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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Lockheed Model 382G Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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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 Lockheed Model 382G series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive general visual inspections of certain bearings located in the emergency exit door for evidence of excessive wear; and repair of certain bearings, which would terminate the repetitive inspections. These actions are necessary to prevent failure of the latch mechanism, which could result in the inability to open the emergency exit door in an emergency. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by June 13, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-NM-326-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. 2000-NM-326-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 Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Airworthiness Office, Dept. 6A0M, Zone 0252, Column P-58, 86 S. Cobb Drive, Marietta, Georgia 30063. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

William Herderich, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe and Propulsion Branch, ACE-117A, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone (770) 703-6082; fax (770) 703-6097.

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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 2000-NM-326-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. 2000-NM-326-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA received a report from an operator that, during an inspection, an emergency exit door could not be opened on a Lockheed Model 382G series airplane. Further investigation revealed that the latch mechanism failed due to excessive wear of the latch bearings in the door. The excessive wear was caused by steel roll pins rubbing against aluminum bearings and creating grooves, which consequently inhibited the rotation of the tube that retracts the door latches. The same operator also reported that excessive bearing wear was found in nine additional airplanes. Failure of the latch mechanism, if not corrected, could result in the inability to open the emergency exit door in an emergency.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Hercules Service Bulletin 382-52-9, dated July 5, 2000, which describes procedures for repetitive general visual inspections of certain bearings located in the emergency exit door for evidence Start Printed Page 22645of excessive wear (demonstrated by a groove in excess of 0.060 inch deep); and repair of certain bearings, which would terminate the repetitive inspections. The repair procedures include machining the bearing faces so the roll pins will not contact the bearings and cause additional wear. 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.

Differences Between Proposed Rule and Service Bulletin

Operators should note that this proposed AD would require, within 90 days of the effective date of this AD, repair of bearings having P/N 3326653-1 and P/N 3326653-2, as terminating action for the repetitive inspections. The referenced service bulletin specifies the repair as optional. The FAA has determined that long-term continued operational safety will be better assured by removing the source of the problem, rather than by repetitive inspections. Long-term inspection may not be providing the degree of safety assurance necessary for the transport airplane fleet. This, coupled with a better understanding of the human factors associated with numerous continual inspections, has led the FAA to consider placing less emphasis on inspections and more emphasis on repairs. The proposed repair requirement is consistent with these conditions.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 10 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1 airplane of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 16 work hours to accomplish the proposed actions, 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 $9,600, or $960 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.

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:

Lockheed: Docket 2000-NM-326-AD.

Applicability: Model 382G series airplanes, as listed in Hercules Service Bulletin 382-52-9, dated July 5, 2000, 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 failure of the latch mechanism located inside the emergency exit door, which could result in the inability to open the door in an emergency, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD: Perform a general visual inspection of bearings having part numbers (P/N) 3326653-1 and 3326653-2, for evidence of a groove greater than 0.060 inch deep. Perform the inspection per paragraph 2.A. of the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Hercules Service Bulletin 382-52-9, dated July 5, 2000.

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.”

(1) If evidence of a groove greater than 0.060 inch deep is not found: Repeat the inspection at 30-day intervals until accomplishment of the terminating action required by paragraph (b) of this AD.

(2) If evidence of a groove greater than 0.060 inch deep is found: Before further flight, repair the bearings per paragraph (b) of this AD.

Repair

(b) Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD: Repair bearings having P/N 3326653-1 and P/N 3326653-2 per paragraph 2.B. of the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Hercules Service Bulletin 382-52-9, dated July 5, 2000. Accomplishment of this repair terminates the requirements of paragraph (a) of 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, Atlanta Start Printed Page 22646Aircraft 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, Atlanta ACO.

Note 3:

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

Special Flight Permits

(d) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with §§ 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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 23, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-10513 Filed 4-28-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P