Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to all McDonnell Douglas transport category airplanes listed above. This proposal would require a check of the slant pressure panels of the wheel wells of the left and right main landing gear (MLG) for water leakage, and repair of any leaks found. This action is necessary to prevent the accumulation of water in the wheel wells of the MLG during flight, which could freeze on the lateral control mixer and control cables, resulting in restricted lateral control and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.Start Printed Page 69495
Comments must be received by January 2, 2003.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-170-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: email@example.com. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-170-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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Wahib Mina, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5324; fax (562) 627-5210.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 Number 2001-NM-170-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-170-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
The FAA has received numerous reports indicating water leakage from the slant pressure panel into the wheel well of the main landing gear (MLG) on certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9 series airplanes. The water froze on the lateral control mixer and control cables. If the slant pressure panel drain valve is clogged, or a drain system is not installed, any water that accumulates during flight will be squeezed out of the panel into the wheel well due to damaged sealant. Accumulation of water in the wheel wells of the MLG could freeze on the lateral control mixer and control cables, resulting in restricted lateral control and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
We have reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-53A295, Revision 01, including Appendix A, dated February 28, 2002, which describes procedures for a check of the slant pressure panels of the wheel wells of the left and right MLG for water leakage, and repair of any leaks found. The leak check includes the following:
- Pressurizing the airplane to 1 pound per square inch gage and checking the panels for leaks;
- Marking any leaks found;
- Pressurizing the airplane to 3 pounds per square inch gage and checking the panels for additional leaks;
- Marking any leaks found and depressurizing the airplane; and
- Repairing all leaks found and pressurizing the airplane to 3 pounds per square inch gage to verify that all leaks are repaired.
The service bulletin also recommends reporting initial leak check findings to the manufacturer. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.
Explanation of Requirements of Proposed AD
Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.
Difference Between Service Information and Proposed AD
Although the service bulletin recommends that operators report findings to the manufacturer after doing the initial leak check, this proposed AD does not include such a reporting requirement.
There are approximately 1,919 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1,159 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed leak check, 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 $278,160, or $240 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, Start Printed Page 69496planning 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 39
- Air transportation
- Aviation safety
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:
McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-170-AD.
Applicability: All Model DC-9-14, DC-9-15, DC-9-15F, DC-9-21, DC-9-31, DC-9-32, DC-9-32 (VC-9C), DC-9-32F, DC-9-32F (C-9A, C-9B), DC-9-33F, DC-9-34, DC-9-34F, DC-9-41, and DC-9-51 airplanes; and DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), and MD-88 airplanes; certificated in any category.
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 (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 the accumulation of water in the wheel wells of the left and right main landing gear (MLG), which could freeze on the lateral control mixer and control cables, resulting in restricted lateral control and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane; accomplish the following:
(a) Prior to the accumulation of 40,000 flight hours since date of manufacture, or within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later: Do a check of the slant pressure panels of the wheel wells of the left and right MLG for water leakage (including pressurizing the airplane and checking the panels for leaks; depressurizing the airplane to repair leaks; and pressurizing the airplane again to verify that all leaks are repaired), per the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-53A295, Revision 01, including Appendix A, dated February 28, 2002. If any leaks are found, before further flight, repair per the service bulletin. If no leaks are found, no further action is required by this AD.
Credit for Actions Done per Previous Issue of Service Bulletin
(b) Accomplishment of the check for water leakage and repair of leaks found, before the effective date of this AD, per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-53A295, including Appendix A, dated May 8, 2001, is acceptable for compliance with paragraph (a) of this AD.
Although Boeing Alert Service Bulletins DC9-53A295, including Appendix A, dated May 8, 2001; and Revision 01, including Appendix A, dated February 28, 2002; recommend that operators report findings to the manufacturer after doing the initial leak check, this AD does not contain such a reporting requirement.
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, 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.
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 Permit
(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.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 8, 2002.
Vi L. Lipski,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 02-29118 Filed 11-15-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P