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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model 717-200 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.

Start Preamble

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 McDonnell Douglas Model 717-200 airplanes. This proposal would require revising the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate new removal limits for certain components of the flap system and to reduce the interval of inspections for fatigue cracking of certain principal structural elements (PSEs). This action is necessary to detect and correct fatigue cracking of certain safe-life structure and certain PSEs, which could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by July 21, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-325-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-325-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 or 2000 or ASCII text.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024). This information may be Start Printed Page 33419examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Maureen Moreland, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5238; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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-325-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-325-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

As service experience is accumulated on airplanes or as the result of post-certification testing and evaluation, it may become necessary to revise removal limits for removal of certain life-limited components of the airplane or revise the interval for certain structural inspections in order to ensure the continued structural integrity of the airplane. The manufacturer may revise the Airworthiness Limitations document to include more restrictive life limits or revise repetitive intervals for certain non-destructive inspection (NDI) techniques and procedures for each principal structural element (PSE). For the purposes of this airworthiness directive, a PSE is defined as an element of structure that contributes significantly to carrying flight, ground, and pressurization loads. If a failure occurs on any of those PSEs, it could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

Boeing has completed analyses of certain safe-life structure on Model 717-200 airplanes. The results of these analyses indicate that removal limits of certain components of the flap system must be revised. Additionally, new data also indicate that the interval for inspections to detect fatigue cracking for certain PSEs also must be revised.

The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to detect fatigue cracking of certain safe-life structure and certain PSEs and to require removal of certain safe-life structure in a timely manner. Such fatigue cracking, if not detected and corrected, could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing 717-200 Airworthiness Limitations Instructions (ALI), Boeing Report Number MDC-96K9063, Revision 3, dated August 2002. Among other things, Revision 3 contains mandatory removal limits for certain components of the flap system and revises some intervals for inspections for fatigue cracking of certain PSEs. Additionally, Revision 3 corrects certain part numbers specified in an earlier ALI revision, adds some flap idler hinge parts to the PSE removal limits, and corrects some typographical errors that appeared in an earlier ALI revision. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the ALI 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 operators to revise the Boeing 717-200 ALI to incorporate Boeing Report Number MDC-96K9063, Revision 3, dated August 2002.

Changes to 14 CFR Part 39/Effect on the Proposed AD

On July 10, 2002, the FAA issued a new version of 14 CFR part 39 (67 FR 47997, July 22, 2002), which governs the FAA's airworthiness directives system. The regulation now includes material that relates to special flight permits and alternative methods of compliance. Because we have now included this material in part 39, we no longer need to include it in each individual AD.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 133 Model 717-200 series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 108 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane 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 $6,480, or $60 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.Start Printed Page 33420

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:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-325-AD.

Applicability: All Model 717-200 airplanes, certificated in any category.

Note 1:

This AD requires revisions to certain operator maintenance documents to include new inspections. Compliance with these inspections is required by 14 CFR 91.403(c). For airplanes that have been previously modified, altered, or repaired in the areas addressed by these inspections, the operator may not be able to accomplish the inspections described in the revisions. In this situation, to comply with 14 CFR 91.403(c), the operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (c) of this AD. The request should include a description of changes to the required inspections that will ensure the continued damage tolerance of the affected structure. The FAA has provided guidance for this determination in Advisory Circular (AC) 25-1529.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To detect and correct fatigue cracking of certain safe-life structure and certain principal structural elements, which could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane; accomplish the following:

Revising Airworthiness Limitations Section

(a) Within 180 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, Airworthiness Limitations Instructions (ALI), in accordance with Boeing Report No. MDC-96K9063, Revision 3, dated August 2002.

(b) Except as provided by paragraph (c) of this AD: After the actions specified in paragraph (a) of this AD have been accomplished, no alternative inspection intervals or removal times may be approved for the safe-life limited parts specified in Boeing Report No. MDC-96K9063, Revision 3, dated August 2002.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(c) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, is authorized to approve alternative methods of compliance for this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on May 28, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-13978 Filed 6-3-03; 8:45 am]

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