Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Public Address System

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.

Start Preamble Start Printed Page 70510

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend an airworthiness standard for the public address system on transport category airplanes. The proposal would shorten from 10 seconds to 3 seconds, the time allowed for the system to become active after a flight crewmember removes the microphone from its stowage. A time requirement is imposed to assure the system is rapidly usable for emergency announcements. Adopting this proposal would eliminate regulatory differences between the airworthiness standards of the U.S. and the Joint Aviation Requirements of Europe, without affecting current industry design practices.

DATES:

Send your comments on or before January 21, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Address your comments to Dockets Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation Dockets, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. You must identify the docket number FAA-2002-13859 at the beginning of your comments, and you should submit two copies of your comments. If you wish to receive confirmation that the FAA has received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2002-13859.” We will date-stamp the postcard and mail it back to you.

You also may submit comments electronically to the following Internet address: http://dms.dot.gov.

You may review the public docket containing comments to this proposed regulation at the Department of Transportation (DOT) Dockets Office, located on the plaza level of the Nassif Building at the above address. You may review the public docket in person at this address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Also, you may review the public dockets on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kirk Baker, FAA, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712; telephone 562-627-5345; facsimile 562-627-5210, e-mail kirk.baker@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

How Do I Submit Comments to This NPRM?

Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the proposed action by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments relating to the environmental, energy, federalism, or economic impact that might result from adopting the proposals in this document are also invited. Substantive comments should be accompanied by cost estimates. Comments must identify the regulatory docket number and be submitted in duplicate to the DOT Rules Docket address specified above.

All comments received, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking, will be filed in the docket. The docket is available for public inspection before and after the comment closing date.

We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date before taking action on this proposed rulemaking. Comments filed late will be considered as far as possible without incurring expense or delay. The proposals in this document may be changed in light of the comments received.

How Can I Obtain a Copy of This NPRM?

You may download an electronic copy of this document using a modem and suitable communications software from the FAA regulations section of the Fedworld electronic bulletin board service (telephone: 703-321-3339); the Government Printing Office (GPO)'s electronic bulletin board service (telephone: 202-512-1661); or, if applicable, the FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee bulletin board service (telephone: 800-322-2722 or 202-267-5948).

Internet users may access recently published rulemaking documents at the FAA's web page at http://www.faa.gov/​avr/​arm/​nprm/​nprm.htm or the GPO's Web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara.

You may obtain a copy of this document by submitting a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; or by calling 202-267-9680. Communications must identify the docket number of this NPRM.

Any person interested in being placed on the mailing list for future rulemaking documents should request from the above office a copy of Advisory Circular 11-2A, “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System,” which describes the application procedure.

What Are the Relevant Airworthiness Standards in the United States?

In the United States, the airworthiness standards for type certification of transport category airplanes are contained in Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 25. Manufacturers of transport category airplanes must show that each airplane they produce of a different type design complies with the appropriate part 25 standards. These standards apply to:

  • Airplanes manufactured within the U.S. for use by U.S.-registered operators, and
  • Airplanes manufactured in other countries and imported to the U.S. under a bilateral airworthiness agreement.

What Are the Relevant Airworthiness Standards in Europe?

In Europe, the airworthiness standards for type certification of transport category airplanes are contained in Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR)-25, which are based on part 25. These were developed by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) of Europe to provide a common set of airworthiness standards within the European aviation community. Twenty-three European countries accept airplanes type certificated to the JAR-25 standards, including airplanes manufactured in the U.S. that are type certificated to JAR-25 standards for export to Europe.

What is “Harmonization” and How Did It Start?

Although part 25 and JAR-25 are very similar, they are not identical in every respect. When airplanes are type certificated to both sets of standards, the differences between part 25 and JAR-25 can result in substantial additional costs to manufacturers and operators. These additional costs, however, frequently do not bring about an increase in safety. In many cases, part 25 and JAR-25 may contain different requirements to accomplish the same safety intent. Consequently, manufacturers are usually burdened with meeting the requirements of both sets of standards, although the level of safety is not increased correspondingly. Start Printed Page 70511

Recognizing that a common set of standards would not only benefit the aviation industry economically, but also maintain the necessary high level of safety, the FAA and 2 the JAA began an effort in 1988 to “harmonize” their respective aviation standards. The goal of the harmonization effort is to ensure that:

  • Where possible, standards do not require domestic and foreign parties to manufacture or operate to different standards for each country involved; and
  • The standards adopted are mutually acceptable to the FAA and the foreign aviation authorities.

The FAA and JAA have identified a number of significant regulatory differences (SRD) between the wording of part 25 and JAR-25. Both the FAA and the JAA consider “harmonization” of the two sets of standards a high priority.

What Is ARAC and What Role Does It Play in Harmonization?

After initiating the first steps towards harmonization, the FAA and JAA soon realized that traditional methods of rulemaking and accommodating different administrative procedures was neither sufficient nor adequate to make appreciable progress towards fulfilling the goal of harmonization. The FAA then identified the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) as an ideal vehicle for assisting in resolving harmonization issues, and, in 1992, the FAA tasked ARAC to undertake the entire harmonization effort.

The FAA had formally established ARAC in 1991 (56 FR 2190, January 22, 1991), to provide advice and recommendations concerning the full range of the FAA's safety-related rulemaking activity. The FAA sought this advice to develop better rules in less overall time and using fewer FAA resources than previously needed. The committee provides the FAA firsthand information and insight from interested parties regarding potential new rules or revisions of existing rules.

There are 64 member organizations on the committee, representing a wide range of interests within the aviation community. Meetings of the committee are open to the public, except as authorized by section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

The ARAC establishes working groups to develop recommendations for resolving specific airworthiness issues. Tasks assigned to working groups are published in the Federal Register. Although working group meetings are not generally open to the public, the FAA solicits participation in working groups from interested members of the public who possess knowledge or experience in the task areas. Working groups report directly to the ARAC, and the ARAC must accept a working group proposal before ARAC presents the proposal to the FAA as an advisory committee recommendation.

The activities of the ARAC will not, however, circumvent the public rulemaking procedures; nor is the FAA limited to the rule language “recommended” by ARAC. If the FAA accepts an ARAC recommendation, the agency proceeds with the normal public rulemaking procedures. Any ARAC participation in a rulemaking package is fully disclosed in the public docket.

Under this program, the FAA provides ARAC with an opportunity to review, discuss, and comment on the FAA's draft NPRM. In the case of this rulemaking, ARAC made no changes to this NPRM.

Discussion of the Proposal

What Is the Underlying Safety Issue Addressed by the Current Standards?

The public address system assures the operational availability within a specified time for passenger announcements in the event of an emergency situation. The system must be powerable in flight or on the ground to allow communication with all passengers at all times.

What Are the Current 14 CFR and JAR Standards?

The current text of 14 CFR 25.1423 is:

§ 25.1423 Public address system

(b) Be capable of operation within 10-seconds by a flight attendant at those stations in the passenger compartment from which the system is accessible.

The current text of JAR-25.1423 (Change 15, amendment 25/96/1) is:

JAR-25.1423 Public address system

(b) The system must be capable of operation within 3-seconds from the time a microphone is removed from its stowage by a flight attendant at those stations in the passenger compartment from which its use is accessible.

What Are the Differences in the Standards and What Do Those Differences Result in?

The JAR requirement is very specific in that the system must be operational within 3 seconds from the time the flight attendant removes the microphone from its stowage position. Part 25 specifies that the system must be operational within 10 seconds, but does not specify the start of the 10-second time period.

What, If Any, Are the Differences in the Means of Compliance?

Under the JAR requirements, a system must operate within three seconds from the time the microphone is removed from its stowed position. Under the part 25 requirements, the system can be approved if it is operational within 10 seconds by a flight attendant at those stations in the passenger compartment from which its use is accessible. Currently, the technology that is used in the amplifiers for the public address system is in compliance with the 3-seconds delay requirement. The old vacuum tube technology required 10 seconds for heating to be operational, whereas the technology used today does not require heating. The proposed 3-seconds delay is in line with current technology.

What Is the Proposed Action?

The proposed action is to revise part 25 by adopting the text of JAR 25.1423(b) in its entirety. The proposed revision would specify the 3-seconds operational compliance time and is in line with current technology.

How Does This Proposed Standard Address the Underlying Safety Issue?

The proposed standard would harmonize part 25 and the JAR by removing the 10 second requirement from § 25.1423, and inserting the JAR text. The new § 25.1423 will impose a 3-second operational requirement from the time the microphone is removed from its stowage position.

What Is the Effect of the Proposed Standard Relative to the Current Regulations?

The proposed standard would maintain the same level of safety since current technology meets the 3-seconds requirement. The proposed standard would also clarify the requirement by specifying the start and end of the 3-seconds timeframe.

What Is the Effect of the Proposed Standard Relative to Current Industry Practice?

Current industry practice is for systems to be designed to meet both part 25 and the JAR requirements. For these systems, the proposed standard would maintain the same level of safety.

What Other Options Have Been Considered and Why Were They Not Selected?

The FAA has not considered another option. The FAA considers the adoption of JAR 25.1423(b) in its entirety the most appropriate way to fulfill Start Printed Page 70512harmonization goals while maintaining safety.

Who Would Be Affected by the Proposed Change?

The proposed standard is in line with current design practices and the effect of the change is considered to be minimal for equipment manufacturers. For new equipment, it is not a problem since technology meets the 3-seconds standard.

Is Existing FAA Advisory Material Adequate?

The FAA considers developing new advisory material to be unnecessary.

What Regulatory Analyses and Assessments Has the FAA Conducted? What Other Assessments Has the FAA Conducted?

Regulatory Evaluation Summary

Proposed changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 as amended requires agencies to analyze the economic effect of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, this Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. And fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation).

In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this proposal has benefits, but no costs, and that it is not “a significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. This proposal would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, reduces barriers to international trade, and imposes no unfunded mandates on State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector.

Because there are no apparent costs associated with this proposal, it does not warrant the preparation of a full economic evaluation for placement in the docket. The FAA estimates that there are no costs associated this proposal. A review of current manufacturers of transport category aircraft has revealed that all such future aircraft are expected to be certificated under part 25 of both 14 CFR and JAR. Since future certificated transport-category aircraft are expected to meet the existing section 25.1423(b) of the JAR requirement and this rule simply adopts the same JAR requirement, manufacturers would incur no additional cost resulting from this proposal. Current technology enables compliance with the requirement that the public address system be operational within 3 seconds. In fact, manufacturers are expected to receive cost-savings by a reduction in the FAA/JAA certification requirements for new aircraft. The cost-savings of this proposed rule is a potential reduction in paperwork required for certification. The FAA, however, has not attempted to quantify the cost savings that may accrue due to this specific proposal, beyond noting that while they may be minimal, they contribute to a large potential harmonization savings. The agency concludes that because there is consensus among potentially impacted airplane manufacturers that savings will result, further analysis is not required.

The FAA requests comments with supporting documentation in regard to the conclusions contained in this section.

Regulatory Flexibility Determination

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C., 601-612, as amended, establishes as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objective of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the business, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve that principle, the RFA requires agencies to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions.

Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a proposed or final rule will have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the determination is that the rule will, the Agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.

However, if an agency determines that a proposed or final rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.

The FAA considers that this proposed rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities for two reasons. First, the net effect of the proposed rule is minimum regulatory cost relief. The proposed rule requires that new transport category aircraft manufacturers meet just the “more stringent” European certification requirement, rather than both the United States and European standards. Airplane manufacturers already meet or expect to meet this standard as well as the existing 14 CFR requirement. Secondly, all United States transport-aircraft category manufacturers exceed the Small Business Administration small-entity criteria of 1,500 employees for aircraft manufacturers. United States part 25 airplane manufacturers include: Boeing, Cessna Aircraft, Gulfstream Aerospace, Learjet (owned by Bombardier), Lockheed Martin, McDonnell Douglas (a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company), Raytheon Aircraft, and Sabreliner Corporation. Given that this proposed rule is minimally cost-relieving and that there are no small entity manufacturers of part 25 airplanes, the FAA certifies that this proposed rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

International Trade Impact

The Trade Agreement Act of 1979, 19 U.S.C. et seq., prohibits Federal agencies from engaging in any standards or related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as safety, are not considered unnecessary obstacles. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards

In accordance with the above statute, the FAA has assessed the potential effect of the proposed rule and has determined that it is consistent with the statutes requirements by using European international standards as the basis for U.S. standards.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (the Act), 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, 1571, requires each Federal agency, to the extent permitted by law, to prepare a written assessment of the effects of any Federal mandate in a Start Printed Page 70513proposed or final agency rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule does not contain a Federal intergovernmental or private sector mandate that exceeds $100 million in any year; therefore, the requirements of the Act do not apply.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule and the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The FAA has determined that this action 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, the FAA has determined that this notice of proposed rulemaking would not have federalism implications.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), the FAA had determined there are no requirements for information collection associated with this proposed rule.

International Compatibility

In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this proposed regulation.

Environmental Analysis

FAA Order 1050.1D defines FAA actions that may be categorically excluded from preparation of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1D, appendix 4, paragraph 4(j), this rulemaking qualifies for a categorical exclusion.

Energy Impact

The energy impact of the proposed rule has been assessed in accordance with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and Public Law 94-163, as amended (43 U.S.C. 6362), and FAA Order 1053.1. It has been determined that it is not a major regulatory action under the provisions of the EPCA.

Regulations Affecting Intrastate Aviation in Alaska

Section 1205 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3213) requires the Administrator, when modifying regulations in Title 14 of the CFR in a manner affecting intrastate aviation in Alaska, to consider the extent to which Alaska is not served by transportation modes other than aviation, and to establish such regulatory distinctions as he or she considers appropriate. Because this proposed rule would apply to the certification of future designs of transport category airplanes and their subsequent operation, it could, if adopted, affect intrastate aviation in Alaska. The FAA therefore specifically requests comments on whether there is justification for applying the proposed rule differently to intrastate operations in Alaska.

Plain Language

In response to the June 1, 1998, Presidential memorandum regarding the issue of plain language, the FAA re-examined the writing style currently used in the development of regulations. The memorandum requires Federal agencies to communicate clearly with the public. We are interested in your comments on whether the style of this document is clear, and in any other suggestions you might have to improve the clarity of FAA communications that affect you. You can get more information about the Presidential memorandum and the plain language initiative at http://www.plainlanguage.gov.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend part 25 of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

Start Part

PART 25—AIRWORTHINESS STANDARDS: TRANSPORT CATEGORY AIRPLANES

1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702 and 44704

End Authority

2. Amend § 25.1423 by republishing the introductory text and revising the text of paragraph (b) to read as follows:

Public address system.

A public address system required by this chapter must—

* * * * *

(b) Be capable of operation within 3-seconds from the time a microphone is removed from its stowage by a flight attendant at those stations in the passenger compartment from which its use is accessible.

* * * * *
Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 8, 2002.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-29668 Filed 11-21-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P