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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 737-200 Series Airplanes Modified by Supplemental Type Certificate ST00516AT

Document Details

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 737-200 series airplanes modified by Supplemental Type Certificate ST00516AT (STC). This proposal would require removal of the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system installed per that STC. This action is necessary to eliminate the possibility that the airplane crew could be unable to remove power from the IFE system during a non-normal or emergency situation, which could result in the airplane crew's inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by October 20, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-238-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. 2002-NM-238-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 Kosola and Associates, Inc., 5601 Newton Road, P.O. Box 3529, Albany, Georgia 31706. 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:

Myles Jalalian, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Flight Test Branch, ACE-116A, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, One Crown Center, 1895 Phoenix Boulevard, suite 450, Atlanta, Georgia 30349; telephone (770) 703-6073; 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 Start Printed Page 52540statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2002-NM-238-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. 2002-NM-238-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently completed a review of in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems certified by supplemental type certificate (STC) and installed on transport category airplanes. The review focused on the interface between the IFE system and airplane electrical system, with the objective of determining if any unsafe conditions exist with regard to the interface. STCs issued between 1992 and 2000 were considered for the review.

The type of IFE systems considered for review were those that contain video monitors (cathode ray tubes or liquid crystal displays; either hanging above the aisle or mounted on individual seat backs or seat trays), or complex circuitry (i.e., power supplies, electronic distribution boxes, extensive wire routing, relatively high power consumption, multiple layers of circuit protection, etc.). In addition, in-seat power supply systems that provide power to more than 20 percent of the total passenger seats were also considered for the review. The types of IFE systems not considered for review include systems that provide only audio signals to each passenger seat, ordinary in-flight telephone systems (e.g., one telephone handset per group of seats or bulkhead-mounted telephones), systems that only have a video monitor on the forward bulkhead(s) (or a projection system) to provide passengers with basic airplane and flight information, and in-seat power supply systems that provide power to less than 20 percent of the total passenger seats.

Items considered during the review include the following:

  • Can the electrical bus(es) supplying power to the IFE system be de-energized when necessary without removing power from systems that may be required for continued safe flight and landing?
  • Can IFE system power be removed when required without pulling IFE system circuit breakers (i.e., is there a switch (dedicated to the IFE system or a combination of loads) located in the flight deck or cabin that can be used to remove IFE power?)?
  • If the IFE system requires changes to flightcrew procedures, has the airplane flight manual (AFM) been properly amended?
  • If the IFE system requires changes to cabin crew procedures, have they been properly amended?
  • Does the IFE system require periodic or special maintenance?

In all, we reviewed approximately 180 IFE systems approved by STC. The review results indicate that potential unsafe conditions exist on some IFE systems installed on various transport category airplanes. These conditions can be summarized as:

  • Electrical bus(es) supplying power to the IFE system cannot be de-energized when necessary without removing power from systems that may be required for continued safe flight and landing.
  • Power cannot be removed from the IFE system when required without pulling IFE system circuit breakers (i.e., there is no switch dedicated to the IFE system or combination of systems for the purpose of removing power).
  • Installation of the IFE system has affected crew (flightcrew and/or cabin crew) procedures, but the procedures have not been properly revised.

FAA's Determination

As part of our review of IFE systems, we have determined that an unsafe condition exists on all Boeing Model 737-200 series airplanes modified by STC ST00516AT. The IFE system on these airplanes is connected to an electrical bus that cannot be deactivated without also removing power from airplane systems necessary for safe flight and landing. There is no other means to remove power from the IFE system. Additionally, the airplane manufacturer's published flightcrew and cabin crew emergency procedures do not advise that power cannot be removed from the IFE system. This condition, if not corrected, could result in the airplane crew's inability to remove power from the IFE system during a non-normal or emergency situation, and consequent inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Kosola and Associates Service Bulletin 2002-1, dated July 16, 2003, which describes a procedure for removing the IFE system installed by STC ST00516AT. The procedure includes disconnecting the power line that leads from the IFE system control unit to the P6 panel, capping and stowing all related wiring or removing that wiring from the airplane, removing the IFE system circuit breaker from the P6 panel, and removing all components of the IFE system from the airplane. 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.

Other Relevant Rulemaking

The FAA has previously issued several ADs that address unsafe conditions and require corrective actions similar to those that would be required by the proposed AD. These other ADs, and the airplane models and STCs to which they apply, are as follows:

Model/seriesSTC No.AD reference
Airbus A340-211ST0902AC-DAD 2001-18-01, amendment 39-12427 (66 FR 46939, September 10, 2001).
Boeing 737-300ST00171SEAD 2001-14-10, amendment 39-12321 (66 FR 36455, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 737-700ST09100AC-D, ST09104AC-D, ST09105AC-D, ST09106AC-DAD 2001-14-12, amendment 39-12323 (66 FR 36452, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 747-100 and -200SA8622SWAD 2001-14-11, amendment 39-12322 (66 FR 36453, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 747-100 and -200ST00196SEAD 2001-16-19, amendment 39-12388 (66 FR 43068, August 17, 2001).
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Boeing 747-400SA8843SWAD 2001-14-15, amendment 12326 (66 FR 36447, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 747SPST09097AC-DAD 2001-14-14, amendment 39-12325 (66 FR 36449, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 757-200SA1727GLAD 2001-14-01, amendment 39-12311 (66 FR 36149, July 11, 2001).
Boeing 767-200SA4998NMAD 2001-16-21, amendment 39-12390 (66 FR 43072, August 17, 2001).
Boeing 767-200SA5134NMAD 2001-16-20, amendment 39-12389 (66 FR 43066, August 17, 2001).
Boeing 767-200ST09022AC-DAD 2001-14-13, amendment 39-12324 (66 FR 36450, July 12, 2001).
Boeing 767-300SA5765NM, SA5978NMAD 2001-16-17, amendment 39-12386 (66 FR 42937, August 16, 2001).
Boeing 767-300SA7019NM-DAD 2001-18-08, amendment 39-12434 (66 FR 46517, September 6, 2001).
Boeing 767-300ST00118SEAD 2001-14-04, amendment 39-12314 (66 FR 36699, July 13, 2001).
Boeing 767-300ST00157SEAD 2001-16-18, amendment 39-12387 (66 FR 43070, August 17, 2001).
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 and DC-9-83SA8026NMAD 2001-14-02, amendment 39-12312 (66 FR 36456, July 12, 2001).
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30SA8452SWAD 2001-16-22, amendment 39-12391 (66 FR 43074, August 17, 2001).
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ST00054SEAD 2001-13-03, amendment 39-12313 (66 FR 36150, July 11, 2001).
Boeing 767-300ST01869AT-DAD 2002-26-14, amendment 39-13002 (68 FR 1525, January 13, 2003).
Boeing 767-300STC01783AT-DAD 2003-07-15, amendment 39-13111 (68 FR 18535, April 16, 2003).

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 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.

Explanation of Cost Impact

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, has been revised to reflect this increase in the specified hourly labor rate.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 4 Model 737-200 series airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 2 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 $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $130, or $65 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:

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Boeing: Docket 2002-NM-238-AD.

Applicability: Model 737-200 series airplanes modified by Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST00516AT, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To eliminate the possibility that the airplane crew could be unable to remove power from the IFE system during a non-normal or emergency situation, which could result in the airplane crew's inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin, accomplish the following:

Removal of IFE System

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, remove the IFE system installed by STC ST00516AT per the procedure in Kosola and Associates Service Bulletin 2002-1, dated July 16, 2003. The procedure includes disconnecting the power line that leads from the IFE system control unit to the P6 panel, capping and stowing all related wiring or removing related wiring from the airplane, removing the IFE system circuit breaker from the P6 panel, and removing all components of the IFE system from the airplane.

Inspections Accomplished Per Previous Issue of Service Bulletin

(b) Removal of the IFE system installed by STC ST00516AT before the effective date of this AD per Kosola and Associates Service Bulletin 2002-1, dated June 5, 2002, is considered acceptable for compliance with paragraph (a) of this AD.

Parts Installation

(c) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install an IFE system approved by STC ST00516AT on any airplane.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 27, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-22496 Filed 9-3-03; 8:45 am]

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