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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F Series Airplanes; Model MD-10-10F and -30F Series Airplanes; and Model MD-11 and -11F 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.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes; Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes; and Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive tests for electrical continuity and resistance and repetitive inspections to detect discrepancies of the fuel boost/transfer pump connectors; and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent arcing of connectors in the fuel boost/transfer pump circuit, which could result in a fire or explosion of the fuel tank. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by November 5, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-46-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. 2001-NM-46-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 Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024). This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Phil Kush, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712; telephone (562) 627-5263; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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 2001-NM-46-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. 2001-NM-46-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received reports of five instances of failed connectors in the fuel boost/transfer pump circuit on McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10 and MD-11 series airplanes. The connectors returned for evaluation exhibited arcing of the contacts to the shell in the back side of the connector and between the glass insert and potting material. Arcing also caused the potting material to be displaced from the glass seal in the connector backshell, which separated the contacts and wiring. Typically, the circuit breaker will not trip, as the arcing event is faster than the time required for the circuit breaker to detect the event. The only indication has been that failed connectors cause loss of the fuel boost/transfer pump circuit. The cause of the connector failures is under investigation. Arcing of connectors of the fuel boost/transfer pump, if not corrected, could result in a fire or explosion of the fuel tank.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A112, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000 (for Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes) and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC10-28A228, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000, and Revision 01, dated July 16, 2001 (for Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes; and Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes). The service bulletins describe procedures for repetitive tests (using a digital multi meter and Quadtech 1864 megohm meter) for electrical continuity and resistance and repetitive general visual inspections to detect discrepancies (e.g., damage, arcing, loose parts, wear) of the fuel boost/transfer pump connectors (alternating current pumping unit); and corrective actions, if necessary. The Start Printed Page 48389corrective actions include replacement of the connector/wire assembly with a serviceable connector/wire assembly, and replacement of the pump with a serviceable fuel boost/transfer pump; as applicable.

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 service bulletins described previously.

Interim Action

This is considered to be interim action. The manufacturer has advised that it currently is developing a modification that will positively address the unsafe condition addressed by this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, the FAA may consider additional rulemaking.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 399 Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes; and Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 313 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 65 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed tests and inspections, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1,220,700, or $3,900 per airplane, per test or inspection cycle.

There are approximately 179 Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 115 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 78 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed tests and inspections, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $538,200, or $4,680 per airplane, per test or inspection cycle.

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

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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.

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

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McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-46-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes, and Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes; as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC10-28A228, including Appendix, Revision 01, July 16, 2001; and Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A112, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000; certificated in any category.

Note 1:

Airplanes on which the fuel/boost pump and wiring connector have been physically removed and the fuel tank has been made inoperable are NOT subject to the requirements of this AD.

Note 2:

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 arcing of connectors of the fuel boost/transfer pump, which could result in a fire or explosion of the fuel tank, accomplish the following:

Repetitive Tests and Inspections

(a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, do tests (using a digital multi-meter and Quadtech 1864 megohm meter) for electrical continuity and resistance and general visual inspections to detect discrepancies (e.g., damage, arcing, loose parts, wear) of the fuel boost/transfer pump (alternating current pumping unit) by accomplishing all the actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A112, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000 (for Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC10-28A228, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000, or Revision 01, dated July 16, 2001 (for Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes, and Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes); as applicable. Repeat the tests and inspections thereafter every 18 months.

Note 3:

For the purposes of this AD, a general visual inspection is defined as “A visual examination of an interior or exterior area, installation, or assembly to detect obvious damage, failure, or irregularity. This level of inspection is made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or drop-light, and may require removal or opening of access panels or doors. Stands, ladders, or platforms may be required to gain proximity to the area being checked.”

Corrective Actions, If Necessary

(b) If the result of any test required by paragraph (a) of this AD is outside the limits specified in the applicable service bulletin identified in that paragraph, or if any Start Printed Page 48390discrepancy is detected during any inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, before further flight, accomplish corrective actions (e.g., replacement of connector/wire assembly with serviceable connector/wire assembly, and replacement of the pump with a serviceable fuel boost/transfer pump), as applicable, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A112, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000 (for Model MD-11 and -11F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC10-28A228, including Appendix, dated December 11, 2000, or Revision 01, dated July 16, 2001 (for Model DC-10-10, -10F, -15, -30, -30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), -40, and -40F series airplanes, and Model MD-10-10F and -30F series airplanes); as applicable.

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, Los Angeles 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, Los Angeles ACO.

Note 4:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Los Angeles ACO.

Special Flight Permit

(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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 14, 2001.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-23419 Filed 9-19-01; 8:45 am]

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