Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and Start Printed Page 20953A321 series airplanes. This proposal would require performing a general visual inspection of the outer handle flap mechanisms of the passenger doors for the presence of corrosion inhibitor and for correct operation; cleaning, if necessary; and greasing. This action is necessary to prevent blockage of the outer handle flap in an intermediate pushed-in position, which may prevent a passenger door from opening from the inside of the airplane, thereby delaying an emergency evacuation. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by May 29, 2001.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-421-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: email@example.com. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2000-NM-421-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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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 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 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-421-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-421-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that, on one Model A320 series airplane, one passenger door was found impossible to open from the inside of the airplane. From the outside of the airplane, the outer handle flap assembly was found in an intermediate pushed-in position, preventing the door from opening from the inside. No grease could be seen on the handle mechanism, indicating that the greasing operation had not been performed in production on that airplane, which was recently delivered. Greasing of the outer handle mechanism restored normal operation.
Further investigation, performed in production, showed abnormal presence of corrosion inhibitor on the outer handle mechanism on some airplanes, although no corrosion inhibitor was found on the outer handle of the above affected airplane. The presence of corrosion inhibitor on the outer handle mechanism, while not expected to cause the blockage, is considered to be an additional contributing factor.
The lack of proper greasing, if not corrected, could prevent a passenger door from opening from the inside of the airplane, thereby resulting in a delay in evacuation during emergency conditions.
The subject area on certain Model A319 and A321 series airplanes is almost identical to that on the affected Model A320 series airplanes. Therefore, those Model A319 and A321 series airplanes may be subject to the same unsafe condition revealed on the Model A320 series airplane.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued All Operators Telex (AOT) A320-52A1106, dated September 28, 2000, which describes procedures for performing a one-time general visual inspection of the outer handle flap mechanisms of the passenger doors for the presence of corrosion inhibitor and for correct operation; cleaning, if necessary; and greasing of the four main passenger doors. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the AOT is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified this AOT as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2000-519-158(B), dated December 13, 2000, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.
These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 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 Start Printed Page 20954develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the AOT described previously.
Differences Between Proposed Rule and Foreign AD
The proposed AD would differ from the parallel French airworthiness directive in that it would not specify performance of Maintenance Review Board (MRB) Task 52-10-00, Item 3, as an alternative means of compliance with this proposed AD. The FAA has determined that the applicable AOT provides more precise and detailed procedures for performing the actions required to address the identified unsafe condition.
The FAA estimates that 63 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $3,780, or $60 per airplane.
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 proposed 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.
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 39End List of Subjects
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:Start Part
PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:
Airbus Industrie: Docket 2000-NM-421-AD.
Applicability: Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes, up to and including manufacturer's serial number (MSN) 1261, certificated in any category.
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 blockage of the outer door handle flap in an intermediate pushed-in position, which may prevent a passenger door from opening from the inside of the airplane, accomplish the following:
Inspection and Corrective Action
(a) Within 500 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, perform a one-time general visual inspection of the outer handle flap mechanisms of the passenger doors for the presence of corrosion inhibitor and for correct operation; remove any corrosion inhibitor, grease the doors, and check that the flap comes back correctly, flush with the door skin, when the handle is in the closed position; in accordance with Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) A320-54A1106, dated September 28, 2000.
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, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA. 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.
Information concerning the existence of other approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.
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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2000-519-158(B), dated December 13, 2000.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 19, 2001.
Donald L. Riggin,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 01-10343 Filed 4-25-01; 8:45 am]
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