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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F 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:

Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY:

This document revises an earlier proposed airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, that would have required an inspection to detect arcing damage of the terminal strips, surrounding structure, and electrical cables in the forward cargo compartment; and repair or replacement of any damaged part with a new part. The proposed AD also would have required modification of the applicable terminal strip installation in the cargo compartment, and replacement of the applicable terminal strips in the cargo compartment with new strips. This new action revises the proposed rule by adding new procedures for certain airplanes; clarifying the applicability; and referencing the latest revision of the service bulletin. The actions specified by this new proposed AD are intended to prevent arcing and consequent damage to the terminal strips and adjacent structure and smoke/fire in the forward cargo compartment. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by August 18, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-52-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-52-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 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 examined 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brett Portwood, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5350; 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-52-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-52-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to add an airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, was published as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on October 5, 2001 (66 FR 50897). That NPRM would have required an inspection to detect arcing damage of the terminal strips, surrounding structure, and electrical cables in the forward cargo compartment; and repair or replacement of any damaged part with a new part. That NPRM also would have required modification of the applicable terminal strip installation in the cargo compartment, and replacement of the applicable terminal strips in the cargo compartment with new strips. That NPRM was prompted by an incident in which arcing occurred between the power feeder cables and terminal strip support brackets. That condition, if not corrected, could result in arcing and consequent damage to the terminal strips and adjacent structure and smoke/fire in the forward cargo compartment.

Comments

Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. Due consideration has been given to the comments received.

Request To Reference Latest Service Bulletin

Two commenters request that the proposed AD be revised to reference Revision 01 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, dated April 24, 2001 (the original issue of the service bulletin was referenced in the NPRM as the appropriate source of service information for accomplishment of the proposed actions). One commenter states that this revision corrects an incorrect part number and part quantity.

The FAA does not agree. Since issuance of the NPRM, the FAA has reviewed and approved Revision 03 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, including Evaluation Form, dated July 25, 2002. This revision constitutes a complete reissue. More work is necessary for Group 2 airplanes changed per prior issues of this service bulletin.

Revision 03 of the service bulletin describes procedures for a general visual inspection to detect arcing damage of the terminal strips, surrounding structure, and electrical cables in the forward cargo compartment; and repair or replacement of the damaged part with a new part. The service bulletin also describes procedures for modification of the applicable terminal strip installation in the cargo compartment (including inspection for damaged cables and repair of any damaged cable) if necessary, and replacement of the applicable terminal strips in the cargo compartment with new strips (including inspection for damaged cables and repair of any damaged cable).

Therefore, we have revised this supplemental NPRM to reference Revision 03 of the service bulletin as the appropriate source of service information for accomplishing the proposed actions. However, although the service bulletin recommends completion and submission of an inspection report and an Evaluation Form that provides input on the quality of the service bulletin to the airplane manufacturer, this proposed AD does not include such requirements.

Request to Revise Cost Impact

One commenter notes that the original NPRM states, “The manufacturer has committed previously to its customers that it will bear the cost of replacement parts.” The commenter states that this is not quite accurate, and that “operators of affected airplanes within the warranty period of April 1, 1995, as specified by their purchase agreement, must submit a no change purchase order.”

From this comment, we infer that the commenter is requesting that the Cost Impact section of the original NPRM be revised. We concur and have revised this supplemental NPRM accordingly.

In addition, we have reviewed the figures we have used over the past several years to calculate AD costs to operators. To account for various inflationary costs in the airline industry, we find it necessary to increase the labor rate used in these calculations from $60 per work hour to $65 per work hour. The cost impact information, below, reflects this increase in the specified hourly labor rate.

Explanation of Change to Applicability

We find that Model MD-11F airplanes were not specifically identified by model name in the applicability of the original NPRM. However, those airplanes are identified by manufacturer's fuselage numbers in the effectivity listing of McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, dated January 31, 2001; and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, Revision 03, dated July 25, 2002. Therefore, we have revised this supplemental NPRM to specifically reference Model MD-11 and -11F Start Printed Page 43685airplanes where appropriate, and have revised the applicability to reference the Revision 03 of the service bulletin. In addition, we have specified model designations in the applicability of this supplemental NPRM as published in the most recent type certificate data sheet for the affected models.

Explanation of Change to Inspection Definition

For clarification purposes, the FAA has revised the definition of a “general visual inspection” in Note 2 of this supplemental NPRM.

Conclusion

Since certain of these changes expand the scope of the originally proposed rule, we have determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment.

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 AD system. This regulation now includes material that relates to altered products, special flight permits, and alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs). Because we have now included this material in part 39, only the office authorized to approve AMOCs is identified in each individual AD. Therefore, in this supplemental NPRM, Note 1 and paragraph (c) of the original NPRM have been removed, and paragraph (b) of the original NPRM has been revised.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 154 Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 59 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately between 1 and 6 work hours per airplane depending on the airplane configuration to accomplish the required actions, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost between $133 and $474 depending on the airplane configuration. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be between $198 and $864 per airplane depending on the airplane configuration.

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 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. The manufacturer may cover the cost of replacement parts associated with this proposed AD, subject to warranty conditions.

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:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2001-NM-52-AD.

Applicability: Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, Revision 03, dated July 25, 2002; certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent arcing and consequent damage to the terminal strips and adjacent structure and smoke/fire in the forward cargo compartment, accomplish the following:

Inspection, Modification, Replacement, and Corrective Actions, if Necessary

(a) For airplanes on which Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, original issue, January 31, 2001; Revision 01, dated April 24, 2001; or Revision 02, dated December 17, 2001, have not been done: Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3) of this AD per the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, excluding the Evaluation Form; both Revision 03, dated July 25, 2002. Although the service bulletin recommends the completion and submission of an Evaluation Form and a reporting requirement (Appendix), such reporting is not required by this AD.

(1) Do a general visual inspection to detect arcing damage of the terminal strips, surrounding structure, and electrical cables in the forward cargo compartment. If any damage is detected, before further flight, repair or replace the damaged part with a new part, per the service bulletin; except if the type of structural material that has been affected is not covered in the Structural Repair Manual (SRM), repair per a method approved by the Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA.

Note 1:

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.”

Note 2:

Where there are differences between the referenced service bulletin and the AD, the AD prevails.

(2) Modify the applicable terminal strip installation in the cargo compartment (including inspection for damaged cables and repair of any damaged cable).

(3) Replace the applicable terminal strips in the cargo compartment with new strips (including inspection for damaged cables and repair of any damaged cable).

(b) For Group 2 airplanes listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, Revision 03, dated July 25, 2002, on which prior revisions of that service bulletin have been done: Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions Start Printed Page 43686specified in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD per the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-24A174, excluding the Evaluation Form; both Revision 03, dated July 25, 2002. Although the service bulletin recommends the completion and submission of an Evaluation Form and a reporting requirement (Appendix), such reporting is not required by this AD.

(1) Do a general visual inspection to detect arcing damage of the terminal strips, surrounding structure, and electrical cables in the forward cargo compartment. If any damage is detected, before further flight, repair or replace the damaged part with a new part, per the service bulletin; except if the type of structural material that has been affected is not covered in the SRM, repair per a method approved by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, FAA.

(2) Replace the applicable terminal strip in the cargo compartment with a new strip (including inspection for damaged cables and repair of any damaged cable).

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 17, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-18791 Filed 7-23-03; 8:45 am]

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