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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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Start Preamble

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 McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8 series airplanes. This proposal would require an inspection of the antifogging or heating wiring to detect chafing or damage, as applicable; inspection of the insulation blankets to detect damage; and repair, if necessary. This proposal also would require revising the clearview window heating wiring installations. This proposal is prompted by a report of an electrical short that resulted in damage to the antifogging circuit wiring and insulation blanket above the Captain's clearview window. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent chafed and damaged wires as a result of a sharp bend and restricted space between the fuselage frame and the clearview window in the full open position, which could result in an electrical short, damage to the antifogging circuit wiring and insulation blanket, and consequent smoke and fire in the flight deck.

DATES:

Comments must be received by October 16, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-273-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-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 99-NM-273-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 the proposed rule 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, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elvin Wheeler, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5344; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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 99-NM-273-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. 99-NM-273-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

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 a report of an electrical short that resulted in damage to the antifogging circuit wiring and insulation blanket above the Captain's clearview window on a McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8 series airplane. The incident occurred when wires chafed and arced as a result of the sharp bend and restricted space between the fuselage frame and clearview window in the full open position. This condition, if not corrected, could result in an electrical short, damage to the antifogging circuit wiring and insulation blanket, and consequent smoke and fire in the flight deck.

Other Related Rulemaking

The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model DC-8 series airplanes, is continuing to review all aspects of the service history of those airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate Start Printed Page 53202corrective actions. This proposed 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 McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC8-30A032, Revision 02, dated September 21, 1999. The service bulletin describes procedures for a detailed visual inspection of the heating wiring (Group 1 airplanes) or antifogging wiring (Group 2 airplanes) to detect chafing or damage, a general visual inspection of the insulation blankets to detect damage, and repair, if necessary. The service bulletin also describes procedures for revising the clearview window heating wiring conduit installations, including installation of certain tubes, grommets, and new terminals, as applicable. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 163 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 113 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed detailed visual inspections, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspections proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $13,560, or $120 per airplane.

The FAA also estimates that 54 airplanes of U.S. registry specified as “Group 1” in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC8-30A032, Revision 02, dated September 21, 1999, would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 5 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed wiring revision. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the wiring revision proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $16,200, or $300 per airplane.

The FAA also estimates that 59 airplanes of U.S. registry specified as “Group 2” in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC8-30A032, Revision 02, dated September 21, 1999, would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed wiring revision. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the wiring revision proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $14,160, or $240 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted. The cost impact figures discussed in AD rulemaking actions represent only the time necessary to perform the specific actions actually required by the AD. These figures typically do not include incidental costs, such as the time required to gain access and close up, planning time, or time necessitated by other administrative actions.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations proposed herein would not have substantial direct effects 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, in accordance with Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this proposal would not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

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:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 99-NM-273-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, DC-8-43, DC-8-51, DC-8-52, DC-8-53, DC-88-55, DC-8F-54, DC-8F-55, DC-8-61, DC-8-61F, DC-8-62, DC-8-62F, DC-8-63, and DC-8-63F series airplanes, as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC8-30A032, Revision 02, dated September 21, 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 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 chafed and damaged wires as a result of a sharp bend and restricted space between the fuselage frame and the clearview window in the full open position, which could result in an electrical short, damage to the antifogging circuit wiring and insulation blanket, and consequent smoke and fire in the flight deck, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Modification

(a) Within 2 years after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed visual inspection of the heating wiring (Group 1 airplanes) or antifogging wiring (Group 2 airplanes) to detect chafing or damage, as applicable, perform a general visual inspection of the insulation blankets to detect damage, and revise the clearview window heating wiring conduit installation; in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC8-30A032, Revision 02, dated September 21, 1999. If any damaged insulation blanket or wire is detected, or if any chafed wire is detected, prior to further flight, repair in accordance with the service bulletin.

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Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed visual inspection is defined as: “An intensive visual examination of a specific structural area, system, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at intensity deemed appropriate by the inspector. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”

Note 3:

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.”

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. 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 4:

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 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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 25, 2000.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-22305 Filed 8-31-00; 8:45 am]

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