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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 B4-600R and A300 F4-600R 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 supersedure of an existing airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Airbus Model A300 B4-600R and A300 F4-600R series airplanes, that currently requires a one-time visual inspection for damage of the center tank fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. That AD also requires repetitive visual inspections of the fuel pumps and repetitive eddy current inspections of the fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. This action would mandate modification of the canisters of the center tank fuel pumps, which would terminate the repetitive inspections required by the existing AD. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent damage to the fuel pump and fuel pump canister, which could result in loss of flame trap capability and could provide a fuel ignition source in the center fuel tank. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by October 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-97-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-97-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 Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tim Backman, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2797; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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. Start Printed Page 53059

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 2002-NM-97-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-97-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

On December 23, 1999, the FAA issued AD 99-27-07, amendment 39-11488 (65 FR 213, January 4, 2000), applicable to all Airbus Model A300 B4-600R and A300 F4-600R series airplanes, to require a one-time visual inspection for damage of the center tank fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. That action also requires repetitive visual inspections of the fuel pumps and repetitive eddy current inspections of the fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. That action also reduces the applicability to include only those airplanes that have a trim tank system installed. That action was prompted by issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The requirements of that AD are intended to detect damage to the fuel pump and fuel pump canister, which could result in loss of flame trap capability and could provide a fuel ignition source in the center fuel tank.

Actions Since Issuance of Previous Rule

Since the issuance of AD 99-27-07, the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, has issued French airworthiness directive 2002-132(B) dated March 20, 2002. The French airworthiness directive continues to require repetitive inspections for damage of the center tank fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters and replacement of any damaged parts, and mandates modification of the canisters of the center tank fuel pumps, which would terminate the repetitive inspections required by AD 99-27-07.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A300-28-6069, Revision 01, dated May 28, 2002, which describes procedures for modification of the canisters of the center tank fuel pumps. The modification includes drilling holes on the doubler for the canister locating pins; installing the locating pins; preparing the fastener holes for electrical bonding; and installing new, improved canisters and canister bonding leads. The service bulletin also describes procedures for an operational test of the center tank fuel pumps after accomplishment of the modification.

Airbus also has issued Service Bulletin A300-28-6061, Revision 04, dated August 1, 2002. The original issue of the service bulletin was referenced in the existing AD for accomplishment of certain inspections and corrective action. Airbus also previously issued Revision 01, dated May 31, 1999; Revision 02, dated October 29, 1999; and Revision 03, dated September 4, 2001. None of these revisions contain substantial changes from the original issue.

The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2002-132(B), dated March 20, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept us informed of the situation described above. We have examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would supersede AD 99-27-07 to continue to require a one-time visual inspection for damage of the center tank fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. The proposed AD also would continue to require repetitive visual inspections for damage of the fuel pumps and repetitive eddy current inspections of the fuel pump canisters, and replacement of damaged fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters with new or serviceable parts. This new action would mandate modification of the canisters of the center tank fuel pumps, which would terminate the repetitive inspections required by the existing AD. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletins described previously.

Changes to 14 CFR Part 39/Effect on the AD

On July 10, 2002, we 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.

Change to Labor Rate Estimate

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.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 84 airplanes of U.S. registry that would be affected by this proposed AD.

The inspections that are required by AD 99-27-07 take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the currently required actions Start Printed Page 53060is estimated to be $130 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The inspections required by AD 99-27-07 were applicable to approximately 67 airplanes. Based on the figures discussed above, the cost impact of the current requirements of that AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $8,710.

In this proposed AD, the inspections are applicable to approximately 17 additional airplanes. Based on the figures discussed above, the new costs to U.S. operators that would be imposed by this proposed AD are estimated to be $2,210.

The new modification proposed in this AD action would take approximately 11 work hours per airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $150 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed modification on U.S. operators is estimated to be $72,660, or $865 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the current or 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.

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 removing amendment 39-11488 (65 FR 213, January 4, 2000), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

Airbus: Docket 2002-NM-97-AD. Supersedes AD 99-27-07, amendment 39-11488.

Applicability: Model A300 B4-600R and A300 F4-600R series airplanes, certificated in any category, on which Airbus Modification 4801 (trim tank system) has been accomplished.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent damage to the fuel pump and fuel pump canister, which could result in loss of flame trap capability and could provide a fuel ignition source in the center fuel tank, accomplish the following:

Restatement of Requirements of AD 99-27-07

Inspections

(a) Prior to the accumulation of 5,000 total hours, time-in-service, or within 250 hours, time-in-service after February 8, 2000 (the effective date of AD 99-27-07, amendment 39-11488), whichever occurs later, perform a detailed inspection for damage of the center tank fuel pumps and fuel pump canisters, in accordance with Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) 28-09, dated November 28, 1998. Repeat the inspection prior to the accumulation of 12,000 total hours time-in-service, or within 250 hours time-in-service after accomplishment of the initial inspection, whichever occurs later. Thereafter, repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 250 hours time-in-service, until accomplishment of the initial inspection required by paragraph (b) of this AD.

Note 1:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed inspection is defined as: “An intensive visual examination of a specific structural area, system, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at intensity deemed appropriate by the inspector. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be used. Surface cleaning and elaborate access procedures may be required.”

(b) At the applicable time specified in paragraph (b)(1), (b)(2), or (b)(3) of this AD: Perform a detailed inspection to detect damage of the center tank fuel pumps and perform an eddy current inspection to detect damage of the fuel pump canisters, in accordance with Airbus Alert Service Bulletin A300-28A6061, dated February 19, 1999; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6061, Revision 04, dated August 1, 2002. Repeat the inspections thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,500 flight cycles, until accomplishment of paragraph (d) of this AD. Accomplishment of the initial inspections required by this paragraph constitutes terminating action for the requirements of paragraph (a) of this AD.

(1) For airplanes that have accumulated 11,000 or more total flight cycles as of February 8, 2000: Inspect within 300 flight cycles after February 8, 2000.

(2) For airplanes that have accumulated 8,500 or more total flight cycles, but fewer than 11,000 total flight cycles, as of February 8, 2000: Inspect within 750 flight cycles after February 8, 2000.

(3) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 8,500 total flight cycles as of February 8, 2000: Inspect prior to the accumulation of 7,000 flight cycles, or within 1,500 flight cycles after February 8, 2000, whichever occurs later.

Corrective Action

(c) If any damage is detected during any inspection required by this AD, prior to further flight, replace the damaged fuel pump or fuel pump canister with a new or serviceable part in accordance with Airbus Alert Service Bulletin A300-28A6061, dated February 19, 1999; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6061, Revision 04, dated August 1, 2002.

Inspections/Corrective Action Accomplished Per Previous Issues of Service Bulletin

(d) Inspections and corrective action accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6061, Revision 01, dated May 31, 1999; Revision 02, dated October 29, 1999; or Revision 03, dated September 4, 2001; are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in this AD.

New Requirements of This AD

Modification

(e) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD: Modify the canisters of the center tank fuel pumps (including an operational test) by doing all the actions per paragraphs 3.A., 3.B., 3.C., and 3.D. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6069, Revision 01, dated May 28, 2002. Accomplishment of this modification ends the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (b) of this AD.

(f) Accomplishment of the modification before the effective date of this AD per Start Printed Page 53061Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6069, dated September 4, 2001, is acceptable for compliance with the modification required by paragraph (d) of this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(g)(1) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, is authorized to approve alternative methods of compliance for this AD.

(2) Alternative methods of compliance, approved previously in accordance with AD 99-27-07, amendment 39-11488, are approved as alternative methods of compliance with the applicable actions in this AD.

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2002-132(B), dated March 20, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 3, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-22891 Filed 9-8-03; 8:45 am]

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