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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-135 and EMB-145 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-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of the nose landing gear wheel nuts and associated inner and outer seals; and reidentification of the landing gear strut. This action is necessary to prevent separation of the wheels from the nose landing gear due to the failure of the outer wheel bearings, and consequent loss of control of the airplane during takeoff and landing. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by February 4, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-165-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-165-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 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.

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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:

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 Start Printed Page 283request 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-165-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-165-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Departamento 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-135 and -145 series airplanes. The DAC advises that it has received reports that the outer wheel bearings of certain nose landing gear wheels have failed. This condition, if not corrected, could result in separation of the wheels from the nose landing gear strut and consequent loss of control of the airplane during takeoff and landing.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

EMBRAER has issued Service Bulletin 145-32-0068, Change 04, dated January 20, 2003; and Service Bulletin 145LEG-32-0006, Change 01, dated January 20, 2003; which describe procedures for replacement of the nose landing gear wheel nuts and the associated inner and outer seals; and reidentification of the landing gear strut. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued Brazilian airworthiness directive 2002-03-01R2, dated April 22, 2003, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in Brazil.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in Brazil 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 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 Rule

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 bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 365 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Required parts would be provided free of charge by the airplane manufacturer. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $23,725, or $65 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.

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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:

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (Embraer): Docket 2002-NM-165-AD.

Applicability: Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes having serial numbers (S/N) 145003 through 145373, 146375, 145377 through 145391 inclusive, and 145393 through 145408 inclusive; certificated in any category; equipped with nose landing gear struts, part number (P/N) 1170C0000-01 (including all modifications), P/N 1170C0000-02, or P/N 1170C0000-03.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent separation of the wheels from the nose landing gear due to the failure of the outer wheel bearings, and consequent loss of control of the airplane during takeoff and landing, accomplish the following:

Replacement and Reidentification

(a) Within 12 months from the effective date of this AD, replace the nose landing gear Start Printed Page 284wheel nuts, P/N 1170-0007, with new wheel nuts, P/N 170-0082; the associated inner and outer seals, P/N 68-1157 or P/N 72-290, with new seals, P/N 68-1498; and reidentify the struts; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0068, Change 04, dated January 20, 2003; or EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145LEG-32-0006, Change 01, dated January 20, 2003; as applicable.

(b) Actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD per EMBRAER Service Bulletins as listed in the following table are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in this AD:

Table—Service Bulletins

EMBRAER Service BulletinChange levelDate
145-32-0068OriginalMay 4, 2001.
145-32-006801January 14, 2002.
145-32-006802April 16, 2002.
145-32-006803November 25, 2002.
145LEG-32-0006OriginalNovember 26, 2002.

Parts Installation

(c) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install nose landing gear wheel nuts, P/N 1170-0007, or the associated inner and outer seals, P/N 68-1157 or P/N 72-290, on any airplane.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(d) 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 1:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Brazilian airworthiness directive 2002-03-01R2, dated April 22, 2003.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 29, 2003.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-47 Filed 1-2-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P