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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and-11F 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:

Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY:

This document revises an earlier proposed airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, that would have required an inspection to detect chafed wires in the avionics equipment compartment, and repair, if necessary. That proposed AD also would have required replacement of the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new cover, and Start Printed Page 55363installation of a new placard on the cover. This new action revises the proposed rule by revising which previously accomplished actions are acceptable for compliance with certain requirements of this proposed AD; and clarifying the applicability, a part number, and the inspection definition. This action is necessary to ensure that the cover of the avionics cooling fans is removed only for fan maintenance, and to prevent smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment due to chafing and arcing as a result of maintenance personnel lying against the removed cover and/or insulation blankets that cover wire harnesses. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by September 23, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-160-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-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-160-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:

Technical Information: Brett Portwood, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5350; fax (562) 627-5210.

Other Information: Sandi Carli, Airworthiness Directive Technical Writer/Editor; telephone (425) 687-4243, fax (425) 227-1232. Questions or comments may also be sent via the Internet using the following address: sandi.carli@faa.gov. Questions or comments sent via the Internet as attached electronic files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

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-160-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-160-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to add an airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, was published as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on October 5, 2001 (66 FR 50870). That NPRM would have required an inspection to detect chafed wires in the avionics equipment compartment, and repair, if necessary. That NPRM also would have required replacement of the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new cover, and installation of a new placard on the cover. That NPRM was prompted by an incident of a chafing condition between the wire harness and No. 2 wire harness connector. That condition, if not corrected, could result in smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment.

Comments

Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. Due consideration has been given to the comments received.

Question About Previously Accomplished Actions

One commenter asks whether operators that previously accomplished the actions specified in the original issue of McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-21-033, dated May 1, 1992, which does not include an inspection of the wires in the area of the avionics cooling fans inside the avionics equipment compartment, have to do the inspection required by paragraph (a) of the NPRM. The commenter notes that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001 (which is referenced in the NPRM as the appropriate source of service information), states that no more work is necessary on airplanes modified by the original issue of the service bulletin. The commenter states that the original incident was maintenance induced (i.e., personnel removed the cover and lay down or sat on the fans), and that, after accomplishment of the procedures in the original issue of the service bulletin, there were no more reports of problems in this area.

The FAA acknowledges that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001, states that no more work is necessary on airplanes modified by the original issue of the service bulletin, and that the original issue of that service bulletin did not include an inspection of the subject Start Printed Page 55364wires. However, we have determined that the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this supplemental NPRM is necessary to adequately address the identified unsafe condition (i.e., chafing and arcing of wires as a result of maintenance personnel lying against the removed cover and/or insulation blankets that cover wire harnesses). Therefore, more work is necessary for airplanes modified by the original issue of the service bulletin.

Note 3 of the NPRM states, “Accomplishment of the actions specified in McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-21-033, dated May 1, 1992, before the effective date of this AD, is considered acceptable for compliance with the requirements of this AD.” Based on the commenter's question, we find that clarification of Note 3 of the NPRM is necessary. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the original version of service bulletin is acceptable for compliance with only the replacement required by paragraph (b) of this supplemental NPRM. Therefore, we have revised this language in the supplemental NPRM. In addition, since the language in Note 3 of the NPRM is regulatory in nature, that note has been redesignated as paragraph (c) of this supplemental NPRM.

Explanation of Change to Proposed Requirements

Since issuance of the NPRM, we have discovered an incorrect part number listed in paragraph 3.B.3. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001, which is referenced as the appropriate source of service information for accomplishing the replacement and installation required by paragraph (b) of this supplemental NPRM. That paragraph states, “ * * * with new AXE7270-569 cover and install new AXE7270-569 placard on cover as shown on Figure 1.” However, as indicated in View C-C, Figure 1 of the service bulletin, the correct part number for the new cover is ABM7569-501, not AXE7270-569. Therefore, we have added a statement in paragraph (b) of the supplemental NPRM that “(t)he replacement must be done with part numbers that are specified in Figure 1 of the service bulletin.”

Explanation of Change to Applicability

We find that Model MD-11F airplanes were not specifically identified by model name in the applicability of the NPRM. However, those airplanes were identified by manufacturer's fuselage numbers in the effectivity listing of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001, which was referenced in the applicability of the NPRM. Therefore, we have revised this supplemental NPRM to specifically reference Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes where appropriate. In addition, we have specified model designations in the applicability of this supplemental NPRM as published in the most recent type certificate data sheet for the affected models.

Explanation of Change to Inspection Definition

For clarification purposes, we have revised the definition of a “general visual inspection” in Note 2 of this supplemental NPRM.

Conclusion

Since one of these changes expands the scope of the originally proposed rule, we have determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 80 Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. We estimate that 33 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $1,991 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $73,623, or $2,231 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 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.

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

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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:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

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

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-160-AD.

Applicability: Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 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 (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 the unsafe condition has not been eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to address it.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously. Start Printed Page 55365

To ensure that the cover of the avionics cooling fans is removed only for fan maintenance, and to prevent smoke and/or fire in the avionics equipment compartment due to chafing and arcing as a result of maintenance personnel lying against the removed cover and/or insulation blankets that cover wire harnesses, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Repair if Necessary

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do a general visual inspection to detect chafed wires in the area of the avionics cooling fans inside the avionics equipment compartment, per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001. If any chafed wiring is detected, before further flight, repair per the service bulletin.

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 from within touching distance unless otherwise specified. A mirror may be necessary to enhance visual access to all exposed surfaces in the inspection area. This level of inspection is made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or droplight 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.”

Replacement of a Cover and Installation of a New Placard

(b) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the existing cover of the avionics cooling fan with a new cover, and install a new placard on the cover, per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-21A033, Revision 01, dated April 30, 2001. The replacement must done with part numbers that are specified in View C-C, Figure 1, of the service bulletin.

(c) Accomplishment of the actions specified in McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-21-033, dated May 1, 1992, before the effective date of this AD, is considered acceptable for compliance with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this AD.

Spares

(d) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install a cover assembly, part number ABM7569-1, on any airplane.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(e) 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 3:

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

(f) 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 August 20, 2002.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-22003 Filed 8-28-02; 8:45 am]

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