Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Boeing Model 747 series airplanes, that requires repetitive inspections for discrepancies of certain areas of the forward and aft sides of the body station 2598 bulkhead, and repair if necessary. This action is necessary to find and fix such discrepancies of the bulkhead structure, which could result in failure of the structure to carry flight loads of the horizontal stabilizer, and consequent loss of controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
Effective October 27, 2003.
The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of October 27, 2003.
The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, Rules Docket, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rick Kawaguchi, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6434; fax (425) 917-6590.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an airworthiness directive (AD) Start Printed Page 54991that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 747 series airplanes was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2003 (68 FR 18908). That action proposed to require repetitive inspections for discrepancies of certain areas of the forward and aft sides of the body station 2598 bulkhead, and repair if necessary.
Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. Due consideration has been given to the comments received.
Agreement with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
One commenter states that it agrees with the NPRM and has no further comments.
Request To Specify Approval of Certain Previous Repairs
One commenter requests that additional verbiage be added to paragraph (b) of the NPRM stating that FAA 8110-3 forms that were approved before the issuance of the final rule by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative (DER) who has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) to make such findings, meet the requirements of paragraph (b). The commenter states that it is unnecessary for additional approval to be required for such FAA 8110-3 forms. The commenter notes that the NPRM, as written, would require the operator to resubmit the FAA Form 8110-3 forms for FAA approval, simply because there was no way for a Boeing DER to reference a final rule that has not been issued yet. The commenter points out that previously approved repair and follow-on inspections are no different than the actions specified in the NPRM for the repair and follow-on inspections.
The FAA does not agree. We have determined that such repairs previously approved may not automatically be considered to be approved as alternate methods of compliance (AMOC) for the requirements of this final rule. We, or one of our authorized Boeing DERs, must make a separate determination to confirm that any existing repairs and/or follow-on inspections provide for an acceptable AMOC with the final rule. Such requests for AMOCs should be made in accordance with paragraph (c) of this final rule. No change is necessary to the final rule in this regard.
After careful review of the available data, including the comments noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule as proposed.
This is considered to be interim action until final action is identified, at which time the FAA may consider further rulemaking.
Changes to 14 CFR part 39/Effect on the 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. However, for clarity and consistency in this final rule, we have retained the language of the NPRM regarding that material.
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.
There are approximately 1,147 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 280 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the required actions, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $72,800, or $260 per airplane.
The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the 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 regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.
For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39End List of Subjects
Adoption of the AmendmentStart Amendment Part
Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (End Amendment Part Start Part
PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVESEnd Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part
2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:End Amendment Part
2003-19-08 Boeing: Amendment 39-13311. Docket 2001-NM-324-AD.
Applicability: Model 747 series airplanes, line numbers 1 through 1307 inclusive, certificated in any category.
This AD applies to each airplane identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the requirements of this AD. For airplanes that have been modified, altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is affected, the owner/operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (c) of this AD. The request should include an assessment of Start Printed Page 54992the effect of the modification, alteration, or repair on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD; and, if the unsafe condition has not been eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to address it.
Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.
To find and fix discrepancies of the bulkhead structure, which could result in failure of the structure to carry flight loads of the horizontal stabilizer, and consequent loss of controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:
(a) Before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or within 1,000 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later: Do a detailed inspection of the body station 2598 bulkhead for discrepancies (cracking, elongated fastener holes) of the lower aft inner chords; upper aft outer chords; and diagonal brace attachment fittings, flanges, and rods; per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, dated July 26, 2001. Repeat the inspection after that at intervals not to exceed 3,000 flight cycles.
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) If any discrepancy is found during any inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD: Before further flight, repair per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, dated July 26, 2001. If any discrepancy is found and the service bulletin specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action. Before further flight, repair per a method approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA; or per data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make such findings. For a repair method to be approved, the approval must specifically reference this AD.
Alternative Methods of Compliance
(c) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used if approved by the Manager, Seattle ACO. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, Seattle ACO.
Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle ACO.
Special Flight Permit
(d) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the airplane to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.
Incorporation by Reference
(e) Unless otherwise specified in this AD, the actions shall be done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2467, dated July 26, 2001. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.
(f) This amendment becomes effective on October 27, 2003.Start Signature
Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 12, 2003.
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 03-23829 Filed 9-18-03; 12:01 pm]
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