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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 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 supersedure of an existing airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes, that currently requires repetitive general visual inspections of the power feeder cables, terminal strip, fuseholder, and fuses of the galley load control unit (GLCU) within the No. 3 bay electrical power center to detect damage; and corrective actions, if necessary. This action would require replacement of the electrical wiring of the galley in the electrical power center in bays 1, 2, and 3 with larger gage cable assemblies, which would terminate the repetitive inspections. The proposed AD also expands the applicability of the existing AD to include two additional airplanes. This action is necessary to prevent damage to the wire assembly terminal lugs and overheating of the power feeder cables on the No. 3 and 4 GLCU, which could result in smoke and fire in the center accessory compartment. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by November 19, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-55-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: 9-anm-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-55-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. Start Printed Page 50904

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 90712.

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

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-55-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-55-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

On December 7, 1999, the FAA issued AD 99-26-03, amendment 39-11463 (64 FR 71001, December 20, 1999), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 airplanes, to require repetitive general visual inspections of the power feeder cables, terminal strip, fuseholder, and fuses of the galley load control unit (GLCU) within the No. 3 bay electrical power center to detect damage; and corrective actions, if necessary. (A final rule, correction was published in the Federal Register on February 2, 2000 (65 FR 4870)). That action was prompted by an incident of no power to the aft galleys and two incidents of sparking sounds coming from the aft galleys due to damage of the No. 3 and 4 wire assembly terminal lugs and overheating of the power feeder cables on the G3 GLCU. The requirements of that AD are intended to prevent such damage due to the accumulated effects over time from overheating of the power feeder cables on the G3 GLCU, which could result in smoke and fire in the G3 galley.

The incident that prompted AD 99-26-03 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 airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate corrective actions. This 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.

FAA's Determination

In the preamble to AD 99-26-03, the FAA indicated that the actions required by that AD were considered “interim action” and that further rulemaking action was being considered. The FAA now has determined that further rulemaking action is indeed necessary, and this proposed AD follows from that determination.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-24-184, dated February 22, 2001. The service bulletin describes procedures for replacement of the electrical wiring of the galley in the electrical power center (EPC) in bays 1, 2, and 3 with larger gage cable assemblies, which would eliminate the need for the repetitive inspections requirements of AD 99-26-03. 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 supersede AD 99-26-03 to continue to require repetitive general visual inspections of the power feeder cables, terminal strip, fuseholder, and fuses of the GLCU with the No. 3 bay electrical power center to detect damage; and corrective actions, if necessary. The proposed AD also would require accomplishment of the action specified in the service bulletin described previously, which would constitute terminating action for the repetitive inspection requirements. The proposed AD also expands the applicability of the existing AD to include two additional airplanes.

Explanation of Change in Applicability

The applicability of the proposed AD references Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-24-184, dated February 22, 2001, as the appropriate source of service information for determining the affected airplanes. The service bulletin reflects the most current listing of airplanes subject to the requirements of this proposed AD, including airplane fuselage numbers 547 and 554, which were inadvertently omitted from the effectivity of McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A160, Revision 01, dated November 11, 1999 (referenced in the applicability statement of AD 99-26-03).

Cost Impact

There are approximately 135 Model MD-11 series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 31 airplanes of U.S. Start Printed Page 50905registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

The inspection that is currently required by AD 99-26-03, and retained in this proposed AD, takes approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the currently required inspection on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1,860, or $60 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The new action that is proposed in this AD action would take approximately 18 work hours per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $14,647 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed requirements of this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $487,537, or $15,727 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the current or proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this 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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

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:

Start Authority

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

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by removing amendment 39-11463 (64 FR 71001, December 20, 1999), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-55-AD. Supersedes AD 99-26-03, Amendment 39-11463.

Applicability: Model MD-11 series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-24-184, dated February 22, 2001; certificated in any category.

Note 1:

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 prevent damage to the wire assembly terminal lugs and power feeder cables due to the accumulated effects over time from overheating of the power feeder cables on the No. 3 and 4 galley load control unit (GLCU), which could result in smoke and fire in the central accessory compartment; accomplish the following:

Restatement of Requirements of AD 99-26-03

Repetitive Inspections and Replacement, If Necessary

(a) For airplanes listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A160, Revision 01, dated November 11, 1999: Within 60 days after January 4, 2000 (the effective date of AD 99-26-03, amendment 39-11463), perform a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables, terminal strip, fuseholder, and fuses of the GLCU within the No. 3 bay electrical power center to detect damage (i.e., discoloration of affected parts or loose attachments), in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A160, dated August 30, 1999; or Revision 01, dated November 11, 1999.

Note 2:

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.”

(1) If no damage is detected during any inspection required by this AD, repeat the general visual inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 600 flight hours.

(2) If any damage is detected during any inspection required by this AD, prior to further flight, replace the power feeder cables, fuseholder, and/or fuses, as applicable, in accordance with the service bulletin. Repeat the general visual inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 600 flight hours.

New Actions Required by This AD

Repetitive Inspections and Replacement, If Necessary

(b) For airplanes having serial numbers 547 and 554: Within 60 days after the effective date of this AD, do the actions required by paragraphs (a), (a)(1), and (a)(2) of this AD, as applicable.

Replacement

(c) Within 12 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the electrical wiring of the galley in the electrical power center in bays 1, 2, and 3 with larger gage cable assemblies, in accordance with Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-24-184, dated February 22, 2001. Accomplishment of the replacement constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspection requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this AD.

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.

Note 3:

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 Permits

(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 Start Printed Page 50906can be accomplished. Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 1, 2001.

Start Signature

Charles Huber,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-25068 Filed 10-4-01; 8:45 am]

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