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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Model A330 series airplanes. This action requires a one-time roto-test inspection of fastener holes of certain fuselage joints for cracks and reinforcement of the fuselage between frames 31 and 37.1. If cracks are detected, this action requires a follow-up high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection and repair. This action is necessary to prevent fatigue cracking of the fuselage longitudinal buttstrap, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the fuselage. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective September 7, 2001.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of September 7, 2001.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before September 24, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket Number 2001-NM-70-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-iarcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-70-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 this AD 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; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA Start Printed Page 44296that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A330 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that during fatigue testing on the fuselage, cracks were detected in the longitudinal buttstrap at stringer 9 after 60,051 simulated flights, at frame 31 after 87,876 simulated flights, and at frame 37.1 after 69,570 simulated flights. This condition, if not corrected, could result in propagation of existing cracks and initiation of additional cracks of the fuselage longitudinal buttstrap, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus Industrie has issued Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001, which describes procedures for a one-time roto-test inspection for cracks at fastener holes of the affected fuselage joints and installation of additional doublers and wedges to reinforce the circumferential joint at frames 31/37.1 and of the longitudinal joint at stringer 9 on both the left-hand and right-hand sides. If cracks are detected by the roto-test inspection, the service bulletin also describes procedures for an additional high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection to determine the length of the cracks. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2001-075(B), dated March 7, 2001, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

This airplane model is manufactured in France and is type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.19) 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 the Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design that may be registered in the United States at some time in the future, this AD is being issued to prevent fatigue cracking of the fuselage longitudinal buttstrap, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the fuselage. This AD requires a roto-test inspection of fastener holes of certain fuselage joints for cracks and reinforcement of the fuselage structure between frames 31 and 37.1. If cracks are detected, this action requires a follow-up HFEC inspection and corrective action. The actions are required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletin described previously, except as described below.

Differences Between Proposed Rule and Foreign Airworthiness Directive

Operators should note that, although the service bulletin specifies that the manufacturer may be contacted for instructions regarding repair of cracks, this AD requires the repair of cracks to be accomplished per a method approved by either the FAA, or the DGAC (or its delegated agent). In light of the type of repair that would be required to address the identified unsafe condition, and in consonance with existing bilateral airworthiness agreements, the FAA has determined that, for this AD, a repair method approved by either the FAA or the DGAC would be acceptable for compliance with this AD.

Cost Impact

None of the Model A330 series airplanes affected by this action are on the U.S. Register. All airplanes included in the applicability of this rule currently are operated by non-U.S. operators under foreign registry; therefore, they are not directly affected by this AD action. However, the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject airplanes are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.

Should an affected airplane be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 321 work hours to accomplish the required actions, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. The cost of required parts is approximately $6,187. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be $25,447 per airplane.

Determination of Rule's Effective Date

Since this AD action does not affect any airplane that is currently on the U.S. register, it has no adverse economic impact and imposes no additional burden on any person. Therefore, prior notice and public procedures hereon are unnecessary and the amendment may be made effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule and was not preceded by notice and opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

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 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 rule that might suggest a need to modify the 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 that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2001-NM-70-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action (1) is not a Start Printed Page 44297“significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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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]
Start Amendment Part

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

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2001-16-13 Airbus Industrie: Amendment 39-12382. Docket 2001-NM-70-AD.

Applicability: Model A330 airplanes, serial numbers 301, 321, 322, 323, 341, 342, and 343, certificated in any category; except airplanes on which Airbus Industrie Modification 46636 has been accomplished in production or which have been modified in service in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, dated March 9, 1999; Revision 01, dated July 6, 1999; or Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001.

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 (d) 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 fatigue cracking of the fuselage longitudinal buttstrap, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the fuselage, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Prior to the accumulation of 15,000 total flight cycles: Perform a roto-test inspection to detect cracks of the fastener holes at frame 31, frame 37.1, and stringer 9, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001.

Reinforcement

(b) If no cracks are detected during the inspection performed in accordance with paragraph (a) of this AD, prior to further flight, reinforce the fuselage structure between frames 31 and 37.1, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001.

Follow-up Inspection

(c) If any crack is detected during the inspection performed in accordance with paragraph (a) of this AD, prior to further flight, perform a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection to determine the crack length, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001. Prior to further flight, repair the crack in accordance with a method approved by either the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (or its delegated agent).

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(d) 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.

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

(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.

Incorporation by Reference

(f) Except as required by paragraph (c) of this AD, the actions shall be done in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3090, Revision 02, dated January 9, 2001. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-075(B), dated March 17, 2001.

Effective Date

(g) This amendment becomes effective on September 7, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 15, 2001.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-21103 Filed 8-22-01; 8:45 am]

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