Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; SOCATA-Groupe AEROSPATIALE Model TBM 700 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.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) that would apply to certain SOCATA—Groupe AEROSPATIALE (Socata) Model TBM 700 airplanes. The proposed AD would require you to inspect for defective Amendment A fuel tank air vent valves and replace with parts of improved design. The proposed AD is the result of mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the airworthiness authority for France. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent in-flight damage to the wing skins caused by abnormal venting conditions of the wing fuel tank, which could result in severe handling problems or reduced structural capability. Continued operation with such structural deformation or handling problems could result in loss of control of the airplane.

DATES:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive any comments on this proposed rule on or before September 24, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-CE-11-AD, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. Comments may be inspected at this location between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, holidays excepted.

Service information that applies to the proposed AD may be obtained from SOCATA Groupe AEROSPATIALE, Customer Support, Aerodrome Tarbes-Ossun-Lourdes, BP 930-F65009 Tarbes Cedex, France; telephone: 011 33 5 62 41 73 00; facsimile: 011 33 5 62 41 76 54; or the Product Support Manager, SOCATA—Groupe AEROSPATIALE, North Perry Airport, 7501 Pembroke Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33023; telephone: (954) 894-1160; facsimile: (954) 964-4191. This information also may be examined at the Rules Docket at the address above.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karl Schletzbaum, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4146; facsimile: (816) 329-4090.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

How do I comment on the proposed AD? The FAA invites comments on this proposed rule. You may submit whatever written data, views, or arguments you choose. You need to include the rule's docket number and submit your comments in triplicate to the address specified under the caption ADDRESSES. The FAA will consider all comments received on or before the closing date. We may amend the proposed rule in light of comments received. Factual information that supports your ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed AD action and determining whether we need to take additional rulemaking action.

Are there any specific portions of the proposed AD I should pay attention to? The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule that might suggest a need to modify the rule. You may examine all comments we receive before and after the closing date of the rule in the Rules Docket. We will file a report in the Rules Docket that summarizes each FAA contact with the public that concerns the substantive parts of the proposed AD.

We are re-examining the writing style we currently use in regulatory documents, in response to the Presidential memorandum of June 1, 1998. That memorandum requires federal agencies to communicate more clearly with the public. We are interested in your comments on whether the style of this document is clear, and any other suggestions you might have to improve the clarity of FAA communications that affect you. You can get more information about the Presidential memorandum and the plain language initiative at http://www.plainlanguage.gov.

How can I be sure FAA receives my comment? If you want us to acknowledge the receipt of your comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. On the postcard, write “Comments to Docket No. 2001-CE-11-AD.” We will date stamp and mail the postcard back to you.

Discussion

What events have caused this proposed AD? The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, recently notified FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Socata Model TBM 700 airplanes. The DGAC reports that Amendment A fuel tank air vent valve floats may block the air vent valve in the closed position making the valve defective. This condition is the result of a change in the manufacturing of the fuel tank air vent valve.

The DGAC reports one occurrence on a Socata Model TBM 700 airplane of abnormal venting conditions of the wing fuel tank due to a fuel tank air vent Start Printed Page 44559valve float blocking the air vent valve in the closed position.

What are the consequences if the condition is not corrected? This condition, if not corrected, could result in severe handling problems or reduced structural capability. Continued operation with such structural deformation or handling problems could result in loss of control of the airplane.

Is there service information that applies to this subject? SOCATA has issued Service Bulletin SB 70-090, dated December 2000.

What are the provisions of this service bulletin? This service bulletin includes procedures for :

—Inspecting the fuel tank air vent valve to determine the Amendment level of the part; and

—Replacing the defective Amendment A fuel tank air vent valve with a part of improved design (Amendment B).

What action did DGAC take? The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French AD 2001-004(A), dated January 10, 2001, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

Was this in accordance with the bilateral airworthiness agreement? 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 FAA informed of the situation described above.

The FAA's Determination and an Explanation of the Provisions of the Proposed AD

What has FAA decided? The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC; reviewed all available information, including the service information referenced above; and determined that:

—The unsafe condition referenced in this document exists or could develop on other SOCATA Model TBM 700 airplanes of the same type design;

—The actions specified in the previously-referenced service information should be accomplished on the affected airplanes; and

—AD action should be taken in order to correct this unsafe condition.

What would the proposed AD require? This proposed AD would require you to inspect the fuel tank air vent valve to determine the Amendment level of the part and replace the defective Amendment A fuel tank air vent valve with a part of improved design (Amendment B).

Cost Impact

How many airplanes would the proposed AD impact? We estimate that the proposed AD affects 38 airplanes in the U.S. registry.

What would be the cost impact of the proposed AD on owners/operators of the affected airplanes? We estimate the following costs to accomplish the proposed inspection:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
2 workhours × $60 per hour = $120No parts required for the inspection$120$4,560

We estimate the following costs to accomplish the proposed replacement:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplane
2 workhours × $60 per hour = $120No cost for parts$120

Regulatory Impact

Would this proposed AD impact various entities? 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 proposed rule would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

Would this proposed AD involve a significant rule or regulatory action? For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed action (1) Is not a “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) 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 has been placed 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 39

End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under 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:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. FAA amends § 39.13 by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD) to read as follows:

SOCATA—GROUPE AEROSPATIALE: Docket No. 2001-CE-11-AD

(a) What airplanes are affected by this AD? This AD affects the following model TBM 700 airplanes that are certificated in any category:

Serial Nos.

114, 117, 118,

121 through 173,

175 through 177,

179 through 184,

186 and 187

(b) Who must comply with this AD? Anyone who wishes to operate any of the above airplanes must comply with this AD.

(c) What problem does this AD address? The actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent in-flight damage to the wing skins caused by abnormal venting conditions of the wing fuel tank, which could result in severe handling problems or reduced structural capability. Continued operation with such structural deformation could result in loss of control of the airplane. Start Printed Page 44560

(d) What actions must I accomplish to address this problem? To address this problem, you must accomplish the following:

ActionsComplianceProcedures
(1) Inspect the upper surface of the fuel tank airvent valve for modification stamp “Amdt A”Within the next 50 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective date of this ADIn accordance with paragraph (B) of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS in Socata Service Bulletin SB 70-090, dated December 2000, and the applicable maintenance manual.
(i) If the fuel tank air vent valve is stamped “Amdt A” on the upper surface, install a fuel tank air vent valve that incorporates Amendment B modificationsPrior to further flight after the inspection required in paragraph (d)(1) of this AD, unless ready accomplished
(ii) If modification stamp “Amdt A” is not on the upper surface of the fuel tank air vent valve, reinstall the valve and no further action is required by paragraph (d)(1) of this AD
(2) Do not install any fuel tank air vent valve that does not have Amendment B incorporated (or FAA-approved equivalent part)As of the effective date of this ADNot applicable.

(e) Can I comply with this AD in any other way? You may use an alternative method of compliance or adjust the compliance time if:

(1) Your alternative method of compliance provides an equivalent level of safety; and

(2) The Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, approves your alternative. Submit your request through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Small Airplane Directorate.

Note 1:

This AD applies to each airplane identified in paragraph (a) of this AD, 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 (e) 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 you have not eliminated the unsafe condition, specific actions you propose to address it.

(f) Where can I get information about any already approved alternative methods of compliance? Contact Karl Schletzbaum, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4146; facsimile: (816) 329-4090.

(g) What if I need to fly the airplane to another location to comply with this AD? The FAA can issue a special flight permit under sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate your airplane to a location where you can accomplish the requirements of this AD.

(h) How do I get copies of the documents referenced in this AD? You may obtain copies of the documents referenced in this AD from SOCATA Groupe AEROSPATIALE, Customer Support, Aerodrome Tarbes-Ossun-Lourdes, BP 930-F65009 Tarbes Cedex, France; telephone: 011 33 5 62 41 73 00; facsimile: 011 33 5 62 41 76 54; or the Product Support Manager, SOCATA Groupe AEROSPATIALE, North Perry Airport, 7501 Pembroke Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33023; telephone: (954) 894-1160; facsimile: (954) 964-4191. You may examine these documents at FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106.

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French AD 2001-004(A), dated January 10, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 17, 2001.

Michael Gallagher,

Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-21397 Filed 8-23-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P