Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require replacing certain flight warning computers (FWCs) with improved FWCs. This proposed AD is prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information issued by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The actions specified in this proposed AD are intended to ensure that radioaltimeter malfunctions are annunciated to the flightcrew, and to prevent consequent erroneous autopilot behavior during approach and landing. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by October 25, 2001.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-372-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: email@example.com. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2000-NM-372-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 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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Tim Dulin, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2141; fax (425) 227-1149.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Start Printed Page 48986
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-372-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-372-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that radio altimeter software anomalies could lead to erroneous position data with no alarm detection on airplanes equipped with a flight warning computer (FWC) at a standard below E2. Failure of the FWC to annunciate radioaltimeter malfunctions to the flightcrew could result in erroneous autopilot behavior during approach and landing.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-31-1106, Revision 04, dated December 21, 1999, which describes procedures for replacing both FWCs E1 standard with FWCs modified to the E2 standard. The modification to the FWC involves modifying four cards in the FWCs and either replacing or reprogramming the on-board replaceable modules (OBRMs) in the FWCs. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2000-320-147(B), dated July 26, 2000, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.
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 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 Proposed Rule
Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-31-1106, described previously.
Difference Between Proposed AD and French Airworthiness Directive
The DGAC classified Airbus Service Bulletin A320-31-1141, dated March 6, 2000, as an alternative method of compliance with the requirements of the French airworthiness directive. The FAA finds it unnecessary to refer to that service bulletin, which specifies the prior or concurrent accomplishment of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-31-1106 (the cited source of service information for the actions in this proposed AD).
Approximately 352 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD. It would take approximately 3 work hours per airplane to do the proposed actions, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required parts would be provided by the manufacturer at no cost to the operators. Based on these figures, the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $63,360, or $180 per airplane.
The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no operator has yet done any of the actions of this proposed AD, and that no operator would do those actions in the future unless this proposed AD is adopted. The cost figures discussed in AD's represent only the time necessary to do the specific actions required by an AD. These figures typically do not include incidental costs, such as time for access and close, or time for planning and 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 Start Printed Page 48987
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:
Airbus Industrie: Docket 2000-NM-372-AD.
Applicability: Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes without Airbus Modification 26017; certificated in any category.
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 ensure that radioaltimeter malfunctions are annunciated to the flightcrew, and to prevent consequent erroneous autopilot behavior during approach and landing, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the flight warning computers (FWCs) in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A320-31-1106, Revision 04, dated December 21, 1999.
FWC replacement accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A320-31-1106, dated January 3, 1997; Revision 01, dated April 16, 1997; Revision 02, dated January 20, 1998; or Revision 03, dated July 9, 1999, is acceptable for compliance with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this AD.
(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install an FWC, part number 350E017251414, on any airplane.
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, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA. 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.
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 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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2000-320-147(B), dated July 26, 2000.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 18, 2001.
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 01-23827 Filed 9-24-01; 8:45 am]
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