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Airworthiness Directives; Aerospatiale Model ATR42-500 Series Airplanes, and Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A 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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Aerospatiale Model ATR42-500 series airplanes, and Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A series airplanes, that requires replacement of insulation blankets constructed of metallized polyethyleneteraphthalate (MPET) located from sections 11 through 16 of the fuselage with new insulation blankets constructed of Terul 18TM. This amendment is prompted by reports of in-flight and ground fires on certain airplanes manufactured with insulation blankets constructed of MPET, which may contribute to the spread of a fire when ignition occurs from small ignition sources such as electrical arcing or sparking. The actions specified by this AD are intended to ensure that insulation blankets constructed of MPET are removed from the fuselage. Such insulation blankets could propagate a small fire that is the result of an otherwise harmless electrical arc and could lead to a much larger fire. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective May 27, 2003.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the Start Printed Page 19327regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of May 27, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from Aerospatiale, 316 Route de Bayonne, 31060 Toulouse, Cedex 03, France. 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 Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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 Aerospatiale Model ATR42-500 series airplanes, and Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A series airplanes, was published in the Federal Register on December 13, 2002 (67 FR 76704). That action proposed to require replacement of insulation blankets constructed of metallized polyethyleneteraphthalate (MPET) located from sections 11 through 16 of the fuselage with new insulation blankets constructed of Terul 18TM.

Comments

Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. No comments were submitted in response to the proposal or the FAA's determination of the cost to the public.

Conclusion

The FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule as proposed.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 2 Aerospatiale Model ATR42-500 series airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 500 work hours per airplane to accomplish the required replacement, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts will cost approximately $50,000 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators of Model ATR42-500 series airplanes is estimated to be $160,000, or $80,000 per airplane.

The FAA estimates that 19 Aerospatiale Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A series airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 500 work hours per airplane to accomplish the required replacement, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts will cost approximately $60,000 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators of Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A series airplanes is estimated to be $1,710,000, or $90,000 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are 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.

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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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2003-08-10 Aerospatiale: Amendment 39-13122. Docket 2002-NM-73-AD.

Applicability: Model ATR42-500 series airplanes, and Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, and -212A series airplanes; certificated in any category; except those airplanes on which ATR Modification 5117 or 5322 (reference Avions de Transport Regional Service Bulletin ATR42-25-0134, dated January 24, 2002; or Avions de Transport Regional Service Bulletin ATR72-25-1074, dated January 24, 2002; as applicable) has been installed.

Note 1:

This AD applies to each airplane identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been otherwise 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 ensure that insulation blankets constructed of metallized polyethyleneteraphthalate (MPET) are removed from the fuselage, to prevent propagation of a fire that is the result of an otherwise harmless electrical arc and could lead to a much larger fire, accomplish the following:

Insulation Blanket Replacement

(a) Within 5 years after the effective date of this AD, replace insulation blankets located from sections 11 through 16 inclusive of the fuselage with new, improved insulation blankets constructed of Terul 18TM, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Avions de Transport Regional Service Bulletin ATR42-25-0134 (for Model ATR42-500 series airplanes); or ATR72-25-1074 (for Model ATR72-102, -202, -212, -212A series airplanes); both dated January 24, 2002; as applicable.

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Note 2:

Although paragraph (a) of this AD allows up to 5 years for the required replacement, the FAA encourages operators to review their airplanes to assess their individual needs for materials and plan accordingly. The FAA anticipates that operators will accomplish the requirements of this AD at the earliest practicable maintenance opportunity to lessen the burden toward the end of the compliance time.

Part Installation

(b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install an insulation blanket constructed of MPET on any airplane.

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, 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

(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) The replacement shall be done in accordance with Avions de Transport Regional Service Bulletin ATR42-25-0134, dated January 24, 2002; or Avions de Transport Regional Service Bulletin ATR72-25-1074, dated January 24, 2002; as applicable. 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 Aerospatiale, 316 Route de Bayonne, 31060 Toulouse, Cedex 03, France. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directives 2001-635-061(B) and 2001-636-088(B), both dated December 26, 2001.

Effective Date

(f) This amendment becomes effective on May 27, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 11, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-9431 Filed 4-18-03; 8:45 am]

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