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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Models PA-31, PA-31-300, PA-31-325, PA-31-350, PA-31P, PA-31T, PA-31T1, PA-31T2, PA-31T3, and PA-31P-350 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 to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) that would apply to all The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. (Piper) Models PA-31, PA-31-300, PA-31-325, PA-31-350, PA-31P, PA-31T, PA-31T1, PA-31T2, PA-31T3, and PA-31P-350 airplanes. This proposed AD would require you to install an inspection hole, conduct a detailed visual inspection of the rudder torque tube and associated ribs for corrosion, and, if corrosion is found, replace the rib/rudder torque tube assembly. This proposed AD is the result of reports of rudder tube corrosion. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to detect and correct corrosion in the rudder torque tube assembly and rudder rib, which could result in failure of the rudder torque tube. Such failure could lead to loss of rudder control.

DATES:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive any comments on this proposed rule on or before August 11, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments to FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-CE-03-AD, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. You may view any comments at this location between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also send comments electronically to the following address: 9-ACE-7-Docket@faa.gov. Comments sent electronically must contain “Docket No. 2003-CE-03-AD” in the subject line. If you send comments electronically as attached electronic files, the files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

You may get service information that applies to this proposed AD from The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Services, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: (772) 567-4361; facsimile: (772) 978-6584. You may also view this information at the Rules Docket at the address above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

William O. Herderich, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone: (770) 703-6082; facsimile: (770) 703-6097.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

How Do I Comment on This Proposed AD?

The FAA invites comments on this proposed rule. You may submit whatever written data, views, or arguments you choose. You need to include the proposed rule's docket number and submit your comments to the address specified under the caption “ADDRESSES.” We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date. We may amend this proposed rule in light of comments received. Factual information that supports your ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of this proposed AD action and determining whether we need to take additional rulemaking action.

Are There Any Specific Portions of This Proposed AD I Should Pay Attention To?

The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed rule that might suggest a need to modify the rule. You may view all comments we receive before and after the closing date of the proposed rule in the Rules Docket. We will file a report in the Rules Docket that summarizes each contact we have with the public that concerns the substantive parts of this proposed AD.

How Can I Be Sure FAA Receives My Comment?

If you want FAA to acknowledge the receipt of your mailed comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. On the postcard, write “Comments to Docket No. 2003-CE-03-AD.” We will date stamp and mail the postcard back to you.

Discussion

What Events Have Caused This Proposed AD?

The FAA has received several reports of rudder tube and rib corrosion on Piper PA-31 Series airplanes. The area surrounding the rudder torque tube assembly and rudder rib does not have a means or access to inspect in this area Start Printed Page 33031and neither means nor exits for water to drain out.

What Are the Consequences if the Condition Is Not Corrected?

Corrosion in the rudder torque tube assembly and rudder rib could result in failure of the rudder torque tube. Such failure could lead to loss of rudder control.

Is There Service Information That Applies to This Subject?

Piper has issued Service Bulletin No. 1105, dated September 4, 2002.

What Are the Provisions of This Service Information?

The service bulletin includes procedures for:

—Installing an inspection hole in the rudder skin;

—Performing an inspection for corrosion; and

—Installing/repairing with the rib/rudder torque tube assembly replacement kit.

The FAA's Determination and an Explanation of the Provisions of This Proposed AD

What Has FAA Decided?

After examining the circumstances and reviewing all available information related to the incidents described above, we have determined that:

—the unsafe condition referenced in this document exists or could develop on other Models PA-31, PA-31-300, PA-31-325, PA-31-350, PA-31P, PA-31T, PA-31T1, PA-31T2, PA-31T3, and PA-31P-350 of the same type design;

—the actions specified in the previously-referenced service information should be accomplished on the affected airplanes; and

—AD action should be taken in order to correct this unsafe condition.

What Would This Proposed AD Require?

This proposed AD would require you to incorporate the actions in the previously-referenced service bulletin.

How Does the Revision to 14 CFR Part 39 Affect This Proposed AD?

On July 10, 2002, FAA published a new version of 14 CFR part 39 (67 FR 47997, July 22, 2002), which governs FAA's AD system. This regulation now includes material that relates to special flight permits, alternative methods of compliance, and altered products. This material previously was included in each individual AD. Since this material is included in 14 CFR part 39, we will not include it in future AD actions.

Cost Impact

How Many Airplanes Would This Proposed AD Impact?

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 2,269 airplanes in the U.S. registry.

What Would Be the Cost Impact of This Proposed AD on Owners/Operators of the Affected Airplanes?

We estimate the following costs to accomplish this proposed installation of inspection and drain holes and inspection of torque tube and associated ribs for corrosion:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
3 workhours × $60 per hour = $180$10.$190.2,269 × $190 = $431,110.

We estimate the following costs to accomplish any necessary corrosion repairs/replacements of the rib/torque tube assembly that would be required based on the results of this proposed inspection. We have no way of determining the number of airplanes that may need such repair/replacement:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplane
16 workhours × $60 per hour = $960$800.$1,760.

Regulatory Impact

Would This Proposed AD Impact Various Entities?

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 proposed rule would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

Would This Proposed AD Involve a Significant Rule or Regulatory Action?

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed 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) 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 has been placed 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, under 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. FAA amends § 39.13 by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD) to read as follows:

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The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.: Docket No. 2003-CE-03-AD.

(a) What airplanes are affected by this AD? This AD affects the following airplane models and serial numbers that are certificated in any category:

ModelSerial Nos.
PA-31, PA-31-300, PA-31-32531-2 through 31-8312019.
PA-31-35031-5001 through 31-8553002.
PA-31P31P-1 through 31P-7730012.
PA-31P-35031P-8414001 through 31P-8414050.
PA-31T31T-7400001 through 31T-8120104.
PA-31T131T-7804001 through 31T-1104017.
PA-31T231T-8166001 through 31T-1166008.
PA-31T331T-8275001 through 31T-5575001.

(b) Who must comply with this AD? Anyone who wishes to operate any of the airplanes identified in paragraph (a) of this AD must comply with this AD.

(c) What problem does this AD address? The actions specified by this AD are intended to detect and correct corrosion in the rudder torque tube assembly and rudder rib, which could result in failure of the rudder torque tube. Such failure could lead to loss of rudder control.

(d) What actions must I accomplish to address this problem? To address this problem, you must accomplish the following:

ActionsComplianceProcedures
(1) Install an inspection hole in the rudder skin for the rudder torque tube assemblyWithin the next 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective date of this AD, unless already accomplishedIn accordance with The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1105, dated September 4, 2002.
(2) Visually inspect the rudder torque tube and associated ribs for corrosionPrior to further flight after the installation required in paragraph (d)(1) of this AD and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 calendar monthsIn accordance with The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1105, dated September 4, 2002.
(3) If corrosion damage is found, replace the rib/rudder torque tube assemblyPrior to further flight after any inspection required in paragraph (d)(2) of this AD where corrosion damage is foundIn accordance with The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1105, dated September 4, 2002.

(e) Can I comply with this AD in any other way? To use an alternative method of compliance or adjust the compliance time, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Send these requests to the Manager, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACO). For information on any already approved alternative methods of compliance, contact William O. Herderich, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone: (770) 703-6082; facsimile: (770) 703-6097.

(f) How do I get copies of the documents referenced in this AD? You may get copies of the documents referenced in this AD from The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Services, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: ( 772) 567-4361; facsimile: (772) 978-6584. You may view these documents at FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106.

Start Signature

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 27, 2003.

David R. Showers,

Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-13792 Filed 6-2-03; 8:45 am]

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