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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A319 and A320 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.

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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 Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes. This proposal would require modifying the electrical bonding of the fuel return line in each wing between ribs 7 and 8. This action is necessary to reduce the potential for electrical arcing within the fuel tank due to insufficient electrical bonding, which could result in a fire or explosion in the fuel tank. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by March 8, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-278-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-278-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 Airbus, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, Start Printed Page 579531707 Blagnac Cedex, France. 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:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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 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-278-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-278-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that a review of the electrical bonding methods applied on various components in the fuel tank and fuel pipe couplings of these airplane models has revealed that electrical bonding of certain components must be improved. One of these subject components is the fuel return line in each wing between ribs 7 and 8. Insufficient electrical bonding may, in certain conditions such as a lightning strike or static charge accumulation, lead to electrical arcing inside the fuel tank. This condition, if not corrected, could result in a fire or explosion in the fuel tank.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-28-1103, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2003, which describes procedures for improving (modifying) the electrical bonding of the fuel return line in each wing between ribs 7 and 8. The procedures include installing a grounding tag to a certain check valve attachment bolt; installing bonding leads between the check valve, the fuel return line, and the adjacent rib 8; and performing an electrical bonding resistance test. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2002-476(B), dated September 18, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France 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 DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. We have examined the findings of the DGAC, 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 bulletin described previously.

Clarification of Proposed Requirements

The service bulletin describes procedures for an electrical resistance test at each bonding lead but does not explicitly specify corrective actions if this test fails. For clarification, this proposed AD specifies that, if any electrical resistance test of any bonding lead fails, corrective actions involve disassembling the bonding lead, repeating the applicable cleaning procedures, reassembling the bonding lead, and repeating the electrical resistance test per the service bulletin.

Cost Impact

We estimate that 534 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 3 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $100 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $157,530, or $295 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) Start Printed Page 5796is 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:

Airbus: Docket 2002-NM-278-AD.

Applicability: Model A319 and A320 series airplanes, certificated in any category; except those on which Airbus Modification 31888 has been accomplished.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To reduce the potential for electrical arcing within the fuel tank due to insufficient electrical bonding, which could result in a fire or explosion in the fuel tank, accomplish the following:

Modification of Electrical Bonding

(a) Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, modify the electrical bonding of the fuel return line in each wing between ribs 7 and 8, by installing a grounding tag to a certain check valve attachment bolt; installing bonding leads between the check valve, the fuel return line, and the adjacent rib 8; and performing an electrical bonding resistance test; per the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28-1103, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2003. If the electrical resistance test of any bonding lead fails: Before further flight, disassemble the bonding lead, repeat the applicable cleaning procedures, reassemble the bonding lead, and repeat the electrical resistance test per the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin.

Credit for Actions Accomplished Previously

(b) Actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Airbus Service Bulletin A320-28-1103, dated June 14, 2002, are acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions required by paragraph (a) of this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(c) 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 1:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2002-476(B), dated September 18, 2002.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 29, 2004.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-2483 Filed 2-5-04; 8:45 am]

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