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Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.Start Printed Page 18909
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 747 series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections for discrepancies of certain areas of the forward and aft sides of the body station 2598 bulkhead, and repair if necessary. This action is necessary to find and fix such discrepancies of the bulkhead structure, which could result in failure of the structure to carry flight loads of the horizontal stabilizer, and consequent loss of controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Comments must be received by June 2, 2003.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-324-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: email@example.com. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-324-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 Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rick Kawaguchi, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6434; fax (425) 917-6590.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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-324-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-324-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
The FAA has received several reports of fatigue cracking in the bulkhead inner chords, outer chords, and diagonal brace attachment fittings on certain Boeing Model 747 series airplanes. The cracks ranged from 0.4 inch to 2.0 inches long and have been found on both the left and right sides of the bulkhead structure. These airplanes had accumulated between 5,982 and 18,487 total flight cycles. In addition, elongated fastener holes have been found in the diagonal brace rods on several airplanes. Such discrepancies of the bulkhead structure, if not found and fixed, could result in failure of the structure to carry flight loads of the horizontal stabilizer, and consequent loss of controllability of the airplane.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, including Evaluation Form, dated July 26, 2001, which describes procedures for repetitive detailed inspections of the body station 2598 bulkhead for discrepancies (cracking, elongated fastener holes) of the lower aft inner chords; upper aft outer chords; and diagonal brace attachment fittings, flanges, and rods and repair of any cracking or elongated fastener holes, if necessary. The service bulletin also specifies contacting Boeing for repair procedures for cracking of the outer chord. 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 This Proposed AD and the Service Information
Although the service bulletin specifies that the manufacturer may be contacted for disposition of certain repair conditions, this proposed AD would require the repair of those conditions to be accomplished in accordance with a method approved by the FAA, or in accordance with data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the FAA to make such findings.
This is considered to be interim action. The manufacturer has advised that it currently is developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, the FAA may consider further rulemaking.
There are approximately 1,147 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 280 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours Start Printed Page 18910per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, 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 $67,200, or $240 per airplane.
The cost impact figure discussed above is 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.
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
- Air transportation
- Aviation safety
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:
2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:
Boeing: Docket 2001-NM-324-AD.
Applicability: Model 747 series airplanes, line numbers 1 through 1307 inclusive, certificated in any category.
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 discrepancies of the bulkhead structure, which could result in failure of the structure to carry flight loads of the horizontal stabilizer, and consequent loss of controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:
(a) Before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles or within 1,000 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later: Do a detailed inspection of the body station 2598 bulkhead for discrepancies (cracking, elongated fastener holes) of the lower aft inner chords; upper aft outer chords; and diagonal brace attachment fittings, flanges, and rods; per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, excluding Evaluation Form, dated July 26, 2001. Repeat the inspection after that at intervals not to exceed 3,000 flight cycles.
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.”
(b) If any discrepancy is found during any inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD: Before further flight, repair per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, excluding Evaluation Form, dated July 26, 2001. If any discrepancy is found and the service bulletin specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair per a method approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA; or per data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make such findings. For a repair method to be approved, the approval must specifically reference 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, Seattle ACO. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Seattle ACO.
Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle ACO.
Special Flight Permit
(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.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 11, 2003.
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 03-9432 Filed 4-16-03; 8:45 am]
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