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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330-301, -321, -322, -341, and -342 Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Airbus Model A330-301, -321, -322, -341, and -342 airplanes. This action requires modifying the rear fuselage to reinforce a certain frame segment. This action is necessary to prevent fatigue cracking of the rear fuselage, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Effective November 3, 2003.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of November 3, 2003.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before November 17, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-NM-353-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-iarcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2001-NM-353-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 for Windows or ASCII text.

The service information referenced in this AD 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; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

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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.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 A330-301, -321, -322, -341, and -342 airplanes. The DGAC advises that, during fatigue testing, after 57,457 simulated flights, a crack initiated and propagated in the rear fuselage on the right-hand side of the airplane in the web of frame 65 at stringer 27, at the first lower rivet row of the cross-beam attach fitting. Such cracking, if not corrected, could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A330-53-3059, Revision 01, dated October 15, 1997. That service bulletin describes procedures for modifying the rear fuselage to reinforce frame 65 in the area of stringer 27 at the first lower rivet row of the cross-beam attach fitting. This modification includes performing rotating probe inspections for cracking of certain fastener holes, reaming certain fastener holes (either as a corrective action if cracking is found in certain areas, or as a follow-on action for uncracked fastener holes), cold-expanding certain fastener holes, replacing certain existing fasteners with improved fasteners, and applying sealant. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2001-496(B), dated October 17, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

This airplane model is manufactured in France and is type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.19) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed Start Printed Page 59712of 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 the Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design that may be registered in the United States at some time in the future, this AD is being issued to prevent fatigue cracking of the rear fuselage, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane. This AD requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between This AD and Service Bulletin

Although the service bulletin specifies that operators may contact the manufacturer for disposition of certain repair conditions, this AD requires operators to repair those conditions per a method approved by either the FAA or the DGAC (or its delegated agent). In light of the type of repair that is required to address the unsafe condition, and consistent with existing bilateral airworthiness agreements, we have determined that, for this AD, a repair approved by either the FAA or the DGAC would be acceptable for compliance with this AD.

Cost Impact

None of the airplanes affected by this action are on the U.S. Register. All airplanes included in the applicability of this rule currently are operated by non-U.S. operators under foreign registry; therefore, they are not directly affected by this AD action. However, the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject airplanes are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.

Should an affected airplane be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 3 work hours to accomplish the required actions, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $120 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be $315 per airplane.

Determination of Rule's Effective Date

Since this AD action does not affect any airplane that is currently on the U.S. register, it has no adverse economic impact and imposes no additional burden on any person. Therefore, prior notice and public procedures hereon are unnecessary and the amendment may be made effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule and was not preceded by notice and opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

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 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 rule that might suggest a need to modify the 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 that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2001-NM-353-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

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.

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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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2003-21-06 Airbus: Amendment 39-13341. Docket 2001-NM-353-AD.

Applicability: Model A330-301, -321, -322, -341, and -342 airplanes; certificated in any category; except those on which Airbus Modification 43761, 44203, or 44052 has been accomplished in production.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent fatigue cracking of the rear fuselage, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Service Bulletin Reference

(a) The following information pertains to the service bulletin referenced in this AD: Start Printed Page 59713

(1) The term “service bulletin” as used in this AD, means the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3059, Revision 01, dated October 15, 1997.

(2) Modifications accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3059, dated June 18, 1996, are acceptable for compliance with this AD.

Modification

(b) Prior to the accumulation of 20,000 total flight cycles, modify the rear fuselage to reinforce frame 65 in the area of stringer 27 at the first lower rivet row of the cross-beam attach fitting (including performing rotating probe inspections for cracking of certain fastener holes; accomplishing any applicable repair; and replacing certain fasteners with new, improved fasteners) by accomplishing all actions specified in paragraphs 2.A. through 2.D. of the service bulletin. Do the actions per the service bulletin, except as required by paragraph (c) of this AD. Any applicable repair must be accomplished prior to further flight.

Repairs

(c) If any crack is found during any inspection required by this AD, and the service bulletin recommends contacting Airbus for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair per a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (or its delegated agent).

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

Incorporation by Reference

(e) Unless otherwise specified in this AD, the actions shall be done in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3059, Revision 01, dated October 15, 1997. 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 Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. 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.

Note 1:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2001-496(B), dated October 17, 2001.

Effective Date

(f) This amendment becomes effective on November 3, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 9, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-26117 Filed 10-16-03; 8:45 am]

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