Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and MD-11F 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 McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections of the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank for damage and cracks, and corrective action, if necessary. This action is necessary to detect and correct damage and cracks to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank, which could result in fuel leakage and possible ignition. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by January 12, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-292-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-292-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 Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024). This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Samuel S. Lee, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5338; fax (562) 627-5210.

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-292-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-292-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Start Printed Page 66769

Discussion

The FAA has received reports of cracks and damage to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank on McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 airplanes. The support brackets and clamps for the refuel and fuel transfer lines of the tail fuel tank are being cracked and damaged, resulting in chafing and denting of the transfer pipe assembly. The cause of the cracks and damage is transient pressure surges that are higher than designed for the fuel transfer piping configuration during fuel transfer operations. This condition, if not corrected, could result in damage and cracks to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank, which could result in fuel leakage and possible ignition.

The subject area on certain Model MD-11F airplanes is almost identical to that on the affected Model MD-11 airplanes. Therefore, those MD-11F airplanes may be subject to the unsafe condition revealed on the MD-11 airplanes.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A110, dated May 2, 2000, which describes procedures for performing repetitive inspections of the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank for damage and cracks; and repairing and/or replacing any damaged or cracked part with a serviceable part.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin described previously. Although the service bulletin referenced in the proposed AD specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, the proposed AD does not include such a requirement.

Clarification of Service Bulletin Applicability

The FAA points out that McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11F airplanes are not specifically identified in the service bulletin. However, those airplanes are identified by manufacturer's fuselage numbers in the service bulletin effectivity listing. Therefore, the FAA has revised the applicability in the NPRM to include Model MD-11F airplanes, in addition to Model MD-11 airplanes.

Interim Action

This proposed AD is considered to be interim action. The manufacturer has advised that it currently is developing Service Bulletin MD11-28-111 that will address the unsafe condition addressed by this proposed AD. Once this new service bulletin is developed, approved, and available, the FAA may consider additional rulemaking.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 187 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 60 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, 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 $7,800, or $130 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The cost impact figures discussed above are 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 proposed 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. Manufacturer warranty remedies may be available for labor costs associated with this proposed AD. As a result, the costs attributable to the proposed AD may be less than stated above.

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:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2002-NM-292-AD.

Applicability: Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes, as listed in McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A110, dated May 2, 2000; certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To detect and correct damage and cracks to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank, which could result in fuel leakage and possible ignition, accomplish the following:

Service Bulletin References

(a) The term “service bulletin,” as used in this AD, means the Accomplishment Instructions of McDonnell Douglas Alert Service Bulletin MD11-28A110, dated May 2, 2000. Although the service bulletin referenced in this AD specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include such a requirement.

Initial Inspection

(b) Within 700 flight hours from the effective date of this AD, perform a general visual inspection to detect any damage and cracking on the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank, in accordance with the service bulletin.

Note 1:

For the purposes of this AD, a general visual inspection is defined as: “A visual examination of an interior or exterior area, installation, or assembly to detect obvious damage, failure, or irregularity. This level of inspection is made from within touching distance unless otherwise specified. A mirror may be necessary to enhance visual access to all exposed surfaces in the inspection area. This level of inspection is Start Printed Page 66770made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or droplight and may require removal or opening of access panels or doors. Stands, ladders, or platforms may be required to gain proximity to the area being checked.”

Condition 1 (No Damage/Cracking)

(c) If no damage or cracking to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank is found during the inspection required by paragraph (b) of this AD, repeat that inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 700 flight hours.

Condition 2 (Damage/Cracking Found)

(d) If any damage or cracking to the transfer pipe assembly installation for the tail tank is found during the inspection required by paragraph (b) of this AD, before further flight, repair and/or replace any damaged or cracked part with a serviceable part, per the service bulletin. Repeat that inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 700 flight hours.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(e) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, is authorized to approve alternative methods of compliance for this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 21, 2003.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-29699 Filed 11-26-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P