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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, B4-605R, B4-622R, and F4-605R (A300-600) 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:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes to revise an existing airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to all Airbus Model A300-600 series airplanes, that currently requires repetitive ultrasonic inspections to detect cracks on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, and various follow-on actions. That AD was prompted by reports of cracking due to fatigue-related stress in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts at the center/outer wing junction. The actions specified by that AD are intended to detect and correct fatigue cracking on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the wings. This action would remove airplanes from the applicability of the existing AD.

DATES:

Comments must be received by February 9, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-306-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. 2000-NM-306-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 Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Norman B. Martenson, Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2110; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 action may be changed in light of the comments received.

Submit comments using the following format:

  • Organize comments issue-by-issue. For example, discuss a request to Start Printed Page 1920change 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 proposed 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 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 action must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2000-NM-306-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. 2000-NM-306-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

On February 11, 2000, the FAA issued AD 2000-03-20, amendment 39-11580 (65 FR 8642, February 22, 2000), applicable to all Airbus Model A300-600 series airplanes, to require repetitive ultrasonic inspections to detect cracks on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, and various follow-on actions. That action was prompted by reports of cracking due to fatigue-related stress in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts at the center/outer wing junction. The requirements of that AD are intended to detect and correct fatigue cracking on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the wings.

Actions Since Issuance of Previous Rule

Since the issuance of that AD, the Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, has issued French airworthiness directive 1995-063-177(B) R4, dated July 12, 2000. The revised French airworthiness directive removes Model A300 F4-622R from the applicability of the original French airworthiness directive since that airplane model is not subject to the unsafe condition specified previously for other Model A300-600 series airplanes.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would revise AD 2000-03-20 to continue to require the actions specified in that AD. This proposed AD would remove Model A300 F4-622R airplanes from the applicability of the existing AD.

Explanation of Airplane Model Designation

The applicability of AD 2000-03-20 includes the following airplane models:

A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, B4-605R, B4-622R, F4-605R, and F4-622R. However, since these airplanes are commonly referred to as “Model A300-600 series airplanes,” that model designation was specified in the applicability of that AD. Since the issuance of that AD, the FAA has determined that these airplanes should be designated exactly as they appear on the type certificate data sheet. Therefore, the applicability of this proposed AD designates each specific model (excluding Model F4-622R airplanes, which are purposely removed) without referring to the common name of the airplane.

Cost Impact

Since this proposed AD would merely delete airplanes from the applicability of the rule, it would add no additional costs, and would require no additional work to be performed by affected operators. The current costs associated with this proposed AD are reiterated in their entirety (as follows) for the convenience of affected operators:

The FAA estimates that 35 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane (1 work hour per side) to accomplish the proposed ultrasonic inspection, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed inspection on U.S. operators is estimated to be $4,200, or $120 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The cost impact figure discussed above is 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 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 proposal would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Start Printed Page 1921Administration proposes to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

Start Part

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.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by removing amendment 39-11580 (65 FR 8642, February 22, 2000), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 2000-NM-306-AD. Revises AD 2000-03-20, Amendment 39-11580.

Applicability: All Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, B4-605R, B4-622R, and F4-605R airplanes, 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 (d)(1) 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 fatigue cracking on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the wings, accomplish the following:

Inspections and Corrective Actions

(a) Perform an ultrasonic inspection to detect cracking on the forward fittings in the radius of frame 40 adjacent to the tension bolts in the center section of the wings, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6062, Revision 02, dated January 29, 1997, at the applicable time specified in either paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD.

(1) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 9,100 total landings or 22,300 total flight hours as of March 28, 2000 (the effective date of AD 2000-03-20, amendment 39-11580): Inspect at the later of the times specified in either paragraph (a)(1)(i) or (a)(1)(ii) of this AD.

(i) Prior to the accumulation of 7,250 total landings or 17,700 total flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(ii) Within 1,500 landings after March 28, 2000.

(2) For airplanes that have accumulated 9,100 total landings or more and 22,300 total flight hours or more as of March 28, 2000: Inspect within 750 landings after March 28, 2000.

Note 2:

Inspections that were accomplished prior to March 28, 2000, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6062, Revision 1, dated July 23, 1995, are considered acceptable for compliance with paragraph (a) of this AD.

(b) If no crack is detected during the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, repeat the ultrasonic inspection required by that paragraph thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6,500 landings or 16,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first; in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6062, Revision 02, dated January 29, 1997.

(c) If any crack is detected during any inspection required by paragraph (a) or (b) of this AD, prior to further flight, install an access door, and perform an eddy current inspection to confirm the presence of a crack; in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6062, Revision 02, dated January 29, 1997. Accomplishment of this eddy current inspection terminates the repetitive inspection requirement of paragraph (b) of this AD.

(1) If no crack is detected during the eddy current inspection, repeat the eddy current inspection, in accordance with the service bulletin, thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6,500 landings or 16,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(2) If any crack is detected during any eddy current inspection performed in accordance with paragraph (c) or (c)(1) of this AD, prior to further flight, blend out the crack and repeat the eddy current inspection in accordance with the service bulletin.

(i) If the eddy current inspection performed after the blend-out shows that the crack has been removed, and if the blend-out is equal to or less than 50 millimeters (mm) long and equal to or less than 2 mm deep, thereafter repeat the eddy current inspection at intervals not to exceed 2,800 landings or 7,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(ii) If the eddy current inspection performed after the blend-out shows that the crack has not been removed, or if the blend-out is more than 50 mm long or more than 2 mm deep, prior to further flight, repair in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (or its delegated agent).

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(d)(1) 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, International Branch, ANM-116. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.

(2) Operators may request an extension to the compliance times of this AD in accordance with the “adjustment-for-range” formula found in Paragraph 1.B.(5) of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6062, Revision 02, dated January 29, 1997; and provided in A300-600 Maintenance Review Board, Section 5, Paragraph 5.4. The average flight time per flight cycle (landing) in hours used in this formula should be for an individual airplane. Average flight time for a group of airplanes may be used if all airplanes of the group have flight times differing by no more than 10 percent. If compliance times are based on the average flight time for a group of airplanes, the flight times for individual airplanes of the group must be included for FAA review.

Note 3:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.

Special Flight Permits

(e) 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.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 1995-063-177(B) R4, dated July 12, 2000.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 4, 2001.

Dorenda D. Baker,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-662 Filed 1-9-01; 8:45 am]

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