Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A320 and A321 series airplanes. This proposal would require an inspection to detect trapped water in the elevator sandwich structure, reprotection of the elevator, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent damage caused by water ingress into the elevator, which could lead to debonding of the elevator skins and degradation of the initial protection, and consequent reduced structural integrity of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by March 25, 2002.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket 2001-NM-256-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9 a.m. and 3 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: email@example.com. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-256-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
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 2001-NM-256-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 2001-NM-256-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
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 Model A320 and A321 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that in-service findings and a sampling inspection performed on elevators in the A320 fleet have revealed water ingress into the elevator. This condition, if not corrected, could result in debonding of the elevator skins and degradation of the initial protection, and consequent reduced structural integrity of the airplane.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-55-1024, dated January 13, 1999, which describes procedures for a thermographic inspection of the left and right elevators to detect trapped water and evaluate water damage. The service bulletin also describes procedures for repairing any damage, enlarging the existing drainholes in the lower skin panels of the elevator, and reprotecting the elevators. 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 2001-062(B), dated February 21, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.
Service Bulletin A320-55-1024 refers to Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1022, Revision 01, dated March 30, 2001, as an additional source of service information for enlarging the drainage holes in the elevator.Start Printed Page 8213
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 Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024, described previously, except as discussed below.
Difference Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin
Operators should note that, although Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024 specifies that the manufacturer may be contacted for disposition of certain repair conditions, this proposal would require the repair of those conditions to be accomplished in accordance with a method approved by either the FAA or the DGAC (or its delegated agent). In light of the type of repair that would be required to address the identified unsafe condition, and in consonance with existing bilateral airworthiness agreements, the FAA has determined that, for this proposed AD, a repair approved by either the FAA or the DGAC (or its delegated agent) would be acceptable for compliance with this proposed AD.
The FAA estimates that 91 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 52 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, 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 $283,920, or $3,120 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.
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 39End 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:
2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:
Airbus Industrie: Docket 2001-NM-256-AD.
Applicability: Model A320 and A321 series airplanes, certificated in any category; having elevator part and serial numbers listed in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024, dated January 13, 1999; excluding those modified per Airbus Modification 23558.
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 (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 caused by water ingress into the elevator, which could lead to debonding of the elevator skins and degradation of the initial protection and consequent reduced structural integrity of the airplane, accomplish the following:
Inspection and Follow-On/Corrective Actions
(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, or within 10 years after the date of manufacture of the airplane, whichever occurs later: Perform a thermographic inspection to detect trapped water in the elevator sandwich structure, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024, dated January 13, 1999.
(1) If no water is found: Before further flight, reprotect the elevator in accordance with the service bulletin.
(2) If any water is detected: Before further flight, evaluate the damage, perform applicable repair of any damaged area, and reprotect the elevator, in accordance with the service bulletin. If any damage is found for which the service bulletin specifies to contact Airbus for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair in accordance with a method approved by either the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (or its delegated agent).
Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024 refers to Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1022, Revision 01, dated March 30, 2001, as an additional source of service information for enlarging the drainage holes in the elevator.
(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install on any airplane an elevator having a part number and serial number listed in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-55-1024, dated January 13, 1999, unless the requirements of this AD have been accomplished on that elevator.
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, Start Printed Page 8214International 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.
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
(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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-062(B), dated February 21, 2001.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 12, 2002.
Vi L. Lipski,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 02-4227 Filed 2-21-02; 8:45 am]
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