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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; British Aerospace BAe Model ATP Airplanes

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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 British Aerospace BAe Model ATP airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections to detect discrepancies of the downlock support assembly and attachment of the nose landing gear (NLG), and of the bulkhead and adjacent structure in the NLG bay; and corrective action, if necessary. 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 damage of the NLG downlock support, which could result in collapse of the NLG and consequent injury to passengers or flightcrew.

DATES:

Comments must be received by May 8, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-230-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from British Aerospace Regional Aircraft, 13850 Mclearen Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171. 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-230-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-230-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Civil Aviation Authority, which is the airworthiness authority for the United Kingdom, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain British Aerospace BAe Model ATP airplanes. The CAA advises that the downlock structure of the nose landing gear (NLG) has been found damaged. The exact cause of the damage has not yet been determined. This condition, if not corrected, could result in collapse of the NLG and consequent injury to passengers or flightcrew.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

British Aerospace has issued Service Bulletin ATP-53-36, Revision 1, dated February 21, 2000, which describes procedures for repetitive general visual inspections to detect discrepancies of the downlock support assembly and attachment of the NLG, and of the bulkhead and adjacent structure in the NLG bay; and corrective action, if necessary. Discrepancies for which to inspect include damage of the NLG downlock support, downlock backup structure, and attachment locations; damage or loose nuts and bolts of the NLG downlock attachment; and damage of the bulkhead 378FS web, boundary angles, and attachment locations, and the airplane skin attached to bulkhead 378FS. Corrective actions include repair of any damage and torquing of any loose nut or bolt to the limits specified in the service bulletin. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The CAA classified this service bulletin as mandatory, and issued British airworthiness directive 006-06-99, in order to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the United Kingdom.

FAA's Conclusions

This airplane model is manufactured in the United Kingdom and is 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 CAA has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the CAA, 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 require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 10 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $2,400, or $240 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no Start Printed Page 18261operator 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:

British Aerospace Regional Aircraft [Formerly Jetstream Aircraft Limited; British Aerospace (Commercial Aircraft) Limited]: Docket 99-NM-230-AD.

Applicability: BAe Model ATP airplanes, constructor's numbers 2002 through 2063 inclusive, 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 detect and correct damage of the nose landing gear (NLG) downlock support, which could result in collapse of the NLG, and consequent injury to passengers or flightcrew, accomplish the following:

Repetitive Inspections and Corrective Action

(a) Within 6 months or 750 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, perform a general visual inspection to detect discrepancies (e.g., damage, or loose nuts or bolts) of the NLG downlock support assembly, bulkhead, attachment locations, and adjacent structure in the NLG bay; in accordance with British Aerospace Service Bulletin ATP-53-36, Revision 1, dated February 21, 2000. Thereafter, repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 2 years or 3,000 flight cycles, whichever occurs first.

(1) If any damage is found during any inspection in accordance with paragraph (a) of this AD, prior to further flight, repair in accordance with the service bulletin.

(2) If any loose nut or bolt is found during any inspection in accordance with paragraph (a) of this AD, prior to further flight, torque the affected nut or bolt to the limits specified in the service bulletin, in accordance with the service bulletin.

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 obvious 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.”

Note 3:

Inspections and corrective actions accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD in accordance with British Aerospace Service Bulletin ATP-53-36, dated June 9, 1999, are considered acceptable for compliance with the applicable actions specified in this amendment.

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, International Branch, ANM-116, 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, International Branch, ANM-116.

Note 4:

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

(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.

Note 5:

The subject of this AD is addressed in British airworthiness directive 006-06-99.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 3, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-8686 Filed 4-6-00; 8:45 am]

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