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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 and A340 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.

Start Preamble

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 Airbus Model A330 and A340 series airplanes. This proposal would require modification of the down drive brackets of the left- and right-hand sides of the inboard flap track 1 assembly and installation of bigger bolts and washers. This action is necessary to prevent failure of the bolts due to flexural loads caused by transmission jam loading, which could lead to a “flap-locked” condition, causing reduced controllability of the airplane. 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-142-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-142-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:

Tamra Elkins, Aerospace Engineer, Start Printed Page 50581International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2669; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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-142-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-142-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

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 A330 and A340 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that for certain airplanes on which Airbus Modification 45326 has been accomplished, the strength of the connection bolts at the down drive bracket of the track 1 assembly on the inboard flap is not sufficient. The bolts could fail due to flexural loads caused by transmission jam loading. Failure of the bolts, if not corrected, could result in a “flap-locked” condition, causing reduced controllability of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A330-57-3067, dated October 12, 2000, and Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001 (for Model A330 series airplanes); and Service Bulletin A340-57-4075, dated October 12, 2000, and Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001 (for Model A340 series airplanes). These service bulletins describe procedures for, among other things, modifiying the down drive brackets on the left- and right-hand inboard flap track 1 assembly, re-identifying the tracks, and installing bigger bolts and washers to improve the strength of the connection at the down drive brackets. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2001-125(B), dated April 4, 2001 (for Model A330 series airplanes), and French airworthiness directive 2001-123(B), dated April 4, 2001 (for Model A340 series airplanes), in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

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 accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins described previously.

Differences Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin

Operators should note that, although the service bulletins include in their effectivity only those airplanes which received Airbus Modification 45326 in production, the proposed AD specifies the broader effectivity noted in the French AD, which includes those airplanes certified to receive Airbus Modification 45326.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 9 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 13 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed modifications and installations, 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 $7,020, or $780 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 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 Start Printed Page 50582FR 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:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 2001-NM-142-AD.

Applicability: Model A330 and A340 series airplanes, certificated in any category, on which Airbus Modification 45326 has been accomplished in production, except those airplanes on which Airbus Modification 47619 has been accomplished in production or on which Airbus Service Bulletin A330-57-3067, dated October 12, 2000, or Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001 (for Model 330 series airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-57-4075, dated October 12, 2000, or Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001 (for A340 series airplanes) has been accomplished in service.

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 (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 failure of the bolts due to flexural loads caused by transmission jam loading, which could lead to a “flap-locked” condition, causing reduced controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Modification and Installation of Bigger Bolts and Washers

(a) Within 36 months since date of manufacture of the airplane, or within 6 months from the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, modify the down drive brackets of the left- and right-hand inboard flap track 1 assembly by accomplishing all actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD, as applicable.

(1) For Model A330 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A330-57-3067, dated October 12, 2000; or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-57-3067, Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001.

(2) For Model A340 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A340-57-4075, dated October 12, 2000; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-57-4075, Revision 01, dated April 10, 2001.

Spares

(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install, on any airplane, an inboard flap track 1 assembly unless it has been modified in accordance with this AD.

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.

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

(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.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-125(B), dated April 4, 2001 (for Model A330 series airplanes), and French airworthiness directive 2001-123(B), dated April 4, 2001 (for Model A340 series airplanes).

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 27, 2001.

Charles Huber,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-24781 Filed 10-3-01; 8:45 am]

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