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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 and A340 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 all Airbus Model A330 and A340 series airplanes. This proposal would require a one-time inspection to determine the manufacturer's name, part number, and date code of certain circuit breakers; and replacement of any suspect circuit breaker with a new improved circuit breaker. This action is necessary to ensure that proper circuit breakers are installed for the fire extinguishing system or part of the supplemental oxygen supply. A defective circuit breaker, if not corrected, could trip without the cockpit indication light illuminating. If the flightcrew is unaware of this situation while operating the airplane, this latent failure in combination with other failures could present an immediate hazard to the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by September 9, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-396-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: 9-anm-iarcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-396-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 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:

Gary Lium, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1112; 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-396-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 No. 2001-NM-396-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Start Printed Page 51790

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 all Airbus Model A330 and A340 series airplanes. The DGAC advises it has received reports of electrical discontinuity of the auxiliary contacts of certain Texas Instrument circuit breakers (located in the 722VU and 742VU panels), with date codes 96/01 through 98/52 inclusive. The cause of these failures has been attributed to a manufacturing process error during the production of certain Texas Instruments circuit breakers. A defective circuit breaker for the fire extinguishing system or part of the supplemental oxygen supply, if not corrected, could trip without the cockpit indication light illuminating. If the flightcrew is unaware of this situation while operating the airplane, this latent failure in combination with other failures could present an immediate hazard to the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A330-92-3034, Revision 03 (for Model A330 series airplanes); and Airbus Service Bulletin A340-92-4042, Revision 03 (for Model A340 series airplanes); both dated November 13, 2001. The service bulletins describe procedures for a one-time inspection to determine the manufacturer's name, part number, and date code of circuit breakers 1WX, 2WX, and 5WR through 12WR inclusive, located in the 722VU and 742VU panels. The service bulletins also describe procedures for replacing any suspect circuit breaker with a new improved circuit breaker, either having the proper date code or from another manufacturer. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directives 2001-468(B) and 2001-469(B), both dated October 3, 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 21.19) 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 bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 8 Model A330 series airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours 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 inspection proposed by this AD on U.S. operators of Model A330 series airplanes is estimated to be $960, or $120 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are 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.

Currently, there are no Model A340 series airplanes on the U.S. Register. However, should an affected airplane be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 2 work hours to accomplish the proposed action, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspection proposed by this AD for Model A340 series airplanes would be $120 per airplane.

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:

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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:

Airbus: Docket 2001-NM-396-AD.

Applicability: All Model A330 and A340 series airplanes, 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 (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 ensure that proper circuit breakers are installed for the fire extinguishing system or Start Printed Page 51791part of the supplemental oxygen supply, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, inspect to determine the manufacturer's name, part number, and date code of circuit breakers 1WX, 2WX, and 5WR through 12WR inclusive, located in the 722VU and 742VU panels; per Airbus Service Bulletin A330-92-3034, Revision 03 (for Model A330 series airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-92-4042, Revision 03 (for Model A340 series airplanes); both dated November 13, 2001; as applicable.

Corrective Action

(b) If any Texas Instruments circuit breaker having part number (P/N) E0730-005A7A5A, E0730-005A05AA, E0730-005A7A5B, or E0730-005A05AB, with any date code 96/01 through 98/52 inclusive, is found during the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, before further flight, replace the circuit breaker with a new improved circuit breaker, either having the proper date code or from another manufacturer, per Airbus Service Bulletin A330-92-3034, Revision 03 (for Model A330 series airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-92-4042, Revision 03 (for Model A340 series airplanes); both dated November 13, 2001; as applicable.

Note 2:

Inspections and corrective actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Airbus Service Bulletin A330-92-3034, dated February 9, 2001; Revision 01, dated April 11, 2001; or Revision 02, dated August 14, 2001 (for Model A330 series airplanes); and Airbus Service Bulletin A340-92-4042, dated February 9, 2001; Revision 01, dated April 11, 2001; or Revision 02, dated August 14, 2001 (for Model A340 series airplanes); are considered acceptable for compliance with the applicable inspections and corrective actions required by this AD.

Spares

(c) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install any Texas Instruments circuit breaker having P/N E0730-005A7A5A, E0730-005A05AA, E0730-005A7A5B, or E0730-005A05AB with any date code 96/01 through 98/52 inclusive, on any airplane.

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 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

(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 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directives 2001-468(B) and 2001-469(B), both dated October 3, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 29, 2002.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-20134 Filed 8-8-02; 8:45 am]

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