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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 767-200, -300, and -300F Series Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 Boeing Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes. This proposal would require a one-time inspection for discrepancies of certain wire bundles in the forward cargo compartment, and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent damage to wire bundles, particularly those of the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS), which are located in the subject area. Damage of FQIS wires could cause arcing between those wires and power wires in the damaged wire bundle, and may lead to transmission of electrical energy into the fuel tank, which would result in a potential source of ignition in the fuel tank. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by December 10, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-409-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. 2000-NM-409-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 Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elias Natsiopoulos, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1279; fax (425) 227-1181.

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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 2000-NM-409-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-409-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report indicating that, prior to engine start-up on a Boeing Model 767 series airplane, several circuit breakers tripped and the flight crew observed unusual messages (i.e., STATUS, ADVISORY, and CAUTION) on the engine indication and crew alerting system display. An investigation by the maintenance crew revealed that numerous wires in wire bundles W738, W766, and W1256 had melted and burned. The affected wire bundles were located on the ceiling of the forward cargo compartment, and had chafed against stand-offs that attach the cargo ceiling lining to the floor beams. An unrelated water leak from a galley in the area may have contributed to the severity of this incident.

Such chafing and damage of wire bundles could lead to arcing of the damaged wires. Wires for the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS), which penetrate the fuel tank, are routed through one of the wire bundles that was damaged in the reported incident. Though the FQIS wires were not damaged in this incident, damage of FQIS wires could cause arcing between those wires and power wires in the damaged wire bundle, and may lead to electrical energy being transmitted into the fuel tank, which would result in a potential source of ignition in the fuel tank.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-24A0128, dated May 11, 2000. That service bulletin describes procedures for a one-time inspection for discrepancies of wire bundles routed along the ceiling of the forward cargo compartment, and corrective actions, if necessary. The discrepancies consist of chafing or damage of wire bundles near stand-offs that attach the cargo ceiling liner to the floor beams, and inadequate clearance between the wire bundles and stand-offs. If chafing or damage is found, corrective actions consist of repair of damaged wire bundles. If clearance is not within the limits specified in the service bulletin, corrective actions include installing protective sleeving on the wire bundles, as well as cable tie mounts and panduit straps. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.Start Printed Page 54172

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, except as discussed below.

Differences Between Service Bulletin and Proposed AD

Operators should note that, while the service bulletin refers only to an “inspection” for chafing or damage of wire bundles, this proposed AD would require a “detailed visual inspection.” The FAA has determined that the procedures in the service bulletin should be described as a detailed visual inspection. Note 2 has been included in this proposed AD to define this type of inspection.

Operators also should note that the service bulletin recommends accomplishing the inspection “at the earliest opportunity when manpower and facilities are available.” However, we have determined that such a compliance time will not ensure that operators address the unsafe condition in a timely manner. In developing an appropriate compliance time for this proposed AD, we considered not only the manufacturer's recommendation, but the degree of urgency associated with addressing the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the inspection (1 hour). In light of all of these factors, the FAA finds a 15-month compliance time for completing the proposed actions to be warranted, in that it represents an appropriate interval of time allowable for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety.

Operators also should note that, while the service bulletin specifies installation of cable tie mounts and panduit straps “as needed,” we find that the Work Instructions and Figure 1 of the service bulletin do not make clear when such installation is needed. Therefore, paragraph (a) of this proposed AD would require installation of cable tie mounts and panduit straps on all wire bundles on which protective sleeving is installed due to inadequate clearance.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 774 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 303 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, 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 $36,360, or $120 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 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

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:

Boeing: Docket 2000-NM-409-AD.

Applicability: Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-24A0128, dated May 11, 2000; 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 (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 damage of wire bundles in the forward cargo compartment, particularly wires of the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS) installed in that area, which could cause arcing between the FQIS wires and power wires in the damaged wire bundle, lead to transmission of electrical energy into the fuel tank, and result in a potential source of ignition in the fuel tank, accomplish the following:

One-Time Inspection

(a) Within 15 months after the effective date of this AD, do a one-time detailed visual inspection to find discrepancies of wire bundles in the forward cargo compartment, according to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-24A0128, dated May 11, 2000. The discrepancies consist of chafing or damage of wire bundles near stand-offs that attach the cargo ceiling liner to the floor beams, and inadequate clearance between the wire bundles and stand-offs. Inspect all wire bundles routed along the ceiling of the forward cargo compartment from station 368 through 742 inclusive, at right buttock lines 43, 49, and 54.

Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed visual inspection is defined as: “An intensive visual examination of a specific structural area, system, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at intensity deemed appropriate by the inspector. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”

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Corrective Actions

(b) If any discrepancy is found during the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, before further flight, do paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD, as applicable, according to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-24A0128, dated May 11, 2000.

(1) Repair chafed or damaged wire bundles.

(2) If clearance between wire bundle and stand-off is outside the limits specified in the service bulletin: Install protective sleeving over the affected wire bundle, and install cable tie mounts and panduit straps.

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, Seattle 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, Seattle ACO.

Note 3:

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

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.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 19, 2001.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-26954 Filed 10-25-01; 8:45 am]

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