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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 737-200, -200C, -300, and -500 Series Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 Boeing Model 737-200, -200C, -300, and -500 series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of the bolt and self-locking nut on the primary support pin of the main landing gear (MLG) support beam with a new bolt, castellated nut, washer, and cotter pin. This action is necessary to prevent the loosening and loss of the support pin retaining bolt on the MLG, which could result in the loosening and movement of the support pin and consequent cracked support fittings and collapse of the MLG. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by September 10, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-332-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9 a.m. and 3 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-332-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, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. 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:

James Blilie, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2131; fax (425) 227-1181.

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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-332-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-332-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report from the manufacturer indicating that specific production lots of Kaynar self-locking nuts did not meet the minimum locking torque level required by their specifications. These self-locking nuts are installed on the retaining bolt for the primary support pin of the left and right main landing gear (MLG) support beams. Because the nuts do not meet minimum locking torque levels, it is possible they could back off the retaining bolt, which could lead to the retaining bolt and primary support pin departing the airplane. This condition, if not corrected, could result in collapse of the MLG.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1260, dated June 15, 2000; and Revision 1, dated October 12, 2000; which describe procedures for removing the retaining bolt and self-locking nut from the primary support pin of the left and right MLG support beams and replacing them with a new bolt, castellated nut, washer, and cotter pin. The alert service bulletin covers the 737-200, -200C, -300, and -500 airplanes. The 737-400 has a different design which is not interchangable and is not included in the alert service bulletin. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the alert 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 alert service bulletin described previously.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 2,300 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 980 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 6 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed replacement, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $39 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $391,020, or $399 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 Start Printed Page 38588this 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:

Boeing: Docket 2000-NM-332-AD.

Applicability: Model 737-200, -200C, -300, and -500 series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1260, Revision 1, dated October 12, 2000, 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 the loosening and loss of the support pin retaining bolt on the main landing gear (MLG), which could result in the loosening and movement of the support pin, consequent cracked support fittings, and collapse of the MLG, accomplish the following:

Replacement

(a) Within 12 months from the effective date of this AD, or within 1,500 flight cycles from the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace the bolt, nut, and associated hardware of the support beam for the MLG with a new bolt, castellated nut, and new hardware, per the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1260, dated June 15, 2000; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1260, Revision 1, dated October 12, 2000.

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.

Note 2:

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.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 18, 2001.

Donald L. Riggin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-18435 Filed 7-24-01; 8:45 am]

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