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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 767 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 all Boeing Model 767 series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections and tests for discrepancies of the drainage system of the canted pressure deck located in the wheel wells of the main landing gear (MLG) of the left and right wings, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent ice accumulation on the lateral flight control cables due to water entering the wheel well of the MLG and freezing, which could restrict or jam control cable movement, resulting in loss of controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by June 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-342-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-342-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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Suzanne Masterson, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6441; fax (425) 917-6590.

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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-342-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-342-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received several reports of debris blocking the drainage system for the canted pressure deck area on Model 767 series airplanes, which may cause water accumulation in the canted pressure deck located in the wheel wells of the main landing gear (MLG) of the left and right wings. Such accumulation of water has caused excessive corrosion of the upper skin and the rear spar of the wing center section. Cabin pressurization would cause the accumulated water to enter the wheel well of the MLG and solidify during flight. Such ice accumulation could restrict or jam control cable movement, resulting in loss of controllability of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletins 767-51A0023 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes), and 767-51A0024 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes), both including Evaluation Form, both dated September 27, 2001; which describe procedures for repetitive inspections and tests for discrepancies of the drainage system of the canted pressure deck located in the wheel wells of the MLG of the left and right wings, and corrective actions if necessary.

  • Work Package 1 describes procedures for a test, which includes a visual inspection of the external drains, reducer, and drain lines for discrepancies. The discrepancies include damage, holes, signs of frozen water, and signs of blockage (3 to 5 pounds per square inch (psi) compressed air is sent through the drain hose to check for blockage). The corrective actions include cleaning the drain system to remove blockage, and Start Printed Page 20088replacing any damaged drain line with a new drain line.
  • Work Package 2 describes procedures for repetitive inspections for discrepancies and cleaning of the drainage system of the canted pressure deck, as specified in the Boeing 767 Airplane Maintenance Manual.
  • Work Package 3 describes procedures for repetitive inspections of the canted pressure deck for discrepancies (loose or missing fasteners; loose, missing, or cracked sealant; and leak paths). The corrective actions include replacing any loose or missing fastener, replacing loose, missing, or cracked sealant; and repairing any leak found.

Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins 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 bulletins described previously, except that the proposed AD does not require completing the Evaluation Forms, and except as discussed below.

Difference Between This Proposed AD and Service Bulletins

The service bulletins do not provide an initial compliance time for accomplishing the actions, but this proposed AD would require that those actions be accomplished at the following times:

  • For Work Package 1, the compliance time is the later of the following: Within 18 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness (whichever occurs first); or within 18 months after the effective date of this AD.
  • For Work Package 2, the compliance time is the later of the following: Within 36 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness (whichever occurs first); or within 36 months after the effective date of this AD.
  • For Work Package 1, the compliance time is the later of the following: Within 54 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness (whichever occurs first); or within 54 months after the effective date of this AD.

In developing an appropriate compliance time for this proposed AD, we considered not only the manufacturer's recommendation, but also the degree of urgency associated with addressing the unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the actions. In light of all of these factors, we find the compliance times specified previously for completing the required actions to be warranted, in that they represent an appropriate interval of time allowable for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 814 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 345 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

It would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection/test of the drainage system specified in Work Package 1 of the service bulletins, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspection/test proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $20,700, or $60 per airplane, per cycle.

It would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection/cleaning specified in Work Package 2 of the service bulletins, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspection/cleaning proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $82,800, or $240 per airplane, per cycle.

It would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection specified in Work Package 3 of the service bulletins, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the inspection proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $41,400, or $120 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

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:

Boeing: Docket 2001-NM-342-AD.

Applicability: All Model 767 series airplanes; 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 (e) of this AD. Start Printed Page 20089The 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 ice accumulation on the lateral flight control cables due to water entering the wheel well of the main landing gear and freezing, which could restrict or jam control cable movement, resulting in loss of controllability of the airplane; accomplish the following:

Repetitive Inspections/Tests of the Drainage System/Corrective Actions

(a) At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this AD: Do a general visual inspection of the external drains, reducer, and drain lines for discrepancies (including include damage, holes, signs of frozen water, and signs of blockage), per Work Package 1 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0023 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0024 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes), both excluding Evaluation Form, both dated September 27, 2001; as applicable. Repeat the test after that at least every 18 months.

(1) Within 18 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever occurs first.

(2) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD.

(b) At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD: Clean the cavity for the canted pressure deck and do a general visual inspection of the drainage system for discrepancies per Work Package 2 of the Work Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0023 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0024 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes), both excluding Evaluation Form, both dated September 27, 2001; as applicable. Repeat the cleaning and inspection after that at least every 36 months.

(1) Within 36 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever occurs first.

(2) Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD.

(c) If any discrepancy is found during any inspection or test required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this AD, before further flight, repair per the Work Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0023 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0024 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes), both excluding Evaluation Form, both dated September 27, 2001; as applicable.

Repetitive Inspections of the Canted Pressure Deck/Corrective Action

(d) At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this AD: Do a general visual inspection of the canted pressure deck for discrepancies (including loose or missing fasteners; loose, missing, or cracked sealant; and leak paths), per Work Package 3 of the Work Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0023 (for Model 767-200, -300, and -300F series airplanes), or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-51A0024 (for Model 767-400ER series airplanes), both excluding Evaluation Form, both dated September 27, 2001; as applicable. If any discrepancy is found, before further flight, repair (including replacing any loose or missing fastener or loose, missing, or cracked sealant; and repairing any leak found) per the applicable service bulletin. Repeat the inspection after that at least every 54 months.

(1) Within 54 months since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever occurs first.

(2) Within 54 months after the effective date of this AD.

Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a general visual inspection is defined as: “A visual examination of an interior or exterior area, installation, or assembly to detect obvious damage, failure, or irregularity. This level of inspection is made from within touching distance unless otherwise specified. A mirror may be necessary to enhance visual access to all exposed surfaces in the inspection area. This level of inspection is made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or droplight and may require removal or opening of access panels or doors. Stands, ladders, or platforms may be required to gain proximity to the area being checked.”

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, Seattle 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, Seattle ACO.

Note 3:

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

(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.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 18, 2003.

Michael J. Kaszycki,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-10117 Filed 4-23-03; 8:45 am]

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