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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-135 and -145 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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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 EMBRAER Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes. This proposal would require operators to inspect the pitot-true air temperature (TAT) relays and the full authority digital engine control (FADEC) electronic interface resistor modules to detect contamination; perform corrective action if necessary; clean the relay/connector pins and sockets; modify the seal between the cockpit console panels and the storm window; and/or install a new protective frame (protective sheets) at the cockpit relay supports. This action is necessary to detect and correct oxidation of the pitot-TAT relay, which could result in increased resistance and overheating of the relay and consequent smoke in the cockpit; and to detect and correct oxidation of the FADEC electronic interface resistor modules, which could result in in-flight uncommanded engine power roll back to idle. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by March 31, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-336-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-336-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 Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER), P.O. Box 343—CEP 12.225, Sao Jose dos Campos—SP, Brazil. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert D. Breneman, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1263; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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 2002-NM-336-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-336-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Departmento de Aviacao Civil (DAC), which is the airworthiness authority for Brazil, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain EMBRAER Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes. The DAC reports several occurrences of smoke in the cockpit during flight, due to oxidation in the pitot-true air temperature (TAT) #2 relay caused by water leakage from the storm window located above the relay console. This condition, if not corrected, could result in increased resistance and overheating of the relay and consequent smoke in the cockpit.

In addition, the DAC reports a related incident in which oxidation at the connections of the full authority digital engine control (FADEC) interface resistor modules caused an in-flight uncommanded engine power back to idle. The oxidation was caused by water leakage from the storm window located above the console panel. This condition, if not corrected, could result in in-flight uncommanded engine power roll back to idle.

The cockpit design on Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes is identical; therefore, both airplane models are subject to the identified unsafe condition.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The manufacturer has issued EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001, which describes procedures for inspecting the pitot-TAT relays to detect contamination; cleaning the relay pins and sockets; replacing any contaminated relay, relay socket, or relay socket contact with a new part; modifying the seal between the cockpit console panels and the storm window; and installing new protective sheets at the relay supports.

The manufacturer has also issued EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-76-Start Printed Page 96080003, dated April 22, 2002, which describes procedures for inspecting the FADEC electronic interface resistor modules to detect contamination (including moisture and corrosion). Corrective actions include cleaning the resistor modules and the electrical connector pins and replacing the modules and/or their electrical connectors with new parts.

Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued Brazilian airworthiness directives 2001-05-01R1, dated February 6, 2002, and 2002-10-03, dated October 24, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in Brazil.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in Brazil and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Clarification of Inspection Type

Whereas the service bulletins specify that operators “visually inspect” (for contamination), this proposed AD would require a “detailed inspection.” The FAA has determined that the procedures as described in the service bulletins constitute a detailed inspection. Note 2 has been included in this proposed AD to define this type of inspection.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 261 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD. The FAA provides the following cost estimates to accomplish the proposed actions:

ActionWork hours per airplaneAverage hourly labor rateParts cost per airplaneCost per airplane
Inspect the pitot-TAT relay1$60$0$60
Inspect the FADEC resistor modules2600120
Seal the lateral console panels and install protective sheets360660840

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

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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.

End Authority
[Amended]

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

Empresa Brasileira De Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket 2002-NM-336-AD.

Applicability: Model EMB-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes, certificated in any category, as listed in EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001.

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 (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 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 detect and correct oxidation of the pitot-true air temperature (TAT) relay, which could result in increased resistance and overheating of the relay and consequent smoke in the cockpit; and to detect and correct oxidation of the full authority digital engine control (FADEC) electronic interface resistor modules, which could result in in-flight uncommanded engine power roll back to idle; accomplish the following:

Inspection and Cleaning of Pitot-TAT Relays

(a) For airplanes identified in paragraph 1.A.(1) (“PART I”) of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001: Within 400 flight hours Start Printed Page 9609after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed inspection to detect contamination of the pitot-TAT relays and clean the relay/connector pins and sockets, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions (“PART I”) of the service bulletin. If any contamination remains after cleaning: Prior to further flight, replace each contaminated relay, relay socket, and relay socket contact with a new part, in accordance with the service bulletin.

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.”

Inspection of FADEC Interface Resistor Modules

(b) For airplanes identified in paragraph 1.A.(3) (“PART III”) of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001: Within 400 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed inspection to detect contamination (including moisture and corrosion) of the left- and right-hand FADEC electronic interface resistor modules, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-76-0003, dated April 22, 2002. Then do the applicable corrective actions specified in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD.

(1) If any contamination is found during the inspection: Before further flight, clean the resistor modules and/or their respective electrical connector pins, in accordance with Service Bulletin 145-76-0003, dated April 22, 2002.

(2) If any contamination remains after cleaning the modules and pins as specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the modules and connectors with new parts, as applicable, in accordance with Service Bulletin 145-76-0003, dated April 22, 2002.

(3) Following accomplishment of any corrective action specified in paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this AD: Before further flight, perform the ohmic resistance test of the left- and right-hand FADEC electronic interface resistor modules, and accomplish applicable troubleshooting procedures, in accordance with Service Bulletin 145-76-0003, dated April 22, 2002.

Console Panel Sealing

(c) For airplanes identified in paragraph 1.A.(2) (“PART II”) of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001: Before further flight following accomplishment of the requirements of paragraph (a) of this AD, modify the seal between the cockpit console panels and the storm window by applying PVC foam adhesive tape and sealant, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions (“PART II”) of the service bulletin.

Protective Sheet Installation

(d) For airplanes identified in paragraph 1.A.(3) (“PART III”) of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-30-0032, Change 02, dated December 3, 2001: Before further flight following accomplishment of the requirements of paragraph (b) of this AD, install new protective sheets at the relay supports in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions (“PART III”) of the service bulletin.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(e) 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, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.

Note 3:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.

Special Flight Permits

(f) 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.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Brazilian airworthiness directives 2001-05-01R1, dated February 6, 2002, and 2002-10-03, dated October 24, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 21, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-4738 Filed 2-27-03; 8:45 am]

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