Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport Category Airplanes Manufactured by McDonnell Douglas

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 Start Printed Page 8155

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 various transport category airplanes manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. This proposal would require a one-time test of the fire extinguishers for the engine and auxiliary power unit (APU) to determine the capability of the firex electrical circuits to fire discharge cartridges, and troubleshooting actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent failure of the fire extinguishers to fire discharge cartridges, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine or in the APU. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 7, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-77-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. 2001-NM-77-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 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 FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Samuel Lee, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5262; fax (562) 627-5210.

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 2001-NM-77-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-77-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received reports indicating that fire extinguishers for the engine and the auxiliary power unit (APU) had failed to discharge when commanded on a McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-81 airplane and a Model DC-9-33F airplane. In one event, investigation revealed contamination of the circuit breaker contacts. In the other, investigation revealed high resistance of the discharge switch electrical contacts.

This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the firex electrical circuits to fire the discharge cartridges, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine or APU.

Similar Models

The fire extinguisher system on the following airplane models are equipped with firex system fire extinguishers: Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; Model DC-8-50 series airplanes; Model DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; Model DC-8-60 series airplanes; Model DC-8-61F, DC-8-62F, and DC-8-63F airplanes; Model DC-8-70 series airplanes; Model DC-8-71F, DC-8-72F, and Model DC-8-73F airplanes; Model DC-9-10 series airplanes; Model DC-9-20 series airplanes; Model DC-9-30 series airplanes; Model DC-9-40 series airplanes; Model DC-9-50 series airplanes; Model DC-10-10 and DC-10-10F airplanes; Model DC-10-15 airplanes; Model DC-10-30, DC-10-30F (KC10A and KDC-10) airplanes; Model Start Printed Page 8156DC-10-40 and DC-10-40F airplanes; Model MD-10-10F and MD-10-30F airplanes; Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes; Model MD-88 airplanes; and Model MD-90-30 airplanes. Therefore, all of these models may be subject to the same unsafe condition.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved the Boeing and McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletins (ASBs) as applicable to the appropriate airplane models specified in the following table.

McDonnell Douglas Models—As listed in—
Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; DC-8-51, DC-8-52, DC-8-53, and DC-8-55 airplanes; DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; DC-8-61, DC-8-62, and DC-8-63 airplanes; DC-8-61F, DC-8-62F, and DC-8-63F airplanes; DC-8-71, DC-8-72 and DC-8-73 airplanes; DC-8-71F, DC-8-72F, and DC-8-73F airplanesBoeing Alert Service Bulletin DC 8-26A042, including Appendix A and Evaluation Form, dated January 31, 2002.
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; DC-9-51 airplanes; DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), and DC-9-87 (MD-87) airplanes; and MD-88 airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-26A029, Revision 01, including Evaluation Form, dated May 8, 2001.
Model DC-10-10 and DC-10-10F airplanes; DC-10-15 airplanes; DC-10-30 and DC-10-30F (KC10A and KDC-10) airplanes; DC-10-40 and DC-10-40F airplanes; MD-10-10F and MD-10-30F airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service DC10-26A050, including Evaluation Form, dated July 31, 2000.
Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-26A039, Revision 01, including Evaluation Form, dated November 21, 2002.
Model MD-90-30 airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-26A005, including Evaluation Form, dated July 31, 2000.

These ASBs describe procedures for a one-time test of the fire extinguishers for the engines and APU to determine the capability of the firex electrical circuits to fire discharge cartridges. Additionally, the ASBs reference the airplane maintenance manual (AMM) for additional information on troubleshooting procedures in the event any test fails. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the applicable ASB 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, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the ASBs described previously, except that this proposed AD would not require completion of any Evaluation Forms that are attached to the ASBs decribed previously.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 3,311 airplanes of the affected designs in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1,553 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately between 4 work hours and 7 work hours per airplane (depending upon airplane model) to accomplish the proposed actions, 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 between $372,720 and $652,260, or between $240 and $420 per airplane.

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.

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

End List of Subjects

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:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]

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

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-77-AD.

Applicability: This AD applies to the airplanes listed in the following Table of this AD, certificated in any category:

Start Printed Page 8157

Table.—Applicability

McDonnell Douglas Models—As listed in—
Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; DC-8-51, DC-8-52, DC-8-53, and DC-8-55 airplanes; DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; DC-8-61, DC-8-62, and DC-8-63 airplanes; DC-8-61F, DC-8-62F, and DC-8-63F airplanes; DC-8-71, DC-8-72 and DC-8-73 airplanes; DC-8-71F, DC-8-72F, and DC-8-73F airplanesBoeing Alert Service Bulletin DC 8-26A042, including Appendix A and Evaluation Form, dated January 31, 2002
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; DC-9-51 airplanes; DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), and DC-9-87 (MD-87) airplanes; and MD-88 airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin DC9-26A029, Revision 01, including Evaluation Form, dated May 8, 2001.
Model DC-10-10 and DC-10-10F airplanes; DC-10-15 airplanes; DC-10-30 and DC-10-30F (KC10A and KDC-10) airplanes; DC-10-40 and DC-10-40F airplanes; MD-10-10F and MD-10-30F airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service DC10-26A050, including Evaluation Form, dated July 31, 2000.
Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-26A039, Revision 01, including Evaluation Form, dated November 21, 2002
Model MD-90-30 airplanesMcDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD90-26A005, including Evaluation Form, dated July 31, 2000.

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 (b) 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 failure of the engine and auxiliary power unit (APU) fire extinguishers to fire discharge cartridges, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine or in the APU; accomplish the following:

Testing the Firex Electrical Circuits

(a) Within 18 months after the accumulation of 15,000 total flight hours, or within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Test the capability of the electrical circuits of the firex fire extinguishers for the engine and the APU, per the applicable alert service bulletin (ASB) listed in the Applicability Table of this AD. However, this AD does not require completion and submission of any Evaluation Forms attached to those ASBs.

(1) If any electrical circuit of the firex fire extinguishers for the APU does not pass the testing, before further flight, accomplish the troubleshooting procedures specified in the applicable ASB. Dispatch with an inoperative APU is permitted for the amount of time specified in the Minimum Equipment List. Dispatch after that time is not permitted until the circuits are repaired per the Boeing Standard Wiring Practices Manual (SWPM) D6-82481.

(2) If any electrical circuit of the firex fire extinguishers for the engine does not pass the testing, before further flight, accomplish the troubleshooting procedures specified in the applicable ASB and repair per SWPM D6-82481. Dispatch is not permitted until the circuits have been repaired.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(b) 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

(c) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with §§ 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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 12, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-4028 Filed 2-19-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P