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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Air Tractor, Inc. Models AT-250, AT-300, AT-301, AT-302, AT-400, AT-400A, AT-401, AT-401A, AT-402, AT-402A, AT-501, AT-502, and AT-502A 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 to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) that would apply to certain Air Tractor, Inc. (Air Tractor) Models AT-250, AT-300, AT-301, AT-302, AT-400, AT-400A, AT-401, AT-401A, AT-402, AT-402A, AT-501, AT-502, and AT-502A airplanes. This proposed AD would require you to install an overturn skid plate in the cockpit area. This proposed AD is the result of reports of foreign material entering the cabin area and contributing to accidents of the affected airplanes. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to minimize the possibility of dirt or mud penetrating the cockpit. Such mud and dirt penetration into the cockpit could lead to pilot asphyxia or injury.

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DATES:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive any comments on this proposed rule on or before November 4, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments to FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-CE-60-AD, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. You may view any comments at this location between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also send comments electronically to the following address: 9-ACE-7-Docket@faa.gov. Comments sent electronically must contain “Docket No. 2000-CE-60-AD” in the subject line. If you send comments electronically as attached electronic files, the files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

You may get service information that applies to this proposed AD from Air Tractor, Inc., P.O. Box 485, Olney, Texas 76374. You may also view this information at the Rules Docket at the address above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Fort Worth Airplane Certification Office, 2601 Meacham Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0150; telephone: (817) 222-5156; facsimile: (817) 222-5960.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

How Do I Comment on This Proposed AD?

The FAA invites comments on this proposed rule. You may submit whatever written data, views, or arguments you choose. You need to include the rule's docket number and submit your comments to the address specified under the caption ADDRESSES. We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date. We may amend this proposed rule in light of comments received. Factual information that supports your ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of this proposed AD action and determining whether we need to take additional rulemaking action.

Are There Any Specific Portions of This Proposed AD I Should Pay Attention to?

The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed rule that might suggest a need to modify the rule. You may view all comments we receive before and after the closing date of the rule in the Rules Docket. We will file a report in the Rules Docket that summarizes each contact we have with the public that concerns the substantive parts of this proposed AD.

How Can I Be Sure FAA Receives My Comment?

If you want FAA to acknowledge the receipt of your mailed comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. On the postcard, write “Comments to Docket No. 2000-CE-60-AD.” We will date stamp and mail the postcard back to you.

Discussion

What Events Have Caused This Proposed AD?

The FAA has received accident reports on Air Tractor Models AT-301 and AT-401 airplanes. The reports indicate that the aircraft skids tail first after an overturn, the windshield and curved overturn tube act as a scoop, foreign material enters the cockpit if the top of the canopy is damaged, and this foreign material then enters into the cabin area and possibly contributes to pilot deaths.

What Are the Consequences if the Condition Is Not Corrected?

Such mud and dirt penetration into the cockpit could lead to pilot asphyxia or injury.

Is There Service Information That Applies to This Subject?

Air Tractor has issued Snow Engineering Company Service Letter #97, dated March 23, 1991, Revised October 3, 2000.

What Are the Provisions of This Service Information?

The service bulletin includes procedures for installing a cockpit overturn skid plate.

The FAA's Determination and an Explanation of the Provisions of This Proposed AD

What Has FAA Decided?

After examining the circumstances and reviewing all available information related to the incidents described above, we have determined that:

  • The unsafe condition referenced in this document exists or could develop on other Air Tractor Models AT-250, AT-300, AT-301, AT-302, AT-400, AT-400A, AT-401, AT-401A, AT-402, AT-402A, AT-501, AT-502, and AT-502A airplanes of the same type design;
  • The actions specified in the previously-referenced service information should be accomplished on the affected airplanes; and
  • AD action should be taken in order to correct this unsafe condition.

What Would This Proposed AD Require?

This proposed AD would require you to incorporate the actions in the previously-referenced service bulletin.

Cost Impact

How Many Airplanes Would This Proposed AD Impact?

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 845 airplanes in the U.S. registry.

What Would Be the Cost Impact of This Proposed AD on Owners/Operators of the Affected Airplanes?

We estimate the following costs to accomplish the proposed modification:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
6 workhour × $60 per hour=$360$300$660$845 × 660 = $557,700

Compliance Time of This Proposed AD

What Would Be the Compliance Time of This Proposed AD?

The compliance time of this proposed AD is within the next 180 days after the effective date of this AD.

Why Is the Proposed Compliance Time Presented in Calendar Time Instead of Hours Time-in-Service (TIS)?

Although an accident where the aircraft skids tail first after an overturn could occur on the affected airplanes during airplane operation, the condition is not directly related to airplane usage. The condition exists on the airplanes regardless of whether the airplane has accumulated 50 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 5,000 hours TIS.

The FAA has determined that the 180-day compliance time:

  • Gives all owners/operators of the affected airplanes adequate time to schedule and accomplish the actions in this proposed AD; and
  • Assures that the unsafe condition referenced in this proposed AD will be Start Printed Page 55362corrected within a reasonable time period without inadvertently grounding any of the affected airplanes.

Regulatory Impact

Would This Proposed AD Impact Various Entities?

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 proposed rule would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

Would This Proposed AD Involve a Significant Rule or Regulatory Action?

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed 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) 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 has been placed 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, under 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. FAA amends § 39.13 by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD) to read as follows:

Air Tractor, Inc.: Docket No. 2000-CE-60-AD

(a) What airplanes are affected by this AD? This AD affects the following airplane models and serial numbers that are certificated in any category;

ModelsSerial No.
AT-250, AT-300, AT-301, AT-302, AT-400, AT-400A, AT-401, AT-401A, AT-402, and AT-402AAll through 0829.
AT-501, AT-502, and AT-502AAll through 0147.

(b) Who must comply with this AD? Anyone who wishes to operate any of the airplanes identified in paragraph (a) of this AD must comply with this AD.

(c) What problem does this AD address? The actions specified by this AD are intended to minimize the possibility of dirt or mud penetrating the cockpit. Such mud and dirt penetration into the cockpit could lead to pilot asphyxia or injury.

(d) What actions must I accomplish to address this problem? To address this problem, you must accomplish the following:

ActionsComplianceProcedures
Install overturn skid plate, part number (P/N) 11411-1-500, or FAA-approved equivalent P/NWithin the next 180 days after the effective date of this AD, unless already accomplishedIn accordance with Snow Engineering Company Service Letter #97, dated March 23, 1991, Revised October 3, 2000, and the applicable maintenance manual.

(e) Can I comply with this AD in any other way? You may use an alternative method of compliance or adjust the compliance time if:

(1) Your alternative method of compliance provides an equivalent level of safety; and

(2) The Manager, Fort Worth Aircraft Certification Office, approves your alternative. Submit your request through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Fort Worth Aircraft Certification Office.

Note:

This AD applies to each airplane identified in paragraph (a) of this AD, 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 (e) 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 you have not eliminated the unsafe condition, specific actions you propose to address it.

(f) Where can I get information about any already-approved alternative methods of compliance? Contact Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Fort Worth Airplane Certification Office, 2601 Meacham Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0150; telephone: (817) 222-5156; facsimile: (817) 222-5960.

(g) What if I need to fly the airplane to another location to comply with this AD? The FAA can issue a special flight permit under sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate your airplane to a location where you can accomplish the requirements of this AD.

(h) How do I get copies of the documents referenced in this AD? You may get copies of the documents referenced in this AD from Air Tractor, Inc., P.O. Box 485, Olney, Texas 76374. You may view these documents at FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106.

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Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 21, 2002.

David R. Showers,

Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-22002 Filed 8-28-02; 8:45 am]

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