Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness Start Printed Page 318directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes. This proposal would require an inspection of the clearance space between the fuel quantity indication (FQI) probes located in the center fuel tank and the adjacent structure; an inspection of the position of the support bracket for each probe; an inspection of the part number for each support bracket; and corrective action if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent the loss of FQI of the center fuel tank, and electrical arcing between the FQI probes and the adjacent structure in the event the airplane is struck by lightning. Such arcing could create a potential ignition source within the center fuel tank and an increased risk of a fuel tank explosion and fire. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by February 3, 2003.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-301-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-301-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 Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056: telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.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-301-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-301-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that it has received reports from operators of loss of fuel quantity indications (FQI) of the center fuel tank. Investigation of the inside of the center fuel tank revealed that the source of the fault was an FQI probe touching the adjacent structure. Further investigation revealed that, during production of these airplanes, the support bracket for FQI probe 38QT had been installed in the position for FQI probe 39QT, and the support bracket for FQI probe 39QT had been installed in the position for FQI probe 38QT, which resulted in inadequate clearance. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in loss of FQI of the center fuel tank, and electrical arcing between the FQI probes and the adjacent structure in the event the airplane is struck by lightning. Such arcing could create a potential ignition source within the center fuel tank and an increased risk of a fuel tank explosion and fire.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-28A1096 including Appendix 01 and Reporting Sheet, all Revision 01, all dated July 4, 2001. The service bulletin describes procedures for an inspection for proper clearance space between the FQI probes located in the center fuel tank and the adjacent structure; an inspection of the position of the support bracket for each probe; an inspection of the part number for each support bracket; and corrective action if necessary. The corrective action includes removal and re-installation of the probe and its support bracket. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2001-271(B), dated June 27, 2001, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.
These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.
Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule
Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified Start Printed Page 319in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.
Differences Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin
Operators should note that, although the Accomplishment Instructions of the referenced service bulletin describe procedures for the completion and submission of an inspection report (Appendix 01 and Reporting Sheet), this proposed AD would not require such reporting.
The FAA estimates that 24 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, 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 $1,440, or $60 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, planning 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:
Airbus: Docket 2001-NM-301-AD.
Applicability: Model A319 and A320 series airplanes, as listed in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28A1096, Revision 01, dated July 4, 2001, certificated in any category; except for those airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28A1096, dated March 23, 2001, or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28A1096, Revision 01, dated July 4, 2001, have been accomplished.
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 loss of fuel quantity indication (FQI) of the center fuel tank, and to reduce the potential for an ignition source and possible explosion within the center fuel tank due to electrical arcing between the FQI probes and the adjacent structure, in the event the airplane is struck by lightning, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 4,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, perform the actions specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this AD per Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28A1096, Revision 01, dated July 4, 2001; excluding Appendix 01 and Reporting Sheet, both Revision 01, both dated July 4, 2001.
(1) Perform a one-time detailed inspection for proper clearance space between each FQI probe located in the center fuel tank and the adjacent structure; and a one-time detailed inspection of the position of the support bracket for each probe.
For the purposes of this AD, a detailed inspection is defined as: “An intensive visual examination of a specific structural area, system, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at intensity deemed appropriate by the inspector. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”
(2) Inspect the support bracket for each probe to determine the part number.
(b) During the inspections required by paragraph (a) of this AD, if the clearance between any FQI probe and the adjacent structure is determined to be less than 6.00 millimeters (0.236 inch), or if the position or part number of any probe support bracket is not correct, before further flight, remove and re-install the probe and its support bracket, per Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28A1096, Revision 01, dated July 4, 2001; excluding Appendix 01 and Reporting Sheet, both Revision 01, both dated July 4, 2001.
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, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.
Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.
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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-271(B), dated June 27, 2001.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 24, 2002.
Charles D. Huber,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 03-25 Filed 1-2-03; 8:45 am]
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