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Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 Series Airplanes; and C-9 (Military) 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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes, and C-9 (military) airplanes, that requires a one-time visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary. The actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent internal overheating and arcing of circuit breakers and airplane wiring due to long-term use and breakdown of internal components of the circuit breakers, which could result in smoke and fire in the flight compartment and main cabin. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective January 17, 2003.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of January 17, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

The service information referenced in this AD 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, Rules Docket, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elvin Wheeler, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5344; fax (562) 627-5210.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; and C-9 (military) airplanes was published in the Federal Register on June 5, 2001 (66 FR 30101). That action proposed to require a one-time visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary.

Comments

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

The commenter expresses concern that, although the applicability in the proposed AD only specifies Model DC-9 and MD-80 series airplanes, the referenced circuit breakers (manufactured by Wood Electric Corporation or Wood Electric Division of Potter Brumfield Corporation), may be fitted to other FAA type-certificated products or aircraft. The commenter asks for confirmation that this is or is not the case.

We agree that the subject circuit breakers can be installed on other FAA type-certificated products. We previously issued other rulemaking actions that address the commenter's concern. AD 2001-08-16, amendment 39-12193, was issued on April 17, 2001 Start Printed Page 76674(66 FR 20914, April 26, 2001). That AD is applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8 series airplanes and requires a one-time inspection to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary. AD 2000-09-07, amendment 39-11716, was issued on May 3, 2000 (65 FR 30534, May 12, 2000). That AD is applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10-10, -15, -30, -30F, and -40 series airplanes, and KC-10A (military) airplanes. That AD requires a one-time general visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breakers, and corrective action, if necessary. Therefore, no change to the final rule is necessary.

Explanation of Editorial Change

We have changed the service bulletin citation throughout this final rule to exclude the Evaluation Form. (The form is intended to be completed by operators and submitted to the manufacturer to provide input on the quality of the service bulletin; however, this AD does not include such a requirement.)

Conclusion

After careful review of the available data, including the comment noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule with the change previously described. The FAA has determined that this change will neither increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of the AD.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 830 Model DC-9 series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 540 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 80 work hours per airplane to accomplish the inspection of the circuit breakers (over 700 installed on each airplane), and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $2,592,000, or $4,800 per airplane.

The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the 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 adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this 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) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from 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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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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2002-25-04 McDonnell Douglas: Amendment 39-12979. Docket 99-NM-287-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-9-11, DC-9-12, DC-9-13, DC-9-14, DC-9-15, and DC-9-15F airplanes; DC-9-21 airplanes; DC-9-31, DC-9-32, DC-9-32 (VC-9C), DC-9-32F, DC-9-33F, DC-9-34, DC-9-34F, and DC-9-32F (C-9A, C-9B) airplanes; DC-9-41 airplanes; and DC-9-51 airplanes; as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A171, Revision 01, dated September 21, 1999; 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 (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 internal overheating and arcing of circuit breakers and airplane wiring due to long-term use and breakdown of internal components of the circuit breakers, which could result in smoke and fire in the flight compartment and main cabin, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Replacement, if Necessary

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD: Perform a one-time general visual inspection of circuit breakers to determine the manufacturer of the circuit breaker, in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A171, Revision 01, dated September 21, 1999, excluding Evaluation Form.

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 under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or drop-light, 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.”

(1) If no Wood Electric Corporation or Wood Electric Division of Potter Brumfield Corporation circuit breaker is found, no further action is required by this AD.

(2) If any Wood Electric Corporation or Wood Electric Division of Potter Brumfield Corporation circuit breaker is found, prior to further flight, replace the circuit breaker with a new circuit breaker in accordance with the service bulletin.

Spares

(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install, on any airplane, Start Printed Page 76675a circuit breaker having a part number listed in paragraph 1.A.2., “Spares Affected,” of McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A171, Revision 01, dated September 21, 1999, excluding Evaluation Form.

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.

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

(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.

Incorporation by Reference

(e) The actions shall be done in accordance with McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A171, Revision 01, dated September 21, 1999, excluding Evaluation Form. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies 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). Copies may be inspected 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; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Effective Date

(f) This amendment becomes effective on January 17, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 5, 2002.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-31178 Filed 12-12-02; 8:45 am]

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