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Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 737-200 and -300 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This document publishes in the Federal Register an amendment adopting airworthiness directive (AD) 2000-13-51 that was sent previously to certain U.S. owners and operators of Boeing Model 737-200 and -300 series airplanes by individual notices. This AD requires repetitive special detailed inspections to detect cracking of the main deck cargo door frames, their existing reinforcing angles (where applicable), and the attach holes of the latch fittings between frame station (FS) 361.87 and FS 498.12, and between water line (WL) 202.35 and WL 213.00, in the area where the main deck cargo door latch fittings attach to the frames, and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is prompted by a report indicating that three of the subject airplanes had multiple cracks in the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames and, in some cases, the reinforcing angles. The actions specified by this AD are intended to detect and correct cracking of the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames, which could result in sudden depressurization, loss or opening of the main deck cargo door during flight, and loss of control of the airplane.

DATES:

Effective July 25, 2000, to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by emergency AD 2000-13-51, issued July 3, 2000, which contained the requirements of this amendment.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before September 18, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-216-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. 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-216-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.

Information pertaining to this amendment may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia; 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:

Rany Azzi, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe and Propulsion Branch, ACE-117A, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30337-2748, telephone (770) 703-6083; fax (770) 703-6097.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On July 3, 2000, the FAA issued emergency AD 2000-13-51, which is applicable to all Boeing Model 737-200 and -300 series airplanes equipped with a main deck cargo door installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA2969SO.

That action was prompted by a report indicating that three of the subject airplanes had multiple cracks in the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames and, in some cases, the reinforcing angles. The exact cause of the cracking is unknown at this time. The area of the cracking is between frame station (FS) 361.87 and FS 498.12 where the latch fittings attach to the main deck cargo door frames. Such cracking in the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames could cause reduced structural integrity of the main deck cargo door. This condition, if not corrected, could result in sudden depressurization, loss or opening of the main deck cargo door during flight, and loss of control of the airplane. Start Printed Page 44978

Explanation of Requirements of the Rule

Since the unsafe condition described is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design, the FAA issued emergency AD 2000-13-51 to detect and correct cracking of the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames, which could result in sudden depressurization, loss or opening of the main deck cargo door during flight, and loss of control of the airplane. The AD requires repetitive special detailed inspections to detect cracking of the main deck cargo door frames, their existing reinforcing angles (where applicable), and the attach holes of the latch fittings between FS 361.87 and FS 498.12, and between WL 202.35 and WL 213.00, in the area where the main deck cargo door latch fittings attach to the frames, and corrective actions, if necessary.

Since it was found that immediate corrective action was required, notice and opportunity for prior public comment thereon were impracticable and contrary to the public interest, and good cause existed to make the AD effective immediately by individual notices issued on July 3, 2000 to all known U.S. owners and operators of Boeing Model 737-200 and -300 series airplanes equipped with a main deck cargo door installed in accordance with STC SA2969SO. These conditions still exist, and the AD is hereby published in the Federal Register as an amendment to section 39.13 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 39.13) to make it effective to all persons.

Reporting Requirements

This AD also requires that operators report the results of the special detailed inspection to the FAA. Because the cause of the addressed cracking is not currently known, the intent of these required inspection reports is to enable the FAA to determine how widespread such cracking problems may be in the affected fleet.

Interim Action

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

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.

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-216-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

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

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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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2000-13-51 Boeing: Amendment 39-11826. Docket 2000-NM-216-AD.

Applicability: Model 737-200 and -300 series airplanes equipped with a main deck cargo door installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA2969SO; certificated in any category.

Note 1:

This AD applies to each airplane identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been otherwise 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 (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 detect and correct cracking of the lower portion of the main deck cargo door frames, which could result in sudden depressurization, loss or opening of the main deck cargo door during flight, and loss of control of the airplane, accomplish the following:

(a) Prior to further flight after the effective date of this AD, perform a special detailed inspection using a borescope to detect cracking of the main deck cargo door frames, their existing reinforcing angles (where applicable), and the attach holes of the latch fittings between frame station (FS) 361.87 and FS 498.12, and between water line (WL) 202.35 and WL 213.00, in the area where the main deck cargo door latch fittings attach to the frames.

(1) If no cracking is detected, repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 150 flight cycles.

(2) If any cracking is detected, prior to further flight, accomplish the requirements of Start Printed Page 44979either paragraph (a)(2)(i) or (a)(2)(ii) of this AD.

(i) Replace all discrepant parts with new parts having the same part numbers and repeat the special detailed inspection using a borescope thereafter at intervals not to exceed 150 flight cycles.

(ii) Repair in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA.

Note 2:

For the purpose of this AD a special detailed inspection is defined as: “An intensive examination of a specific item(s), installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. The examination is likely to make extensive use of specialized inspection techniques and or equipment. Intricate cleaning and substantial access or disassembly procedure may be required.”

Reporting Requirements

(b) Within 10 days after accomplishing the actions required by paragraph (a) of this AD, submit a report of any findings of cracking to the Manager, FAA, Atlanta ACO, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia, fax (770) 703-6097. Information collection requirements contained in this regulation have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

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, Atlanta ACO. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Atlanta ACO.

Note 3:

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

Special Flight Permits

(d) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with §§ 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.

Effective Date

(e) This amendment becomes effective on July 25, 2000, to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by emergency AD 2000-13-51, issued on July 3, 2000, which contained the requirements of this amendment.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 13, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-18280 Filed 7-19-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-U