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Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 727-200 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Boeing Model 727-200 series airplanes, that requires installation of four lanyards on the forward access panel/door. This action is necessary to prevent the forward ceiling access panel/door from falling down and blocking the aisle, which would impede evacuation in an emergency. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective November 13, 2003.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of November 13, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

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 Federal Aviation Administration (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:

Keith Ladderud, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6435; fax (425) 917-6590.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 727-200 series airplanes was published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2003 (68 FR 18569). That action proposed to require installation of four lanyards on the forward access panel/door.

Comments

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

Request To Revise Applicability

The commenter, the manufacturer, requests that the applicability of the proposed AD be revised to include only those airplanes that remain in a passenger configuration and to exclude those certified to permanently fly in a cargo configuration. The commenter also requests that special consideration be given to airplanes that are presently parked (out of service). The commenter states that, of the total number of airplanes affected by the proposed AD and still in flying condition, approximately 50 percent have been converted to a cargo configuration. The commenter adds that there are 20 affected airplanes in active service that Start Printed Page 58272have retained the passenger configuration, which represents 22 percent of the total affected fleet, and that the remaining flyable passenger fleet is presently parked.

The FAA does not agree that the applicability of the AD should be revised. Airplanes that have been modified to fly in a cargo configuration may still be subject to the unsafe condition addressed by this AD. Numerous supplemental type certificates (STC) exist, which, depending on the configuration, may or may not have the forward ceiling access panel/door installed. Airplanes in the cargo configuration, which do have the forward ceiling access panel/door installed are still subject to this AD. However, operators of airplanes in the cargo configuration that do not have the forward ceiling panel/door installed may request that the cargo modification be approved as an alternate method of compliance, as explained in Note 1 of this AD pertaining to altered products. No change to the final rule is necessary in this regard.

We do not agree that special consideration is necessary for airplanes that have been parked. Those airplanes need only comply with the requirements of this AD before they return to service. No change to the final rule is necessary in this regard.

Conclusion

After careful review of the available data, including the comment noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule as proposed.

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.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 100 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 78 airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 1 work hour 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 $5,070, or $65 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.

Regulatory Impact

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 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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2003-20-14 Boeing: Amendment 39-13332. Docket 2003-NM-48-AD.

Applicability: Model 727-200 series airplanes, certificated in any category, as listed in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 727-25-0298, dated February 13, 2003.

Note 1:

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 (b) of this AD. The request should include an assessment of the 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 prevent the forward ceiling access panel/door from falling down and blocking the aisle, which would impede evacuation in an emergency, accomplish the following:

Lanyard Installation

(a) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, install 4 lanyards on the forward ceiling access panel/door, in accordance with Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 727-25-0298, dated February 13, 2003.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(b) 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 Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA. 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.

Note 2:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Seattle ACO.

Special Flight Permits

(c) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR Start Printed Page 5827321.197 and 21.199) to operate the airplane to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

Incorporation by Reference

(d) The actions shall be done in accordance with Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 727-25-0298, dated February 13, 2003. 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.

Effective Date

(e) This amendment becomes effective on November 13, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 2, 2003.

Vi L. Lipski,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-25490 Filed 10-8-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P