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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R Airplanes, and Model A310-324 and -325 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.

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 certain Airbus Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R airplanes, and Model A310-324 and -325 series airplanes, that are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 series engines. This proposal would require replacement of the existing flexible hose assembly that connects the oil pressure transmitter to the main oil circuit, with a new improved tube assembly. This action is necessary to prevent failure of the oil pressure indicator and low-oil-pressure warning in the event of an engine fire, which could result in an unannounced shutdown of the engine. 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-137-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-137-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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1175; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 Start Printed Page 54873submitted 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-137-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-137-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R airplanes, and Model A310-324 and -325 series airplanes, that are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 series engines. The DGAC advises that the flexible hose assembly that connects the oil pressure transmitter to the main oil circuit on Pratt & Whitney PW4000 series engines is not compliant with requirements for fireproofing. An oil line in this location should have zero-flow fireproofing, but the flexible hose assembly currently installed provides only low-flow fireproofing. This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the oil pressure indicator and low-oil-pressure warning in the event of an engine fire, which could result in an unannounced shutdown of the engine.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A300-79-6003 (for Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R airplanes) and A310-79-2004 (for Model A310-324 and -325 series airplanes), both dated January 31, 2002. Those service bulletins describe procedures for replacement of the existing flexible hose assembly that connects the oil pressure transmitter to the main oil circuit, with a new improved tube assembly. Among other benefits, the new improved tube assembly meets zero-flow fireproofing requirements. The service bulletins also describe procedures for performing a test of the engine oil system after the replacement, which includes testing the tube and connectors of the new improved tube assembly for a leak or a loose connection. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the applicable service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2002-173(B), dated April 3, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

The Airbus service bulletins refer to Pratt & Whitney Alert Service Bulletin PW4NAC A79-21, dated October 15, 2001, as an additional source of service information for the replacement of the flexible hose assembly with a new improved tube assembly.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 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 the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has 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 require accomplishment of the actions specified in the applicable Airbus service bulletin described previously.

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.

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

The FAA estimates that 139 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 10 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Required parts would be provided by the manufacturer at no charge. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $90,350, or $650 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 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. Start Printed Page 54874A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

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:

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

Airbus: Docket 2002-NM-137-AD.

Applicability: Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R airplanes, and Model A310-324 and -325 series airplanes, equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 series engines; certificated in any category; except those on which Airbus Modification 12468 has been accomplished in production.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent failure of the oil pressure indicator and low-oil-pressure warning in the event of an engine fire, which could result in an unannounced shutdown of the engine, accomplish the following:

Replacement

(a) Within 8 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the existing flexible hose assembly, part number (P/N) 113286, that connects the oil pressure transmitter to the main oil circuit, with a new improved tube assembly, P/N 221-5318-501. Before further flight after the replacement, perform a test of the engine oil system. Do these actions according to the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD, as applicable.

(1) For Model A300 B4-622R and A300 F4-622R airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A300-79-6003, dated January 31, 2002.

(2) For Model A310-324 and -325 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A310-79-2004, dated January 31, 2002.

Note 1:

Airbus Service Bulletins A300-79-6003 and A310-79-2004 refer to Pratt & Whitney Alert Service Bulletin PW4NAC A79-21, dated October 15, 2001, as an additional source of service information for the replacement required by this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2002-173(B), dated April 3, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 10, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-23935 Filed 9-18-03; 8:45 am]

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