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Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes. This action requires repetitive inspections to verify operation of the Start Printed Page 48363remote control circuit breakers (RCCB) of the alternating current (AC) cabin bus switch, and replacement of any discrepant RCCB with a new RCCB. This action is necessary to prevent propagation of smoke and fumes in the cockpit and passenger cabin due to an inoperable RCCB of the AC cabin bus switch during smoke and fume isolation procedures. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective August 23, 2000.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of August 23, 2000.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before October 10, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-219-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-219-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 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 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brett Portwood, 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) 627-5350; fax (562) 627-5210.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

As part of its practice of re-examining all aspects of the service experience of a particular aircraft whenever an accident occurs, the FAA has become aware of incidents in which certain remote control circuit breakers (RCCB) of the alternating current (AC) cabin bus switch failed when the switch was pushed to the “OFF” position. These incidents occurred on McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes. Investigation revealed that an inoperable RCCB may not trip open (disconnects cabin bus loads) when commanded during smoke and fume isolation procedures. Even though an RCCB may be inoperable, the cabin bus “OFF” overhead switch light could still illuminate, which could mislead the flightcrew that all cabin buses have been deenergized. An inoperable RCCB of the AC cabin bus switch during smoke and fume isolation procedures, if not corrected, could result in the propagation of smoke and fumes in the cockpit and passenger cabin.

These incidents are not considered to be related to an accident that occurred off the coast of Nova Scotia involving a McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplane. The cause of that accident is still under investigation.

Other Related Rulemaking

The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model MD-11 series airplanes, is continuing to review all aspects of the service history of those airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate corrective actions. This airworthiness directive (AD) is one of a series of actions identified during that process. The process is continuing and the FAA may consider additional rulemaking actions as further results of the review become available.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A181, dated June 27, 2000, which describes procedures for repetitive inspections to verify operation of the RCCB's of the AC cabin bus switch, and replacement of any discrepant RCCB with a new RCCB.

Explanation of the Requirements of the Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes of the same type design, this AD is being issued to prevent propagation of smoke and fumes in the cockpit and passenger cabin due to an inoperable RCCB during smoke and fume isolation procedures. This AD requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously.

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 Start Printed Page 48364concerned 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-219-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]

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

2000-15-14 McDonnell Douglas: Amendment 39-11846. Docket 2000-NM-219-AD.

Applicability: Model MD-11 series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A181, dated June 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 propagation of smoke and fumes in the cockpit and passenger cabin due to an inoperable remote control circuit breaker (RCCB) of the alternating current (AC) cabin bus switch during smoke and fume isolation procedures, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within 45 days after the effective date of this AD, perform an inspection to verify operation of the RCCB's of the AC cabin bus switch in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A181, dated June 27, 2000.

Condition 1 (Proper Operation): Repetitive Inspections

(1) If all RCCB's are operating properly, repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 700 flight hours.

Condition 2 (Improper Operation): Replacement and Repetitive Inspections

(2) If any RCCB is NOT operating properly, prior to further flight, replace the failed RCCB with a new RCCB in accordance with the service bulletin. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 700 flight hours.

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, 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 2:

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

(c) 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.

Incorporation by Reference

(d) The actions shall be done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A181, dated June 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 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.

Effective Date

(e) This amendment becomes effective on August 23, 2000.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 28, 2000.

John J. Hickey,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-19814 Filed 8-7-00; 8:45 am]

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