Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-120 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 EMBRAER Model EMB-120 series airplanes. This proposal would require a one-time inspection for signs of overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; the side slip sensors; and the current sensors. This proposal also would require follow-on actions. This action is necessary to prevent overheating of cockpit wiring, which could result in loss of operation of the affected systems, or smoke or fire in the cockpit. 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. FAA-2003-16645, 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-2003-16645” 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 Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER), P.O. Box 343—CEP 12.225, Sao Jose dos Campos—SP, Brazil. 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 FAA-2003-16645.” 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-2003-16645, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Departmento de Aviacao Civil (DAC), which is the airworthiness authority for Brazil, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain EMBRAER Model EMB-120 series airplanes. The DAC advises that there have been several reports of an electrical burning odor in the cockpit. These occurrences have been attributed to overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; left- and right-hand angle-of-attack sensors; side slip sensors; and current sensors. This overheating is caused by concentration of heat from components located next to each other. This condition, if not corrected, could result in overheating of cockpit wiring, which could result in loss of operation of the affected systems, or smoke or fire in the cockpit.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

EMBRAER has issued Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, Change 01, dated November 28, 2000. Part I of the Accomplishment Instructions of that service bulletin describes procedures for a one-time visual inspection for signs of overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; the side slip sensors; and the current sensors. Signs of overheating include discoloration on the electrical wires, terminations, or splices. Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin describes procedures for follow-on actions, including replacing certain wires and relays and eliminating or relocating splices in the wiring of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; the side slip Start Printed Page 69056sensors; and the current sensors. Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin contains instructions specifically intended for airplanes that have been inspected and modified per the original issue of the service bulletin, dated January 31, 2000. For airplanes on which Part I of the Accomplishment Instructions of the original issue of the service bulletin has been accomplished, but Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of the original issue of the service bulletin has not been accomplished, Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Change 01 of the service bulletin describes procedures for a one-time detailed inspection for signs of overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; and the side slip sensor located at the circuit breaker panel. For airplanes on which Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of the original issue of the service bulletin has been accomplished, Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Change 01 of the service bulletin describes procedures for installing new identifications.

Accomplishment of the applicable actions specified in Change 01 of the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued Brazilian airworthiness directive 2001-06-02, dated June 26, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in Brazil.

FAA's Conclusions

This airplane model is manufactured in Brazil and is type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DAC, 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.

Difference Between Proposed AD and Referenced Service Bulletin

The service bulletin refers only to a “visual inspection” to detect signs of overheating of the subject wiring splices. We have determined that the procedures in the service bulletin should be described as a “detailed inspection.” Note 1 has been included in this proposed AD to define this type of inspection.

Difference Between Proposed AD and Brazilian Airworthiness Directive

This proposed AD would differ from the parallel Brazilian airworthiness directive in that this proposed AD provides for accomplishment of Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Change 01 of the service bulletin on airplanes inspected or modified previously per the original issue of the service bulletin. The Brazilian airworthiness directive does not refer to Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Change 01 of the service bulletin.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 250 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 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 $65,000, or $260 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:

Empresa Brasileira De Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket FAA-2003-16645.

Applicability: Model EMB-120 series airplanes, certificated in any category; serial numbers 120004, and 120006 through 120352 inclusive.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent overheating of cockpit wiring, which could result in loss of operation of the affected systems, or smoke or fire in the cockpit, accomplish the following:

Airplanes Not Inspected/Modified Previously: One-Time Detailed Inspection

(a) For airplanes on which neither Part I nor Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, dated January 31, 2000, was accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD: Within 400 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, do a one-time detailed inspection for signs of overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; the side slip sensors; and the current sensors, per Part I of the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, Change 01, dated November 28, 2000. Signs of overheating include Start Printed Page 69057discoloration on the electrical wires, terminations, or splices.

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.”

Airplanes Inspected or Modified Previously: Follow-on Actions

(b) For airplanes on which Part I of the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, dated January 31, 2000, but not Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of that service bulletin, was accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD: Within 400 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, do a one-time detailed inspection for signs of overheating of wiring splices of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; and the side slip sensor located at the circuit breaker panel; per Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Embraer Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, Change 01, dated November 28, 2000.

(c) For airplanes on which Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, dated January 31, 2000, was accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD: Within 400 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, install new identifications by doing all actions in paragraphs 2.4.2. of Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Embraer Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, Change 01, dated November 28, 2000.

Follow-On Actions

(d) For all airplanes subject to paragraph (a) or (b) of this AD: At the applicable compliance time specified in paragraph (d)(1) or (d)(2) of this AD, replace wires and relays with new wires and relays; and eliminate or relocate splices in the wiring of the pitot/static 1, 2, and auxiliary sensors; the angle-of-attack sensors; the side slip sensors; and the current sensors; as applicable; by doing all actions in paragraphs 2.3.1 through 2.3.23 of Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-30-0030, Change 01, dated November 28, 2000.

(1) If no sign of overheating is found during any inspection per paragraph (a) or (b) of this AD: Do the actions in paragraph (d) of this AD within 2,000 flight hours after the inspection.

(2) If any sign of overheating is found during any inspection per paragraph (a) or (b) of this AD: Do the actions in paragraph (d) of this AD before further flight after the inspection.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

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

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Brazilian airworthiness directive 2001-06-02, dated June 26, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 4, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-30676 Filed 12-10-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P