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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A319 Series Airplanes and A320-200 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 Model A319 series airplanes and A320-200 series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections to detect loose or missing rivets in specified areas of the door frames of the overwing emergency exits and corrective action, if necessary. This proposal would also require measurement of the grip length of all rivets in the specified areas and corrective action, if necessary, which would terminate the repetitive inspections. This action is prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information from a foreign airworthiness authority. This action is necessary to detect and correct loose or missing rivets or discrepant rivets, which could lead to reduced structural integrity of the overwing emergency exit door frames. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by December 24, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket Number 2001-NM-252-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-252-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:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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-252-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 Number 2001-NM-252-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus A319 series airplanes and A320-200 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that one operator reported finding a loose rivet at a corner of the door frame of an Start Printed Page 58683overwing emergency exit during normal maintenance. Investigation of other airplanes revealed that some rivets in certain areas of the door frames had grip lengths which were slightly out of tolerance. If not corrected, rivets in specified areas of the door frames of the overwing emergency exits, which are loose or missing or have the wrong grip length, could lead to reduced structural integrity of the door frames.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 2000, which describes procedures for repetitive detailed visual inspections of specified areas of the door frame of the overwing emergency exits for loose or missing rivets and corrective action, if necessary. The service bulletin also describes procedures for measurement of the grip length of all rivets in the specified areas and corrective action, if necessary. The corrective actions include inspecting rivet holes for cracks, opening up certain rivet holes, repairing certain rivet holes, and installing new rivets. Measurement of the grip length of all rivets in all specified areas and corrective action, if necessary, eliminates the need for the repetitive inspections. 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 2001-241(B), dated June 27, 2001, 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 bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin

Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 2000, specifies that, if a second rotating probe inspection reveals cracks at any rivet holes, the operator is to contact the manufacturer for further instructions. The proposed rule would require that, if such cracks are detected, the operator is to repair them in accordance with a method approved by the FAA or the DGAC or its delegated agent.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 168 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour 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 $10,080, or $60 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

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.

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 adding the following new airworthiness directive:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 2001-NM-252-AD.

Applicability: Model A319 series airplanes and A320-200 series airplanes, as listed in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 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 (e) 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 detect and correct rivets in specified areas of the door frames of the overwing emergency exits which are loose or missing or which have the wrong grip length, which could lead to reduced structural integrity of the door frames, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Measurement

(a) Within 3,500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD: Conduct a detailed visual inspection of the specified areas of the door frames of the overwing emergency exits for loose or missing rivets, in accordance with Part B of the Accomplishment Instructions and Figure 5 of Airbus Service Bulletin A32053-1147, dated September 22, 2000. If no loose or missing rivets are found, Start Printed Page 58684repeat the detailed visual inspection and the measurement at intervals not to exceed 3,500 flight cycles until the requirements of paragraph (d) have been accomplished.

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.”

Corrective Action

(b) If the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD reveals that there are loose or missing rivets: Prior to further flight, accomplish the requirements of either paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this AD.

(1) Measure the grip length of all rivets in the specified areas in which the loose or missing rivets were detected and perform corrective action (e.g., inspecting rivet holes for cracks, opening up rivet holes, repairing cracks at rivet holes, and installing new rivets) as applicable, in accordance with Part C of the Accomplishment Instructions and Figure 5 of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 2000, except as specified in paragraph (c) of this AD. Repeat the detailed visual inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD at intervals not to exceed 3,500 flight cycles until the requirements of paragraph (d) have been accomplished.

(2) Measure the grip length of all rivets in all specified areas and perform corrective action (e.g., inspecting rivet holes for cracks, opening up rivet holes, repairing cracks at rivet holes, and installing new rivets) as applicable, in accordance with Part C of the Accomplishment Instructions and Figure 5 of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 2000, except as specified in paragraph (c) of this AD.

(c) If Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1147, dated September 22, 2000 recommends contacting the manufacturer for instructions concerning certain repairs, perform those repairs in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate or by the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) or its delegated agent. For a repair method to be approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, as required by this paragraph, the Manager's approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

Terminating Action

(d) Prior to the accumulation of 24,000 total flight cycles or within 3,500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Accomplish the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this AD. Accomplishment of paragraph (b)(2) of this AD constitutes terminating action for the purpose of this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(e) 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. 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 3:

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

(f) 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 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-241(B), dated June 27, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 15, 2001.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-29194 Filed 11-21-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P