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 McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes. This proposal would require an inspection to detect chafed wires in the avionics equipment compartment, and repair, if necessary. The proposal also would require replacement of the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new cover, and installation of a new placard on the cover. This action is necessary to ensure that the cover of the avionics cooling fans is removed only for fan maintenance, and to prevent smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment due to chafing and arcing as a result of maintenance personnel lying against the removed cover and/or insulation blankets that cover wire harnesses. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by November 19, 2001.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-160-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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-160-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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Brett Portwood, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5350; fax (562) 627-5210.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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-160-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-160-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
As part of its practice of re-examining all aspects of the service experience of a particular aircraft whenever an accident occurs, the FAA has become aware of an incident of a chafing condition between the wire harness and No. 2 wire harness connector, which resulted in arcing and consequent fire in the avionics equipment compartment during maintenance of a McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplane. This condition has been attributed to maintenance personnel removing the cover of the avionics cooling fans to access other equipment more easily and lying against the cover and/or insulation blankets that cover the wire harness of the No. 3 avionics cooling fan and the No. 2 wire harness connector. This action, plus the weight of the maintenance personnel lying against the cover or insulation blankets, resulted in the chafing of the wiring. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment.
This incident is not considered to be related to an accident that occurred off the coast of Nova Scotia involving a McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplane. The cause of that accident is still under investigation.
Other Related Rulemaking
The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model MD-11 series airplanes, is continuing to review all aspects of the service history of those Start Printed Page 50871airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate corrective actions. This proposed airworthiness directive (AD) is one of a series of actions identified during that process. The process is continuing and the FAA may consider additional rulemaking actions as further results of the review become available.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001, which describes procedures for an inspection to detect chafed wires in the avionics equipment compartment, and repair, if necessary. It also describes procedures for replacement of the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new, strengthened cover, and installation of a new placard on the cover stating that the cover should be removed only for fan maintenance. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.
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 bulletin described previously.
There are approximately 80 Model MD-11 series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 33 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $1,991 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $73,623, or $2,231 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.
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 39
- Air transportation
- Aviation safety
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:
McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-160-AD.
Applicability: Model MD-11 series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001; certificated in any category.
This AD applies to each airplane identified in the preceding applicability provision, 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 (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 ensure that the cover of the avionics cooling fans is removed only during fan maintenance, and to prevent smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment due to chafing and arcing as a result of maintenance personnel lying against a removed cover and/or insulation blankets that cover wire harnesses, accomplish the following:
Inspection and Repair, If Necessary
(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do a general visual inspection to detect chafed wires in the area of the avionics cooling fans inside the avionics equipment compartment, per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001. If any chafed wiring is detected, before further flight, repair per the service bulletin.
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.”
Replacement of A Cover and Installation of a New Placard
(b) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new cover, and install a new placard on the cover, per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001.
Accomplishment of the actions specified in McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-21-033, dated May 1, 1992, before the effective date of this AD, is considered acceptable for compliance with the requirements of this AD.
(c) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install a cover assembly, part number ABM7569-1, on any airplane.
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, 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.Start Printed Page 50872
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
(e) 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 October 1, 2001.
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 01-25064 Filed 10-4-01; 8:45 am]
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