Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ 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 BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. This proposal would require one-time inspections of the inner webs and flanges at frames 15, 18, 41, and 43 for evidence of corrosion or cracking, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is necessary to detect and correct corrosion and cracking of the inner webs and flanges at frames 15, 18, 41, and 43, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by December 15, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-144-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-144-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 British Aerospace Regional Aircraft American Support, 13850 Mclearen Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171. 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 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-144 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-144-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Start Printed Page 64289

Discussion

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is the airworthiness authority for the United Kingdom, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. The CAA advises that cracking has been discovered at the inner webs and flanges at frame 18. Investigation revealed that the cracking is caused by ingress of moisture leading to corrosion, followed by subsequent cracking. Such cracking, if not corrected, could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited has issued Service Bulletin ISB.53-165, dated December 11, 2001, which describes procedures for detailed visual inspections of frames 15, 18, 41, and 43 for evidence of corrosion or cracking. If corrosion or cracking is found, the corrective actions include blending to limits specified in the service bulletin and reprotecting all base metals. If corrosion or cracking exceeds the acceptable limits specified in the service bulletin, operators are instructed to contact the manufacturer. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The CAA classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued British airworthiness directive 004-12-2001 to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the United Kingdom.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in the United Kingdom 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 CAA has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the CAA, 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 AD

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 service bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between Proposed AD and Service Bulletin

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

The service bulletin specifies to submit information to the manufacturer; however, this proposed AD does not include such a requirement.

The service bulletin also specifies compliance time in terms of “years of age” and “time period from first flight” of the airplane; relative to the effective date of the service bulletin. Paragraph (b) of this proposed AD specifies the inspection thresholds in terms of years after the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever is earlier; and relative to the effective date of the proposed AD. This decision is based on our determination that “years of age” and “time period from first flight” may be interpreted differently by different operators. We find that our proposed terminology is generally understood within the industry, and records will always exist that establish these dates with certainty.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 55 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 inspections, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $35,750, 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. A 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:

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited (Formerly British Aerospace Regional Aircraft): Docket 2002-NM-144-AD.

Applicability: Model BAE 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes, certificated in any category; except those airplanes on which either BAe Modification HCM30514A or HCM30514C, and either HCM30514B or HCM30514D, have been accomplished. Start Printed Page 64290

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To detect and correct corrosion and cracking of the inner webs and flanges at frames 15, 18, 41, and 43, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Except as provided by paragraph (c) of this AD: Do a detailed inspection of frames 15, 18, 41, and 43 (including any applicable repair) by accomplishing all actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Service Bulletin ISB.53-165, dated December 11, 2001. Do the inspection at the applicable time specified in 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.”

Compliance Times

(b) Do the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD at the applicable time specified in paragraph D., “Compliance,” of the service bulletin, except where the service bulletin specifies “time period from first flight” or “years of age,” this AD establishes the thresholds in terms of years after the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate or the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever is earlier. Where the service bulletin specifies compliance times relative to the date of the service bulletin, this AD requires compliance times relative to the effective date of this AD.

Corrective Actions

(c) If any discrepancy is found during any inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, before further flight, accomplish the applicable repair in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Service Bulletin ISB.53-165, dated December 11, 2001. If the service bulletin specifies to contact the manufacturer for appropriate action, before further flight, repair per a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Civil Aviation Authority (or its delegated agent).

Submission of Inspection Results Not Required

(d) Although the service bulletin referenced in this AD specifies to submit information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include such a requirement.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(e) 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.

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in British airworthiness directive 004-12-2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 6, 2003.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-28401 Filed 11-12-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P