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Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -15, -30, -30F, and -40 Series Airplanes, and KC-10A (Military) Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -15, -30, -30F, and -40 series airplanes, and KC-10A (military) airplanes, that requires a one-time general visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary. This amendment is prompted by incidents of smoke and electrical odor in the flight compartment and cabin area as a result of failure of circuit breakers. The actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent internal overheating and arcing of circuit breakers and airplane wiring due to long-term use and breakdown of internal components of the circuit breakers, which could result in smoke and fire in the flight compartment and main cabin.

DATES:

Effective June 16, 2000.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of June 16, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

The service information referenced in this AD 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, Rules Docket, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Start Printed Page 30535Transport Airplane Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Start Further Info

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.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -15, -30, -30F, and -40 series airplanes, and KC-10A (military) airplanes was published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2000 (65 FR 4188). That action proposed to require a one-time general visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary.

Comments

Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. Due consideration has been given to the comments received.

Support for the Proposed Rule

Two commenters support the proposed rule.

Requests to Revise Compliance Times

One commenter requests that the compliance time for accomplishing the one-time general visual inspection be extended from the proposed 18 months to 26 months. The commenter states that such an extension will allow the inspection to be accomplished at a regularly scheduled maintenance visit. The commenter also states that the proposed 18-month compliance time would cause it to remove nine airplanes from service, which would cost $42,775 per airplane, per day.

The FAA partially concurs. The FAA finds that the compliance times can be extended somewhat. Extending the compliance time by 6 additional months will not adversely affect safety, and will allow the inspection to be performed at a base during regularly scheduled maintenance where special equipment and trained maintenance personnel will be available if necessary. Paragraph (a) of the final rule has been revised to specify a compliance time of 24 months.

Two commenters request that the compliance time for accomplishing the replacement of the circuit breaker be extended from the proposed “prior to further flight” to “at the next scheduled maintenance visit, but not later than 18 months after the effective date of this AD.” One commenter states that if there is a large number of suspect circuit breakers found during the inspection, there may not be sufficient spares available to return the airplane to service. The commenter also states that the requested extension will give operators and maintenance organizations time to order and replace the circuit breakers. Another commenter states that, because the number of circuit breakers cannot be determined on each airplane without accomplishing the proposed inspection, it would be difficult for operators to pre-order replacement units. As a result, airplanes could be grounded while waiting for parts.

The FAA has confirmed the parts availability problem and, therefore, concurs with the commenters' request. The FAA has determined that replacement of the circuit breaker at the next scheduled maintenance visit, but not later than 24 months after the effective date of this AD will not adversely affect safety. The final rule has been revised accordingly.

Conclusion

After careful review of the available data, including the comments noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule with the changes previously described. The FAA has determined that these changes will neither increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of the AD.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 412 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 300 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, it will take approximately 80 work hours per airplane to accomplish the required inspection of the circuit breakers (over 700 installed on each airplane), and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1,440,000, or $4,800 per airplane.

The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the 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 adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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2000-09-07 McDonnell Douglas: Amendment 39-11716. Docket 99-NM-212-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-10-10, -15, -30, -30F, and -40 series airplanes, and KC-10A (military) airplanes, as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A161, dated October 29, 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 Start Printed Page 30536airplanes 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 prevent internal overheating and arcing of circuit breakers and airplane wiring due to long-term use and breakdown of internal components of the circuit breakers, which could result in smoke and fire in the flight compartment and main cabin, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Replacement, if Necessary

(a) Within 24 months after effective date of this AD: Perform a one-time general visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breaker in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A161, dated October 29, 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 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.”

(1) If no Wood Electric Corporation or Wood Electric Division of Potter Brumfield Corporation circuit breaker is found, no further action is required by this paragraph.

(2) If any Wood Electric Corporation or Wood Electric Division of Potter Brumfield Corporation circuit breaker is found, at the next scheduled maintenance visit, but not later than 24 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the circuit breaker with a new circuit breaker in accordance with the service bulletin.

Spares

(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install, on any airplane, a circuit breaker, part number 104-205-104, 104-210-104, 104-215-104, 104-220-104, 104-225-104, 104-230-104, 104-235-104, 104-250-104, 447-205-102, 448-205-102, 505-205-102, 506-205-102, 447-507-102, 448-507-102, 505-507-102, 506-507-102, 447-210-102, 448-210-102, 505-210-102, 506-210-102, 447-215-102, 448-215-102, 505-215-102, 506-215-102, 447-220-102, 448-220-102, 505-220-102, 506-220-102, 447-225-102, 448-225-102, 505-225-102, 506-225-102, 448-235-102, 505-235-102, 506-235-102.

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, 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

(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.

Incorporation by Reference

(e) The actions shall be done in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC10-24A161, dated October 29, 1999. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies 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). Copies may be inspected 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; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

(f) This amendment becomes effective on June 16, 2000.

Start Signature

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

Vi L. Lipski,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-11544 Filed 5-11-00; 8:45 am]

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