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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 Series Airplanes and Model Avro 146-RJ 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.

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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 BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections to detect cracking of the oleo strut of the nose landing gear (NLG), and corrective actions if necessary. This proposal would also provide for optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. This action is necessary to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the oleo strut of the NLG, which could result in failure of the NLG. 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 2000-NM-266-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-266-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 British Aerospace Regional Aircraft American Support, 13850 Mclearen Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171. 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:

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.

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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 2000-NM-266-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 2000-NM-266-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is the airworthiness authority for the United Kingdom, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. A nose landing gear (NLG) undergoing fatigue testing was found to have a fatigue crack at the top of the oleo bore, with resulting loss of oil and loss of strength. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in failure of the NLG.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The manufacturer has issued BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000, which describes procedures for repetitive non-destructive test (NDT) ultrasonic inspections to detect cracking of the bore of the NLG oleo, and modification of any cracked NLG oleo. The CAA classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued British airworthiness directive 002-06-2000 to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the United Kingdom.

The BAE Systems service bulletin refers to Messier-Dowty Service Bulletin 146-32-149, including Appendix A, dated April 17, 2000, as an additional source of service information for accomplishment of the inspection.

The manufacturer has also issued BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-159-70668ABC, dated June 14, 2000, which describes procedures for having the modification of the NLG oleo strut performed. The modification would eliminate the need for repetitive Start Printed Page 58679inspections. The modification consists of blending and shot peening of the oleo bore of the NLG to restore its expected life.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in the United Kingdom 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 CAA has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the CAA, 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 BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000. This proposed AD also would provide for optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. The optional terminating action, if accomplished, would terminate the repetitive inspection requirements of this AD.

Operators should note that, to be consistent with the findings of the CAA, the FAA has determined that the repetitive inspections proposed by this AD can be allowed to continue in lieu of accomplishment of a terminating action. In making this determination, the FAA considers that, in this case, long-term continued operational safety will be adequately ensured by accomplishing the repetitive inspections to detect cracking before it represents a hazard to the airplane.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 60 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 $3,600, 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.

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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:

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited (Formerly British Aerospace Regional Aircraft): Docket 2000-NM-266-AD.

Applicability: Model BAe 146 series airplanes and Model Avro 146-RJ series airplanes, certificated in any category, as listed in BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000, except those on which Messier-Dowty Modification AC12248 has been installed.

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 (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 detect and correct fatigue cracking of the oleo strut of the nose landing gear (NLG), which could result in failure of the nose landing gear (NLG), accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Perform an ultrasonic inspection to detect cracking of the oleo strut of the NLG, in accordance with BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000, according to the applicable time schedule specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3) of this AD. Thereafter, repeat the inspection at least every 2,500 landings, until the actions specified by paragraph (c) of this AD have been performed.

(1) For NLGs identified in paragraph D.(3) of BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000: Inspect before the NLG accumulates 2,500 landings after accomplishment of the initial inspection specified by Messier-Dowty Service Bulletin 146-32-149, or within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

(2) For NLGs having part number 201138002, serial numbers M-DG-0158 to M-DG-0168 inclusive, as identified in paragraph D.(4) of BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000: Inspect before the NLG accumulates 20,000 total landings, or within 500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

(3) For NLGs other than those identified in paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD: Inspect before the NLG accumulates 8,000 total landings, or within 500 landings after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

Corrective Actions

(b) If any crack is found during any inspection required by this AD: Before further flight, replace the oleo strut of the NLG with a new or serviceable strut in accordance with BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-158, dated June 2, 2000. Start Printed Page 58680

Optional Terminating Action

(c) Modification of the NLG in accordance with BAE Systems Service Bulletin SB.32-159-70668ABC, dated June 14, 2000, terminates the repetitive inspections required by 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, 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

(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.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in British airworthiness directive 002-06-2000.

Start Signature

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

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-29196 Filed 11-21-01; 8:45 am]

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