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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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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 McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 series airplanes. This proposal would Start Printed Page 535require inspection of the power feeder cables on the left and right side of the aft cargo compartment between certain stations for minimum clearance from the adjacent structure and for the presence of a grommet in the lightening hole through the floor cusp, and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to detect and correct inadequate clearance of the power feeder cables on the left and right side of the aft cargo compartment, the lack of a grommet in the lightening hole through the floor cusp, and improper installation of the cabin sidewall grill during production. These conditions could lead to chafing of the power feeder cables, resulting in electrical arcing and possibly in a fire in the cargo compartment of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by February 19, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-400-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-400-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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Mabuni, Senior Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5341; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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-400-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 2000-NM-400-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report indicating that on McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 series airplanes, there is a potential for the power feeder cables of the aft cargo compartment to contact the lightening hole through the floor cusp between certain stations on the left and right sides of the airplane. Analysis indicates that the cabin sidewall grill may not have been properly installed during production and a grommet may not have been installed in the lightening hole, leaving inadequate clearance between the power feeder cables and the lightening hole and forcing the cables to ride hard against the outboard edge of the lightening hole. These conditions, if not corrected, could lead to chafing of the power feeder cables of the aft cargo compartment, resulting in electrical arcing and possibly in a fire in the cargo compartment of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-24A025, Revision 01, dated January 11, 2000, which describes procedures for a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables of the left and right sides of the aft cargo compartment between stations Y=1344 and Y=1364. The inspection is to verify that the minimum clearance exists between the power feeder cables and the adjacent structure and that a grommet has been installed in the lightening hole through the floor cusp. The service bulletin also describes procedures for the following corrective actions, if necessary:

  • Installation of the grommet if it is missing,
  • Re-positioning of the power feeder cables to achieve the minimum clearance from the adjacent structure,
  • Inspection of the power feeder cables for damage,
  • Repair of any damaged power feeder cable, * Fabrication of trim, and
  • Modification of the retainer assembly of the cabin sidewall grill.

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.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 16 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 14 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 Start Printed Page 536estimated to be $840, or $60 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. However, the FAA has been advised that manufacturer warranty remedies are available for labor costs associated with accomplishing the actions required by this proposed AD. Therefore, the future economic cost impact of this rule on U.S. operators may be less than the cost impact figure indicated above. 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.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2000-NM-400-AD.

Applicability: Model MD-90-30 series airplanes, as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-24A025, Revision 01, dated January 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 detect and correct inadequate clearance of the power feeder cables on the left and right side of the aft cargo compartment, the lack of a grommet in the lightening hole through the floor cusp, and improper installation of the cabin sidewall grill, which could lead to chafing of the power feeder cables, resulting in electrical arcing and possibly in a fire in the cargo compartment of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within one year after the effective date of this AD: Perform a general visual inspection of the power feeder cable installation on the left and right sides of the aft cargo compartment between stations Y=1344.000 and Y=1364.000 for the minimum clearance between the power feeder cables and the adjacent structure and for grommet installation, in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-24A025, Revision 01, dated January 11, 2000. If the inspection reveals that adequate clearance exists and a grommet is installed, no further action is required.

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.”

Note 3:

Inspections and repairs accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD90-24-025, dated July 31, 1996, are considered acceptable for compliance with the applicable actions specified in this amendment.

Corrective Action, If Necessary

(b) Subsequent to the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD and prior to further flight, perform the actions described in paragraph (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), or (b)(4) of this AD as applicable, in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-24A025, Revision 01, dated January 11, 2000.

(1) If minimum clearance exists and if a grommet is not installed: Install a grommet.

(2) If minimum clearance does not exist and if a grommet is installed: Conduct a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables for damage, repair any damaged cable, and re-position the cables inboard to achieve minimum clearance.

(3) If minimum clearance does not exist and if a grommet is not installed: Conduct a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables for damage, repair any damaged cable, install a grommet, and re-position cables inboard to achieve minimum clearance.

(4) If minimum clearance does not exist but cannot be accomplished or a hard riding condition exists: Conduct a general visual inspection of the power feeder cables for damage; repair any damaged cable; fabricate trim; install a grommet, if necessary; position power feeder cables to achieve the minimum clearance; and modify the retainer assembly of the cabin sidewall grill.

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, 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 4:

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

(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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 28, 2001.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-202 Filed 1-3-02; 8:45 am]

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