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Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, DC-9-20, DC-9-30, DC-9-40, and DC-9-50 Series 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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, DC-9-20, DC-9-30, DC-9-40, and DC-9-50 series airplanes, that requires a one-time inspection at a certain disconnect panel in the left forward cargo compartment to find contamination of electrical connectors and to determine if a dripshield is installed over the disconnect panel, and corrective actions if necessary. The actions specified by this AD are intended to find and fix contamination of certain electrical connectors and prevent future contamination of these connectors, which could cause electrical arcing that could result in a fire on the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective March 7, 2003.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 7, 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 K. 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, DC-9-20, DC-9-30, DC-9-40, and DC-9-50 series airplanes was published in the Federal Register on August 23, 2002 (67 FR 54597). That action proposed to require a one-time inspection at a certain disconnect panel in the left forward cargo compartment to find contamination of electrical connectors and to determine if a dripshield is installed over the disconnect panel, and corrective actions 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 comments received.

Request To Clarify Applicability

One commenter asks that the applicability in the proposed AD be clarified, in that it only applies to airplanes with forward lavatories installed. The commenter notes that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A190, Revision 01, dated November 21, 2001 (which is referenced as the appropriate source of service information for accomplishment of the actions specified in the proposed AD), specifies airplanes that had forward lavatories installed. The commenter adds that such clarification would eliminate the need for an alternative method of compliance for airplanes without a forward lavatory.

The FAA agrees with the commenter. We have changed the applicability section in this final rule to clarify that it applies only to airplanes with forward lavatories installed.

Request To Extend Compliance Time

One commenter asks that the compliance time in the proposed AD be extended from 18 to 24 months after the effective date of the AD. The commenter states that per the 18 month compliance time, 159 airplanes in the DC-9 fleet must be modified during normal “L,” “H,” and “M” maintenance checks. The commenter adds that meeting the 18-month compliance time may require special maintenance visits, and changing the compliance time to 24 months would allow time for accomplishment of the inspection and for the airplane manufacturer to provide parts to support replacement of the dripshield, if necessary, during normal maintenance visits.

We do not agree with the commenter. The commenter provides no technical data to justify its statement that the proposed compliance time should be extended. In developing an appropriate compliance time for this AD, we considered not only the safety implications, but the manufacturer's recommendations, availability of spare parts, and the practical aspect of accomplishing the inspection within an interval of time that parallels normal scheduled maintenance for affected operators. In consideration of all of these factors, we have determined that the compliance time, as proposed, represents an appropriate interval in which the inspection can be Start Printed Page 4901accomplished in a timely manner within the fleet and still maintain an adequate level of safety. However, under the provisions of paragraph (c) of the final rule, we may approve requests for adjustments to the compliance time if data are submitted to substantiate that such an adjustment would provide an acceptable level of safety. No change to the final rule is necessary in this regard.

Request To Change Cost Impact Section

One commenter does not agree with the manpower estimates in the Cost Impact section of the proposed AD. The commenter states that, under the worst conditions, an airplane will have blue water contamination and no dripshield installed. The commenter adds that it will take one sheet metal mechanic 6 hours to install the dripshield and all open/close access requirements; and it will take one electrical technician 8 hours to clean each electrical connector and do affected system checks. The commenter notes that these estimates are based on actual labor done on one of its airplanes. The commenter also provided estimates of the inflated cost of parts ordered with a 300-day lead-time.

From this comment, we infer that the commenter is asking that the cost impact estimate be revised. We do not agree. The economic analysis of the AD is limited only to the cost of actions actually required by the rule. It does not consider the costs of “on condition” actions, such as installation of an electrical connector or a dripshield if discrepancies are found during a required inspection (“corrective actions, if necessary”). Such “on-condition” corrective actions would be required to be accomplished, regardless of AD direction, to correct an unsafe condition identified in an airplane and to ensure operation of that airplane in an airworthy condition, as required by the Federal Aviation Regulations. Therefore, no change to the final rule is necessary in this regard.

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 comments noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule with the changes previously described. The FAA has determined that these changes will neither increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of the AD.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 80 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 51 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the required inspection, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspection on U.S. operators is estimated to be $3,060, or $60 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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2003-03-08 McDonnell Douglas: Amendment 39-13032. Docket 2001-NM-277-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-9-11, DC-9-12, DC-9-13, DC-9-14, DC-9-15, DC-9-15F, DC-9-21, DC-9-31, DC-9-32, DC-9-32 (VC-9C), DC-9-32F, DC-9-32F (C-9A, C-9B), DC-9-33F, DC-9-34, DC-9-34F, DC-9-41, and DC-9-51 airplanes equipped with forward lavatories; as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A190, Revision 01, dated November 21, 2001; 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 find and fix contamination of certain electrical connectors and prevent future contamination of these connectors, which could cause electrical arcing and result in a fire on the airplane, accomplish the following:

One-Time Inspection and Corrective Actions

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, perform a one-time general visual inspection of the disconnect panel at station Y=237.000 in the left forward cargo compartment to find evidence of contamination (e.g., staining or corrosion) of electrical connectors by blue water, and to determine if a dripshield is installed over the Start Printed Page 4902disconnect panel. Do this inspection according to the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A190, Revision 01, excluding Evaluation Form, dated November 21, 2001.

(1) If no evidence of contamination of electrical connectors is found, and a dripshield is installed, no further action is required by this AD.

(2) If any evidence of contamination of any electrical connector is found: Before further flight, remove each affected connector, and install a new or serviceable connector according to the service bulletin.

(3) If no dripshield is installed over the disconnect panel: Before further flight, install a dripshield according to the service bulletin.

Previously Accomplished Inspections and Corrective Actions

(b) Inspections and corrective actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A190, dated July 31, 2001, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding action specified in this AD.

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 2:

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) Unless otherwise specified by this AD, the actions shall be done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-24A190, Revision 01, excluding Evaluation Form, dated November 21, 2001. 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 March 7, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 22, 2003.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-1954 Filed 1-30-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P