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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 B2 and B4; A310; and A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (Collectively Called 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.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A300 B2 and B4; A310; and A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (collectively called A300-600) series airplanes. This proposal would require modification of certain components related to the fuel level sensors. This action is necessary to prevent the possibility of overheating of the fuel level sensors, which could lead to the risk of explosion in the fuel tank. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by June 1, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-412-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-412-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:

Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1175; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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 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-412-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-412-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A300 B2 and B4; A310; and A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (collectively called A300-600) series airplanes. The DGAC advises that investigations by the manufacturer have revealed that, if a 115V alternating current (AC) short circuit occurs outside of the fuel tanks, in the wiring that is routed with the fuel level sensor harnesses, the sensing element in the fuel level sensors could overheat. This overheating of the sensors could cause possible ignition of the fuel tank vapors, resulting in an explosion inside of the fuel tank.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A300-28-0078, dated September 27, 2000, which describes procedures for installing new fused fuel level sensors and new harness connectors in the wing inner and outer fuel tanks and the center fuel tank on Model A300 B2 and B4 series airplanes. Airbus has also issued Service Bulletins A310-28-2141, including Appendix 01; and A300-28-6063; both dated September 27, 2000; which describe procedures for installing fused adapters for the fuel level sensors between the aircraft external wiring harness and the in-tank wiring at the fuel tank wall connectors in Model A310 and A300-600 series airplanes. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2000-481-324(B), dated November 29, 2000, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

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 develop 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 service bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 157 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately the number of work hours per airplane specified in the table below to accomplish the proposed modifications, and that the average Start Printed Page 21895labor rate is $60 per work hour. Approximate required parts costs and costs per airplane are listed in the table below:

Approximate Cost per Airplane

Airplane modelWork hoursParts costApproximate cost per airplane
A300 B2, Post Modification 03082S40688$18,241$18,721
A300 B2, Pre Modification 03082S4068816,69017,170
A300 B4, Post Modification 01664S23681624,51225,472
A300 B4, Pre Modification 01664S23681622,81123,771
A310-2001011,97212,572
A310-3001216,12516,845
A300-60023,8053,925

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 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.

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.

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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:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 2000-NM-412-AD.

Applicability: Model A300 B2 and B4 series airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 12201 has been embodied in production; and Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (collectively called A300-600) series airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 12202 has been embodied in production; 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 prevent the possibility of overheating of the fuel level sensors, which could lead to the risk of explosion in the fuel tank, accomplish the following:

Modification

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, modify the electrical connectors to the fuel sensors by the installation of new connectors and new sensors, or fused adapters for the sensors, as applicable, in accordance with the applicable service bulletin listed in the following table:

Table 1.—Applicable Service Bulletins

Airbus model series airplaneAirbus service bulletin No.Service bulletin date
(1) A300 B2 and B4A300-28-0078September 27, 2000.
(2) A310A310-28-2141September 27, 2000.
(3) A300-600A300-28-6063September 27, 2000.

Spare Parts

(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install on any airplane a part with any of the identifying numbers listed in the following table:

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Table 2.—Prohibited Spare Parts

Airbus model series airplanePartPart No.
(1) A300 B2 and B4Sensor718-054-1
(2) A300 B2 and B4Sensor718-557
(3) A300 B2 and B4Sensor718-055-1
(4) A300 B2 and B4Connector852510R8T33SN02
(5) A310ConnectorE0052R10B6SNE
(6) A310ConnectorE0052R12B10SNE
(7) A310ConnectorE0052R14B19SNE
(8) A300-600ConnectorE0052R14B19SNE

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, 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.

Note 2:

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

(d) 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.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2000-481-324(B), dated November 29, 2000.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 25, 2001.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-10940 Filed 5-1-01; 8:45 am]

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