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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Models PA-23, PA-23-160, PA-23-235, PA-23-250, and PA-E23-250 Airplanes

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

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) that would apply to certain The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. (Piper) Models PA-23, PA-23-160, PA-23-235, PA-23-250, and PA-E23-250 airplanes that do not incorporate a certain design flap control torque tube or torque tube assembly. This proposed AD would require you to repetitively inspect the flap control torque tube for cracks, corrosion, wear, or elongation of the attachment bolt holes (referred to as damage hereon); and would require you to replace any damaged torque tube with either an improved design flap control torque tube or flap control torque tube assembly. The repetitive inspections would no longer be necessary when the improved design torque tube or torque tube assembly is installed. This proposed AD is the result of several reports of damage found in the flap control torque tube on the affected airplanes. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to detect and correct damage to the flap control torque tube, which could result in failure of the flap operating system. If such failure occurred during landing or takeoff, then a split flap condition could occur with potential loss of control of the airplane.

DATES:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive any Start Printed Page 3827comments on this proposed rule on or before March 21, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments to FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-CE-44-AD, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. You may view any comments at this location between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also send comments electronically to the following address: 9-ACE-7-Docket@faa.gov. Comments sent electronically must contain “Docket No. 2002-CE-44-AD” in the subject line. If you send comments electronically as attached electronic files, the files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

You may get service information that applies to this proposed AD from The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Services, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: (561) 567-4361; facsimile: (772) 978-6573. You may also view this information at the Rules Docket at the address above.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hassan Amini, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone: (770) 703-6080; facsimile: (770) 703-6097.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

How Do I Comment On This Proposed AD?

The FAA invites comments on this proposed rule. You may submit whatever written data, views, or arguments you choose. You need to include the rule's docket number and submit your comments to the address specified under the caption ADDRESSES. We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date. We may amend this proposed rule in light of comments received. Factual information that supports your ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of this proposed AD action and determining whether we need to take additional rulemaking action.

Are There Any Specific Portions of This Proposed AD I Should Pay Attention to?

The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed rule that might suggest a need to modify the rule. You may view all comments we receive before and after the closing date of the rule in the Rules Docket. We will file a report in the Rules Docket that summarizes each contact we have with the public that concerns the substantive parts of this proposed AD.

How Can I Be Sure FAA Receives My Comment?

If you want FAA to acknowledge the receipt of your mailed comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. On the postcard, write “Comments to Docket No. 2002-CE-44-AD.” We will date stamp and mail the postcard back to you.

Discussion

What Events Have Caused This Proposed AD?

A review of FAA's service difficulty report (SDR) database shows several incidents of cracks and corrosion in the flap control torque tube on Piper PA-23 series airplanes. One incident of a broken flap control torque tube resulted in a split flap condition during approach.

What Are the Consequences If the Condition Is Not Corrected?

Cracked or corroded flap torque tubes, if not detected and corrected, could result in damage to the flap control torque tube and failure of the flap operating system. If such failure occurred during landing or takeoff, then a split flap condition could occur with potential loss of control of the airplane.

Is There Service Information That Applies to This Subject?

Piper has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 1051B, dated November 5, 2002.

What Are the Provisions of This Service Information?

The service bulletin includes procedures for:

—Inspecting the flap control torque tube for cracks, corrosion, wear, or elongation of the attachment bolt holes; and

—Installing a part number (P/N 17634-002 flap control torque tube; or a P/N 104622-002 or 104622-004 flap control torque tube assembly.

The FAA's Determination and an Explanation of the Provisions of This Proposed AD

What Has FAA Decided?

After examining the circumstances and reviewing all available information related to the incidents described above, we have determined that:

—The unsafe condition referenced in this document exists or could develop on other Models PA-23, PA-23-160, PA-23-235, PA-23-250, and PA-E23-250 airplanes of the same type design that do not incorporate a certain flap control torque tube or torque tube assembly;

—The actions specified in the previously-referenced service information should be accomplished on the affected airplanes; and

—AD action should be taken in order to correct this unsafe condition.

What Would This Proposed AD Require?

This proposed AD would require you to repetitively inspect the flap control torque tube for cracks, corrosion, wear, or elongation of the attachment bolt holes; and would require you to replace any damaged flap control torque tube with either an improved design flap control torque tube or flap control torque tube assembly. The repetitive inspections would no longer be necessary when the improved design flap control torque tube or flap control torque tube assembly is installed.

Cost Impact

How Many Airplanes Would This Proposed AD Impact?

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 3,733 airplanes in the U.S. registry.

What Would Be the Cost Impact of This Proposed AD on Owners/Operators of the Affected Airplanes?

We estimate the following costs to accomplish each proposed inspection:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
8 workhours × $60 per hour = $480None for inspection$480$1,791,840

We estimate the following costs to accomplish any necessary replacement that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection. We have no way of determining the number of airplanes that may need such repair/replacement:Start Printed Page 3828

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplane
4 workhours × $60 per hour = $240$452 per airplane$692

Regulatory Impact

Would This Proposed AD Impact Various Entities?

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 proposed rule would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

Would This Proposed AD Involve a Significant Rule or Regulatory Action?

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed 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) 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 has been placed 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, under 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.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. FAA amends § 39.13 by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD) to read as follows:

The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.: Docket No. 2002-CE-44-AD.

(a) What airplanes are affected by this AD? This AD affects the following airplane models and serial numbers that are certificated in any category and do not incorporate a part number (P/N) 17634-002 flap control torque tube; or a P/N 104622-002 or 104622-004 flap control torque tube assembly:

ModelSerial Nos.
PA-23 and PA-23-16023-1 through 23-2046.
PA-23-23527-505 through 27-622.
PA-23-25027-1 through 27-504 and 27-2000 through 27-8154030.
PA-E23-25027-2505 through 27-4916 and 27-7304917 through 27-7554168.

(b) Who must comply with this AD? Anyone who wishes to operate any of the airplanes identified in paragraph (a) of this AD must comply with this AD.

(c) What problem does this AD address? The actions specified by this AD are intended to detect and correct damage to the flap control torque tube, which could result in failure of the flap operating system. If such failure occurred during landing or takeoff, then a split flap condition could occur with potential loss of control of the airplane.

(d) What actions must I accomplish to address this problem? To address this problem, you must accomplish the following:

ActionsComplianceProcedures
(1) Inspect the flap control torque tube for cracks, corrosion, wear, or elongation of the attachment bolt holes (referred to as damage hereon)Initially inspect upon accumulating 2,500 hours time-in-service (TIS) on the flap control torque tube or within the next 100 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later. Repetitively inspect thereafter at intervals not to exceed 500 hours TIS until one of the parts specified in paragraph (d) of this AD is installedIn accordance with secitons 3 through 10 of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS section of Piper Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 1051B, dated November 5, 2002.
(2) Replace any damage flap control torque tube and replace any wooden end plugs with new plastic end plugs, P/N 17631-002. Replace the flap control torque tubes with either a P/N 17634-002 flap control torque tube or a P/N 104622-002 or 104622-004 flap control torque tube assembly (i) The P/N 17631-002 end plugs are part of the P/N 104622-002 and 104622-004 flap control torque tube assemblies, but must be obtained for the P/N 17634-002 installation. (ii) You do not have to inspect the existing wooden end plugs as specified in the service bulletin since this AD requires the installation of plastic and plugs.Prior to further flight after the inspection where damage is foundIn accordance with sections 3 through 10 of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS section of Piper Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 1051B, dated November 5, 2002.
(3) The repetitive inspections required by this AD may be terminated after installation of a replacement flap control torque tube or flap control torque tube assembly as specified in paragraph (d) of this ADYou may replace the flap control torque tube assembly at any time, but must replace prior to further flight if damage is found during an inspectionIn accordance with sections 3 through 10 of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS section of Piper Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 1051B, dated November 5, 2002.
Start Printed Page 3829
(4) Only install, on any affected airplane, a flap control torque tube or flap control torque tube assembly and end plugs that incorporate the part numbers specified in paragraph (d) of this ADAs of the effective date of this ADIn accordance with sections 3 through 10 of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS section of Piper Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 1051B, dated November 5, 2002.

(e) Can I comply with this AD in any other way? You may use an alternative method of compliance or adjust compliance time if:

(1) Your alternative method of compliance provides an equivalent level of safety; and

(2) The Manager, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, approves your alternative. Submit your request through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office.

Note:

This AD applies to each airplane identified in paragraph (a) of this AD, 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 (e) 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 you have not eliminated the unsafe condition, specific actions you propose to address it.

(f) Where can I get information about any already-approved alternative methods of compliance? Contact Hassan Amini, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone: (770) 703-6080; facsimile: (770) 703-6097.

(g) What if I need to fly the airplane to another location to comply with this AD? The FAA can issue a special flight permit under sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate your airplane to a location where you can accomplish the requirements of this AD.

(h) How do I get copies of the documents referenced in this AD? You may get copies of the documents referenced in this AD from The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Services, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: (561) 567-4361; facsimile: (772) 978-6573. You may view these documents at FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106.

Start Signature

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 15, 2003.

Michael Gallagher,

Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, , Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-1679 Filed 1-24-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P