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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-14, DC-9-15, and DC-9-15F Airplanes; Model DC-9-20, -30, -40, and -50 Series Airplanes; and Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), MD-88, and MD-90-30 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.

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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 airplane models. This proposal would require inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat locking pins for minimum engagement with the detent holes in the seat tracks; inspection of the seat lockpins for excessive wear; and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent uncommanded seat movement during takeoff and/or landing, which could result in interference with the operation of the airplane and consequent temporary loss of control of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by January 26, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. FAA-2003-16647, 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. FAA-2003-16647” 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 Services 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cheyenne Del Carmen, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5338; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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-203-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. FAA-2003-16647, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received reports that on three instances the captain's and/or first officer's seat(s) unexpectedly moved full aft during takeoff of certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-41 and DC-9-33RC airplanes. The cause of the uncommanded seat movement has been attributed to marginal engagement between the seat locking pins and the detent holes of the seat track of the captain's and first officer's seat assemblies. This condition, if not corrected, could lead to uncommanded seat movement during takeoff and/or landing, which could result in interference with the operation of the airplane and consequent temporary loss of control of the airplane.

The captain's and first officer's seat assemblies on certain Model DC-9-41 and DC-9-33RC airplanes are identical to those installed on certain Model DC-9-14, DC-9-15, and DC-9-15F airplanes; certain Model DC-9-20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; and certain Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), MD-88, and MD-90-30 airplanes. Therefore, all of these models may be subject to the identified unsafe condition. Start Printed Page 69052

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-25A350, Revision 01, dated June 14, 2002 (for Model DC-9-14, DC-9-15, and DC-9-15F airplanes; Model DC-9-20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; and Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), and MD-88 airplanes); and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD90-25A009, Revision 01, dated July 1, 2002 (for Model MD-90-30 airplanes).

These service bulletins describe procedures for a detailed inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat locking pins for minimum engagement with the detent holes in the seat tracks; a detailed inspection of the seat lockpins for excessive wear; and corrective actions, if necessary. The corrective actions include adjusting/replacing the seat locking pin with a new pin and/or adjusting/repairing/replacing the seat track with a new track, as applicable. Accomplishment of the actions specified in these service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.

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 bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 2,166 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1,355 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD. It would take approximately between 1 and 3 work hours per seat (depending on airplane configuration) to accomplish the proposed inspection. Each airplane has 2 seats (the captain and first officer seats); therefore, it will take approximately between 2 and 6 work hours per airplane (depending on airplane configuration) to accomplish the required inspection, at the average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be between $176,150 and $528,450, or between $130 and $390 per airplane, depending on airplane configuration.

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.

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.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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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:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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]

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

McDonnell Douglas: Docket FAA-2003-16647.

Applicability: This AD applies to the airplanes listed in Table 1 of this AD, certificated in any category:

Table 1.—Applicability

McDonnell Douglas modelAs listed in
DC-9-14, DC-9-15, DC-9-15F, DC-9-21, DC-9-31, DC-9-32, DC-9-32 (VC-9C), DC-9-32F, DC-9-33F, DC-9-34, DC-9-34F, DC-9-32F (C-9A, C-9B), DC-9-41, DC-9-51, DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), and MD-88 airplanesBoeing Alert Service Bulletin DC9-25A350, Revision 01, dated June 14, 2002.
MD-90-30 airplanesBoeing Alert Service Bulletin MD90-25A009, Revision 01, dated July 1, 2002

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent uncommanded seat movement during takeoff and/or landing, which could result in interference with the operation of the airplane and consequent temporary loss of control of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Service Bulletin Reference

(a) The term “service bulletin,” as used in this AD, means the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletins listed in Table 1 of this AD.

Inspection for Engagement and Excessive Wear of the Seat Locking Pins

(b) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD, per the service bulletin.

(1) Do a detailed inspection of the seat locking pin for minimum engagement with Start Printed Page 69053the detent holes in the seat track of the captain's and first officer's seat assemblies.

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.”

(2) Do a detailed inspection of the seat lock pins for excessive wear.

Corrective Actions

(c) If any discrepancy is detected during the inspections required by paragraph (b) of this AD, before further flight, do the corrective action(s), as applicable, per the service bulletin. Those corrective actions include adjusting/replacing the seat locking pin with a new pin and/or adjusting/repairing/replacing the seat track with a new track.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(d) 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 December 4, 2003.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-30674 Filed 12-10-03; 8:45 am]

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