Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period.
This document revises an earlier proposed airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, that would have required inspection of wire bundles in two junction boxes in the main wheel well to detect chafing or damage, and follow-on actions. This new action revises the proposed rule by expanding the applicability to include additional airplanes and models, and by adding new inspections for chafing or damage of two additional junction boxes in the main wheel well and follow-on actions for those boxes. This action is necessary to prevent wire damage, which could result in arcing and consequent fire in the main wheel well or passenger cabin, or inability to stop the flow of fuel to an engine or to the auxiliary power unit in the event of a fire. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by July 10, 2001.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-146-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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2000-NM-146-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 Airplane Group, Start Printed Page 30115P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Stephen Oshiro, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2793; fax (425) 227-1181.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-146-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-146-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to add an airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, was published as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on June 27, 2000 (65 FR 39574). That NPRM would have required inspection of wire bundles in two junction boxes in the main wheel well to detect chafing or damage, and follow-on actions. That NPRM was prompted by reports indicating that damaged electrical wiring has been found in a junction box formed by electrical disconnect brackets on the right side of the main wheel well on certain Boeing Model 737 series airplanes. That condition, if not corrected, could result in arcing and consequent fire in the main wheel well or passenger cabin, or inability to stop the flow of fuel to an engine or to the auxiliary power unit in the event of a fire.
Due consideration has been given to the comments received in response to the NPRM. One comment has resulted in changes to the proposed rule, which are discussed below.
Expand Inspection Area, Applicability
One commenter, the airplane manufacturer, requests that the FAA revise the NPRM in the following ways:
- Expand applicability to include all Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes; and Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -800, and -900 series airplanes, with line numbers 1 through 706 inclusive.
- Expand subject area of inspections and follow-on actions to include two additional junction boxes in the main wheel well.
- Reference revised service information.
The commenter explains that, though the NPRM specified inspections and follow-on actions for only two junction boxes in the main wheel well on certain Boeing Model 737 series airplanes, there are four junction boxes in the main wheel well area that have the same design. Also, junction boxes of the same design are installed on certain Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -800, and -900 series airplanes. The commenter requests that the FAA revise the NPRM to reference new service information that addresses these issues.
The FAA concurs with the commenter's requests. Since the issuance of the proposed rule, the FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Service Letter 737-SL-24-111-B, dated January 16, 2001. (The NPRM referenced Boeing Service Letter 737-SL-24-111, dated February 27, 1996, as the appropriate source of service information for the actions described in the NPRM.) Boeing Service Letter 737-SL-24-111-B differs from the original issue by featuring an expanded effectivity (including Model 737-600, -700, -800, and -900) and an expanded inspection area (four junction boxes instead of two). The new service letter also incorporates new instructions for rerouting the wiring that are intended to better protect the wiring from future damage due to chafing than would the instructions in the original service letter. Also, the revised service letter refers only to Boeing Standard Wiring Practices Manual D6-54446, Subject 20-10-13, as an appropriate source of repair instructions if any damaged wiring is found. Accomplishment of the actions in the revised service letter described above is intended to adequately address the unsafe condition.
Since these changes expand the scope of the originally proposed rule, the FAA has determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment.
Explanation of New Requirements of Supplemental NPRM
Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the supplemental NPRM would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the revised service letter described previously, except as discussed below.
Difference Between Service Letter and This Proposed AD
Operators should note that, while the service letter does not specify the type of inspection of the wire bundles to detect chafing, this proposed AD would require a detailed visual inspection to detect chafing of the wire bundles. A note has been included in this proposed rule to define that inspection.
Operators also should note that this proposed AD would require the inspection be accomplished within 12 months after the effective date of the AD. The service letter specifies that the actions therein should be accomplished “at a convenient opportunity when Start Printed Page 30116facilities and manpower are available.” In developing an appropriate compliance time for this proposed AD, the FAA considered the degree of urgency associated with addressing the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the actions (approximately 4 hours). In light of all of these factors, the FAA finds a 12-month compliance time for initiating the required actions to be warranted, in that it represents an appropriate interval of time allowable for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety.
There are approximately 3,719 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1,467 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 8 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. The cost of required parts would be negligible. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $704,160, or $480 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:
Boeing: Docket 2000-NM-146-AD.
Applicability: All Model 737-100, -200, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes; and Model 737-600, -700, -800, and -900 series airplanes, line numbers 1 through 706 inclusive; 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 chafing of wire bundles in four junction boxes in the main wheel well, which could result in arcing and consequent fire in the main wheel well or passenger cabin, or inability to stop the flow of fuel to an engine or to the auxiliary power unit in the event of fire, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 12 months after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed visual inspection of the wire bundles in the four junction boxes formed by electrical disconnect brackets on the left and right sides of the main wheel wells to detect damage or chafing, as specified in Boeing Service Letter 737-SL-24-111-B, dated January 16, 2001.
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.”
(1) If no chafing is detected, prior to further flight, protect the wire bundles from chafing against the cover plate of the junction box, according to the service letter.
(2) If any chafing is detected, prior to further flight, repair the wiring in accordance with the service letter, and protect the wire bundles from chafing against the cover plate of the junction box, according to the service letter.
Boeing Service Letter 737-SL-24-111-B, dated January 16, 2001, refers to Boeing Standard Wiring Practices Manual D6-54446, Subject 20-10-13, as the appropriate source of repair instructions if any damaged wiring is found.
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, Seattle 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, Seattle ACO.
Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle 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.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on May 30, 2001.
Vi L. Lipski,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 01-14042 Filed 6-4-01; 8:45 am]
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