

(2) If any cracking is detected, prior to further flight, accomplish the actions required by paragraph (b) of this AD.

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 mirrors, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”

Note 3:

Actions accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD, in accordance with Fokker Service Bulletin SBF100-32-112, dated November 14, 1997, which was cited in AD 98-22-01, amendment 39-10847, are not considered acceptable for compliance with any requirements of this AD.

Repetitive Eddy Current and/or Dye Penetrant Inspections

(b) Except as required by paragraph (a)(2) of this AD: Prior to the accumulation of 7,875 total flight cycles or within 375 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, perform an eddy current or dye penetrant inspection of the NLG main fitting subassembly to detect cracking, in accordance with Part 2 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Fokker Service Bulletin SBF100-32-118, dated October 8, 1999. Such inspection within the compliance time required by paragraph (a) of this AD terminates the requirements of paragraph (a) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter, using an eddy current or dye penetrant technique, at intervals not to exceed 750 flight cycles.

(c) If any cracking is detected during any inspection required by paragraph (b) of this AD: Prior to further flight, rework the main fitting of the NLG, in accordance with Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Fokker Service Bulletin SBF100-32-118, dated October 8, 1999. If, after rework, any cracking remains that exceeds the limits specified in the service bulletin, prior to further flight, accomplish the actions specified by either paragraph (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this AD.

(1) Replace the NLG in accordance with the service bulletin; and within 7,875 flight cycles after such replacement, perform the inspection as specified in paragraph (b) of this AD, and repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 750 flight cycles. Or

(2) Repair in accordance with a method approved by either the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Rijksluchtvaartdienst (RLD) (or its delegated agent). For a repair method to be approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, as required by this paragraph, the Manager's approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

Note 4:

The Fokker service bulletin references Messier-Dowty Service Bulletin F100-32-92, Revision 1, dated October 8, 1999, as an additional source of service information for accomplishing the inspections and rework of the NLG main fitting subassembly.

Reporting Requirements

(d) Submit a report of the detailed visual inspection findings (positive and negative) required by paragraph (a) and a report of the initial eddy current or dye penetrant inspection findings (positive and negative) required by paragraph (b) to Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands; at the applicable time specified in paragraph (d)(1) or (d)(2). Information collection requirements contained in this regulation have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMP) under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. Start Printed Page 139263501 et seq.) and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

(1) For airplanes on which the detailed visual inspection specified by paragraph (a) of this AD and the initial repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspection specified by paragraph (b) of this AD are accomplished after the effective date of this AD: Submit each report within 7 days after performing the applicable inspection.

(2) For airplanes on which the detailed visual inspection specified by paragraph (a) of this AD and the initial repetitive eddy current or dye penetrant inspection specified in paragraph (b) of this AD have been accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD: Submit the reports within 7 days after the effective date of this AD.

Spares

(e) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install a NLG having P/N 201071001 or 201071002 unless the installed MFSA has been inspected, by means of an eddy current or dye penetrant inspection, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

Note 5:

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

(g) 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 6:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Dutch airworthiness directive BLA 1997-116/2 (A), dated October 29, 1999.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 9, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-6331 Filed 3-14-00; 8:45 am]

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