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Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 737-600, -700, and -800 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:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 737-600, -700, and -800 series airplanes. This action requires installation of placards on the P3-1 panel. This action is necessary to prevent loss of communication between the flight crew and Air Traffic Control; this situation could result in the flight crew being unaware of an unsafe scenario when the airplane is on the ground. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective July 28, 2000.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of July 28, 2000.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before September 11, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-209-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. Comments may be submitted via fax to (425) 227-1232. Comments may also be sent via the Internet using the following address: 9-anm-iarcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2000-NM-209-AD” in the subject line and need not be submitted in triplicate. Comments sent via the Internet as attached electronic files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jay Yi, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1013; fax (425) 227-1181.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has received reports of several incidents in which the flight crew lost communication with Air Traffic Control (ATC) while the airplane was taxiing or on hold for takeoff. These incidents occurred on Boeing Model 737-700 series airplanes. Investigation revealed that the loss of communication is due to the location of the very high frequency (VHF) VHF-1 and VHF-2 antennas. This condition, if not corrected, could result in loss of communication between the flight crew and ATC; this situation could result in the flight crew being unaware of an unsafe scenario when the airplane is on the ground.

The VHF-1 and VHF-2 antennas on certain Model 737-700 series airplanes are identical to those installed on certain Model 737-600 and 737-800 series airplanes. Therefore, all of these models may be subject to the same unsafe condition.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-23A1170, dated April 27, 2000, which describes procedures for installation of placards on the P3-1 panel. The placards instruct the flight crew to use the VHF radio that is connected to the upper antenna for ATC communications when the airplane is on the ground.

Explanation of the Requirements of the Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other Boeing Model 737-600, -700, and -800 series airplanes of the same type design, this AD is being issued to prevent loss of communication between the flight crew and ATC, which could result in the flight crew being unaware of an unsafe scenario when the airplane is on the ground. This AD requires accomplishment of the action specified in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between the Proposed AD and Relevant Service Information

Operators should note that, although the service bulletin recommends accomplishing the installation within 10 days (from receipt of the service bulletin), the FAA has determined that an interval of 60 days would address the identified unsafe condition in a timely manner. In developing an appropriate compliance time for this AD, the FAA considered not only the manufacturer's recommendation, but the degree of urgency associated with addressing the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, parts availability, and the time necessary to perform the installation (less than one hour). The FAA has verified that the lead time for obtaining the required placards will exceed the 10-day compliance time recommended in the subject service bulletin. In light of all of these factors, the FAA finds a 60-day compliance time will accommodate the Start Printed Page 43218time necessary for affected operators to order, obtain, and install the placards, without adversely affecting safety.

Interim Action

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

Determination of Rule's Effective Date

Since a situation exists that requires the immediate adoption of this regulation, it is found that notice and opportunity for prior public comment hereon are impracticable, and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and, thus, was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

Submit comments using the following format:

  • Organize comments issue-by-issue. For example, discuss a request to change the compliance time and a request to change the service bulletin reference as two separate issues.
  • For each issue, state what specific change to the AD is being requested.
  • Include justification (e.g., reasons or data) for each request.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the rule that might suggest a need to modify the 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 that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2000-NM-209-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

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.

The FAA has determined that this regulation is an emergency regulation that must be issued immediately to correct an unsafe condition in aircraft, and that it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866. It has been determined further that this action involves an emergency regulation under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). If it is determined that this emergency regulation otherwise would be significant under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures, a final regulatory evaluation will be prepared and placed in the Rules Docket. A copy of it, if filed, may be obtained from 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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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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2000-14-02 Boeing: Amendment 39-11811. Docket 2000-NM-209-AD.

Applicability: Model 737-600, -700, and -800 series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-23A1170, dated April 27, 2000; 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 prevent loss of communication between the flight crew and Air Traffic Control (ATC), which could result in the flight crew being unaware of an unsafe scenario when the airplane is on the ground, accomplish the following:

Installation of Placards

(a) Within 60 days after the effective date of this AD, install placards on the P3-1 panel in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-23A1170, dated April 27, 2000.

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, Seattle 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, Seattle ACO.

Note 2:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle ACO.

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.

Incorporation by Reference

(d) The installation shall be done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-23A1170, dated April 27, 2000. 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 Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC. Start Printed Page 43219

Effective Date

(e) This amendment becomes effective on July 28, 2000.

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

Vi L. Lipski,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-17301 Filed 7-12-00; 8:45 am]

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