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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 and A340 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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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 Airbus Model A330 and A340 series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections to check the play of the eye-end of the piston rod of the elevator servo-controls, and follow-on corrective actions, 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 excessive play of the eye-end of the piston rod of the elevator servo-controls, which could result in failure of the elevator servo-control.

DATES:

Comments must be received by May 11, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-64-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 2000-NM-64-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-64-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A330 and A340 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that it has received a report of a broken piston rod of an elevator servo-control. The failure has been attributed to the degradation of the Teflon liner from the eye-end spherical bearing of the piston rod. This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the elevator servo-control.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A330-27-3062 (for Model A330 series airplanes) and A340-27-4072 (for Model A340 series airplanes), both Revision 01, dated July 21, 1999. These service bulletins describe procedures for repetitive inspections to check the play of the piston rod eye-end of the elevator servo-controls. Corrective actions for small amounts of play involve replacing the rod eye-end with a new SARMA or NMB rod eye-end. Corrective actions for greater amounts of play involve performing a dye penetrant inspection of the servo-control to detect cracking, and replacing the rod eye-end of a crack-free servo-control with a new SARMA or NMB rod eye-end or replacing a cracked servo-control with a new servo-control.

The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directives 2000-025-109(B) R1 (for Model A330 series airplanes) and 2000-024-135(B) R1 (for Model A340 series airplanes), both dated March 8, 2000, in order to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

The Airbus service bulletins refer to SAMM Service Bulletin SC4800-27-34-06, dated January 2, 1999, as an additional source of service information for accomplishment of the dye penetrant inspection.

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 Start Printed Page 19349kept 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 require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between Proposed AD and Relevant Service Information

The service bulletins identify various compliance times for replacement of the rod eye-end, depending on the amount of play detected; the French airworthiness directives support those criteria. However, this proposed AD would require that all corrective actions be accomplished prior to further flight, regardless of the findings. The FAA has determined that, because of the safety implications and consequences associated with such a discrepancy, any subject rod eye-end that is found to have an amount of play exceeding specified limits must be replaced or further inspected prior to further flight.

In addition, the service bulletins recommend that the repetitive inspections specified therein be accomplished at the operators' respective C-checks. However, this proposed AD would require that the repetitive inspections be performed at 15-month intervals, in consonance with the DGAC's recommendations. Maintenance schedules including C-checks may vary from operator to operator; therefore, the FAA finds it necessary to specify a time limit for accomplishment of the inspections. The proposed repetitive interval corresponds to a normal C-check for the majority of affected operators.

Cost Impact

None of the airplanes affected by this action are on the U.S. Register. All airplanes included in the applicability of this rule currently are operated by non-U.S. operators under foreign registry; therefore, they are not directly affected by this proposed AD action. However, the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject airplanes are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.

Should an affected airplane be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 2 work hours to accomplish the required actions, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this proposed AD would be $120 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

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:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 2000-NM-64-AD.

Applicability: Model A330 and A340 series airplanes, certificated in any category, equipped with any “SAMM” elevator servo-control having any part number SC4800-2 through SC4800-8 inclusive.

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 excessive play of the eye-end of the piston rod of the elevator servo-controls, which could result in failure of the elevator servo-control, accomplish the following:

(a) Within 30 months since date of manufacture of the airplane, or within 500 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, perform an inspection to check the play of the piston rod eye-ends of the elevator servo-controls, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-27-3062 (for Model A330 series airplanes) or A340-27-4072 (for Model A340 series airplanes), both Revision 01, both dated July 21, 1999. Thereafter, repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 15 months.

(1) If any play that is 0.0059 inch (0.15 mm) or greater and less than 0.0118 inch (0.30 mm) is detected: Prior to further flight, replace the rod eye-end with a new SARMA or NMB rod eye-end, in accordance with the applicable service bulletin.

(2) If any play that is 0.0118 inch (0.30 mm) or greater is detected: Prior to further flight, perform a dye penetrant inspection to detect cracking of the servo-control, in accordance with the applicable service bulletin.

(i) If no crack is detected: Prior to further flight, replace the rod eye-end with a new SARMA or NMB rod eye-end, in accordance with the applicable service bulletin.

(ii) If any crack is detected: Prior to further flight, replace the servo-control with a new servo-control, in accordance with the applicable service bulletin.

Note 2:

Accomplishment of an inspection in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-27-3062 (for Model A330 series airplanes) or A340-27-4072 (for Model A340 series airplanes), both dated February 5, 1999; is considered acceptable for compliance with the initial inspection requirements of paragraph (a) of this AD.

Note 3:

The Airbus service bulletins reference SAMM Service Bulletin SC4800-27-34-06, dated January 2, 1999, as an additional source of service information for accomplishment of the dye penetrant inspection specified by paragraph (a)(2) of this AD.

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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 French airworthiness directives 2000-025-109(B) R1 (for Model A330 series airplanes) and 2000-024-135(B) R1 (for Model A340 series airplanes), both dated March 8, 2000.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 5, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-8994 Filed 4-10-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-U