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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Raytheon Model Beech 400A and 400T Series Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 Raytheon Model Beech 400A and 400T series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of the low-pressure oxygen tubing located in the forward fuselage (nose avionics bay), lower forward flight deck, and lower forward cabin areas, as applicable, with new low-pressure oxygen tubing. This action is necessary to prevent leakage of oxygen from scored low-pressure oxygen tubing, which could result in lack of available oxygen for the flightcrew, or possible explosion or fire. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 10, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-335-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-335-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 Raytheon Aircraft Company, Department 62, P.O. Box 85, Wichita, Kansas 67201-0085. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David Ostrodka, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Propulsion Branch, ACE-118W, FAA, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas 67209; telephone (316) 946-4129; fax (316) 946-4407.

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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-335-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-335-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report indicating that, during production, damaged low-pressure oxygen tubing was found on eight Raytheon Model Beech 400A airplanes. The damage was created during tubing installation when a knife used to remove portions of the heat shrink protective sleeving scored the tubing. The sleeving was removed to provide adequate electrical bonding/grounding surfaces for the electrical bonding/grounding jumper assemblies. Leakage of oxygen from scored low-pressure oxygen tubing could result in lack of available oxygen for the flightcrew, or possible explosion or fire.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Raytheon Service Bulletin SB 35-3406, dated March 2001, which describes procedures for replacing low-pressure oxygen tubing with new low-pressure oxygen tubing. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin 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 service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Difference Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin

The proposed AD would differ from the Raytheon service bulletin in that, for Raytheon Model Beech 400T series airplanes, the proposed AD would specify a compliance time of within 200 flight hours or 1 year from the effective date of the AD, whichever occurs first. The Raytheon service bulletin states that compliance time information for Model Beech 400T airplanes should be obtained from “the appropriate headquarters.” The FAA conducted a durability evaluation of the tubing material and concluded that, although the calculated stress remained below the endurance limit of the material, the vibratory nature of the installation was unknown. The conclusion was that a compliance time of within 200 flight hours or 1 year from the effective date of this AD would be a conservative estimate for the proposed replacement. The compliance time coincided with the next scheduled inspection for the majority of affected operators, providing minimal impact to the operators. Start Printed Page 8564Operators should note that this compliance time for Model Beech 400T series airplanes is equivalent to the compliance time specified in the Raytheon service bulletin for the affected Raytheon Model Beech 400A series airplanes.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 34 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 27 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 25 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed replacement, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $1,052 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $68,904, or $2,552 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.

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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:

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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:

Raytheon Aircraft Company (formerly Beech): Docket 2001-NM-335-AD.

Applicability: Model Beech 400A series airplanes, serial numbers RK-232 through RK-265 inclusive; and Model Beech 400T series airplane, serial number TX-10; 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 prevent leakage of oxygen from scored low-pressure oxygen tubing, which could result in lack of available oxygen for the flightcrew, possible explosion, or fire, accomplish the following:

Replacement of Oxygen Tubing

(a) For Model 400A series airplanes: Within 200 flight hours or 1 year from the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace the low-pressure oxygen tubing located in the forward fuselage (nose avionics bay), lower forward flight deck, and lower forward cabin areas, as applicable, with new low-pressure oxygen tubing, per Part I of the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Raytheon Service Bulletin SB 35-3406, dated March 2001.

(b) For Model 400T airplanes: Within 200 flight hours or 1 year from the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace the low-pressure oxygen tubing located in the forward fuselage (nose avionics bay), lower forward flight deck, and lower forward cabin areas, as applicable, with new low-pressure oxygen tubing, per Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Raytheon Service Bulletin SB 35-3406, dated March 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, Wichita 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, Wichita ACO.

Note 2:

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

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 14, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-4234 Filed 2-21-03; 8:45 am]

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