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Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 series airplanes. This action requires reinforcement of the structural provisions for the Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna by replacement of existing fasteners with new fasteners, and installation of conical washers and a doubler plate at stringer 26, as applicable. This action is necessary to prevent cracking of the structure of the fuselage pressure vessel in the area of the GPS antenna, leading to reduced structural integrity of the fuselage pressure vessel, which could result in depressurization of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective March 8, 2002.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 8, 2002.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before March 25, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-332-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-iarcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-332-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 this AD may be obtained from Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Groves, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1503; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Civil Aviation Authority—The Netherlands (CAA-NL), which is the airworthiness Start Printed Page 7946authority for the Netherlands, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 series airplanes. The CAA-NL advises that, during a product review, Fokker Services discovered that the structural provisions for the Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna do not meet pertinent structural strength requirements. Failure to meet these structural strength requirements could lead to reduced fatigue life of the GPS antenna's structural provisions. This condition, if not corrected, could result in cracking of the structure of the fuselage pressure vessel in the area of the GPS antenna, reduced structural integrity of the fuselage pressure vessel, and possible depressurization of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Fokker Services B.V. has issued Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-055, dated May 25, 2001. This service bulletin describes procedures for reinforcement of the structural provisions for the GPS antenna by replacement of existing fasteners with new fasteners. For certain airplanes, the reinforcement of the structural provisions for the GPS antenna also necessitates installation of conical washers and a doubler plate at stringer 26. Accomplishment of the applicable actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The CAA-NL classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued Dutch airworthiness directive 2001-092, dated July 31, 2001, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the Netherlands.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in the Netherlands and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.19) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the CAA-NL has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the CAA-NL, 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 the Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design that may be registered in the United States at some time in the future, this AD is being issued to prevent cracking of the structure of the fuselage pressure vessel in the area of the GPS antenna, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the fuselage pressure vessel and consequent depressurization of the airplane. This AD requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between AD, Service Information, and Foreign Airworthiness Directive

The service bulletin and foreign airworthiness directive recommend that the actions in the service bulletin be accomplished within 6,000 flight cycles after installation of the structural provisions for the GPS antenna. The FAA finds, however, that such a compliance time could ground airplanes upon the effective date of this AD. Therefore, this AD provides a grace period of 60 days after the effective date of this AD for airplanes that have passed the 6,000-flight-cycle compliance threshold.

Cost Impact

None of the airplanes affected by this action are on the U.S. Register. All airplanes included in the applicability of this rule currently are operated by non-U.S. operators under foreign registry; therefore, they are not directly affected by this AD action. However, the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject airplanes are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.

Should an affected airplane that is subject only to the replacement of fasteners be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 2 work hours to accomplish the required reinforcement, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be $120 per airplane.

Should an affected airplane that is subject to both the replacement of fasteners and the installation of conical fasteners and a doubler be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 4 work hours to accomplish the required reinforcement, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $142 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be $382 per airplane.

Determination of Rule's Effective Date

Since this AD action does not affect any airplane that is currently on the U.S. register, it has no adverse economic impact and imposes no additional burden on any person. Therefore, prior notice and public procedures hereon are unnecessary and the amendment may be made effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule and was not preceded by notice and opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

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 rule that might suggest a need to modify the 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 that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2001-NM-332-AD.” Start Printed Page 7947The postcard will be date-stamped and returned to the commenter.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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2002-04-03 Fokker Services B.V.: Amendment 39-12660. Docket 2001-NM-332-AD.

Applicability: Model F27 Mark 050 series airplanes, as listed in Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-055, dated May 25, 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 (b) 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 cracking of the structure of the fuselage pressure vessel in the area of the Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna, leading to reduced structural integrity of the fuselage pressure vessel, which could result in depressurization of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Reinforcement of Structural Provisions for GPS Antenna

(a) Within 6,000 flight cycles since installation of structural provisions for the GPS antenna per Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-34-047, or Fokker Engineering Report FS-N399 or FS-N364, as applicable; or within 60 days after the effective date of this AD; whichever occurs later: Reinforce the structural provisions for the GPS antenna by replacing existing fasteners with new fasteners, and installing conical washers and a doubler plate at stringer 26, as applicable, per Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-055, dated May 25, 2001.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(b) 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

(c) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with §§ 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.

Incorporation by Reference

(d) The actions shall be done in accordance with Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-055, dated May 25, 2001. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Dutch airworthiness directive 2001-092, dated July 31, 2001.

Effective Date

(e) This amendment becomes effective on March 8, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 11, 2002.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-3850 Filed 2-20-02; 8:45 am]

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