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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 767 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 767 series airplanes. This proposal would require an inspection to detect cracks and fractures of the outboard hinge fitting assemblies on the trailing edge of the inboard main flap, and follow-on and corrective actions if necessary. For certain airplanes, this proposal would also require a one-time inspection to determine if a tool runout procedure has been performed in the area. This action is necessary to prevent the inboard aft flap from separating from the wing and Start Printed Page 519potentially striking the airplane, which could result in damage to the surrounding structure and potential personal injury. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by February 20, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-143-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. 2002-NM-143-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 Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Suzanne Masterson, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2772; fax (425) 227-1181.

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 2002-NM-143-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. 2002-NM-143-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report indicating that, during a routine maintenance inspection, fractured lugs were found on both hinge fittings of the outboard hinge assembly mounted to the inboard main flap on a Boeing Model 767-300 series airplane. That airplane had accumulated 9,598 total flight hours and 5,393 total flight cycles. An optional “tool runout” procedure, which allows the part to be machined thicker and reinforces the area, had not been performed on the fitting assembly that was damaged. No cracks or fractures have been reported on fittings on which the optional tool runout procedure had been performed.

Cracked or fractured hinge fittings, if not corrected, could result in the inboard aft flap separating from the wing and potentially striking the airplane, and consequent damage to the surrounding structure and potential personal injury.

The hinge fittings on Model 767-400ER series airplanes are similar in design to those on Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes. Although the Model 767-400ER fittings are wider and thicker, this area is subject to higher fatigue loads on Model 767-400ER series airplanes. As a result, those fittings could be susceptible to early fatigue cracking or fractures. Therefore, Model 767-400ER series airplanes are also subject to the unsafe condition identified in this proposed AD.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, including Evaluation Form (for Model 767-200, -300, and 300F series airplanes); and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-57A0079, dated June 20, 2002 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes). (Although both service bulletins contain evaluation forms, only Service Bulletin 767-57A0076 states that the evaluation form is “attached.” This proposed AD would not require that any evaluation form be completed and submitted.) The service bulletins describe procedures for a detailed inspection to detect cracks and fractures of the outboard hinge fitting assemblies on the trailing edge of the inboard main flap. Alternatively, the service bulletins provide procedures for performing a combination of a detailed inspection and an eddy current inspection to detect cracks and fractures of the same area. Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes) also describes procedures for determining whether a tool runout procedure has been done in the area, which would eliminate the need for the terminating action and further inspection, provided no cracks or fractures are found. Follow-on and corrective actions include repetitive inspections and a “Terminating Action” that involves replacing the outboard hinge fittings of the trailing edge of the inboard main flap with new fittings. Accomplishment of the detailed and eddy current inspections would extend the interval for the next inspection (if necessary) beyond the interval for the detailed inspection alone. Accomplishment of the “Terminating Action” would eliminate the need for repetitive inspections. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, this proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins Start Printed Page 520described previously, except as discussed below.

Difference Between Proposed AD and Relevant Service Information

Although Service Bulletin 767-57A0076 specifies that the manufacturer may be contacted for instructions for certain corrective actions, this proposed AD would require those corrective actions to be accomplished in accordance with a method approved by the FAA, or in accordance with data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the FAA to make such findings.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 783 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 354 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

It would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed detailed inspection, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this action is estimated to be $120 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

It would take approximately 5 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed detailed visual and eddy current inspections, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of these actions is estimated to be $300 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The cost impact figures discussed above are 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 terminating action, if accomplished, would take approximately 24 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this action is estimated to be $1,440 per airplane.

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:

Boeing: Docket 2002-NM-143-AD.

Applicability: Model 767 series airplanes; certificated in any category, line numbers 1 through 826 inclusive, 830, 842, 855, 856, 859, 862, 864 through 866 inclusive, 868, 869, 870 through 874 inclusive, and 876.

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 (i) 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 inboard aft flap from separating from the wing and potentially striking the airplane, which could result in damage to the surrounding structure and potential personal injury, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Perform either a detailed inspection, or a detailed inspection plus an eddy current inspection, of the outboard hinge fitting assemblies on the trailing edge of the inboard main flap to detect cracks and fractures and evidence of a tool runout procedure, as applicable.

(1) For Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes: Inspect before the airplane accumulates 2,700 total flight cycles, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, in accordance with Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, excluding Evaluation Form.

(2) For Model 767-400ER series airplanes: Inspect before the airplane accumulates 12,000 total flight cycles, in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-57A0079, dated June 20, 2002.

Note 2:

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.”

Follow-on/Corrective Actions

(b) Following the initial inspection(s) required by paragraph (a) of this AD: Perform applicable follow-on and corrective actions at the time(s) specified in Figure 1 of Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, excluding Evaluation Form (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes); or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-57A0079, dated June 20, 2002 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes). Do the follow-on and corrective actions (including repetitive inspections and replacement of the fittings with new fittings) in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of the service bulletin, as applicable, except as required by paragraph (d) of this AD. For Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes: If the fitting has the tool runout, and no cracking or fracture is found during the inspection, this AD requires no further action for that hinge fitting.

Exceptions to Service Bulletin Procedures

(c) Where the terminating action in Part 3 of the service bulletin is specified as corrective action in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, excluding Evaluation Form; and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-57A0079, dated June 20, 2002: This AD requires that the terminating action, if required, be accomplished before further flight. Start Printed Page 521

(d) Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, excluding Evaluation Form, specifies to contact Boeing before the terminating action is done as corrective action for any cracking or fracture found on a Model 767-200, -300, or -300F series airplane with the tool runout. This AD requires that any such crack or fracture on those airplanes be reported to the FAA in accordance with paragraph (e) of this AD and repaired in accordance with Part 3 of the service bulletin.

Reporting Requirement

(e) For any Model 767-200, -300, or -300F series airplane with the tool runout, on which any cracking or fracture is found during the inspection(s) required by paragraph (a) of this AD: Submit a report of the inspection findings to the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, at the applicable time specified in paragraph (e)(1) or (e)(2) of this AD. The report must include the inspection results, a description of any discrepancies found, the airplane serial number, and the number of landings and flight hours on the airplane. Information collection requirements contained in this AD have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

(1) For airplanes on which the initial inspection is done after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after performing the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD.

(2) For airplanes on which the initial inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

Terminating Action

(f) Unless required to do so by paragraph (b) of this AD: Operators may choose to accomplish the terminating action (including replacement of the fittings with new fittings, and reinstallation of existing upper skin access panels and fairing midsections on the trailing edge of the main flap) in accordance with Part 3 of the Work Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, Revision 1, dated March 29, 2001, excluding Evaluation Form; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-57A0079, dated June 20, 2002; as applicable. Accomplishment of the terminating action terminates the repetitive inspection requirements of paragraph (b) of this AD.

Credit for Prior Accomplishment Per Earlier Service Information

(g) Accomplishment before the effective date of this AD of an inspection, associated follow-on and corrective actions, and terminating action in accordance with Boeing Service Bulletin 767-57A0076, dated October 26, 2000, is acceptable for compliance with the corresponding requirements of this AD for applicable airplanes.

Part Installation

(h) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install on any airplane a hinge fitting assembly that has any part number listed in Table 1 of this AD, unless the applicable requirements of this AD have been accomplished for that fitting. Table 1 follows:

Table 1.—Hinge Fitting Assembly Part Numbers

113T2271-13113T2271-14
113T2271-23113T2271-24
113T2271-29113T2271-30
113T2271-33113T2271-34
113T2271-401113T2271-402

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(i) 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, Seattle ACO. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Seattle ACO.

Note 3:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle ACO.

Special Flight Permits

(j) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 21.197 and 21.199 odf 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 December 30, 2002.

Kevin Mullin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-152 Filed 1-3-03; 8:45 am]

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