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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 Series Airplanes; Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), -82 (MD-82), -83 (MD-83), and -87 (MD-87) Airplanes; and Model MD-88 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 Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), -82 (MD-82), -83 (MD-83), and -87 (MD-87) airplanes; and Model MD-88 airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections and functional tests of the static port heater assemblies, an inspection of the static port heaters and insulators, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent an electrical short of the static port heater from sparking and igniting the insulation blanket adjacent to the static port heater, which could result in smoke and/or fire in the cabin area. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 22, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-NM-198-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. 2003-NM-198-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 Airplanes, 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elvin Wheeler, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5344; 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 2003-NM-198-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. 2003-NM-198-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

As part of its practice of re-examining all aspects of the service experience of a particular aircraft whenever an accident occurs, the FAA has received the results of studies, done by Boeing, on the wiring of the static port heaters found on McDonnell Douglas Model Start Printed Page 10637DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), -82 (MD-82), -83 (MD-83), and -87 (MD-87) airplanes; and Model MD-88 airplanes. The results revealed that the wiring of the static port heater assembly may be damaged. This condition, if not corrected, could result in an electrical short of the static port heater and consequent sparking and ignition of the insulation blanket adjacent to the static port heater, which could result in smoke and/or fire in the cabin area.

The static port heater on McDonnell Douglas Model MD-90-30 airplanes are identical to those on the affected Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; Model DC-9-81, -82, -83, and -87 airplanes; and Model MD-88 airplanes. Therefore, all of these models are subject to the same unsafe condition.

Other Related Rulemaking

The FAA is planning to address the identified unsafe condition of McDonnell Douglas Model MD-90-30 airplanes in a separate rulemaking action.

The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model DC-9 series airplanes, has reviewed all aspects of the service history of those airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and to take appropriate corrective actions. This proposed airworthiness directive (AD) is one of a series of corrective actions identified during that process. We have previously issued several other ADs and may consider further rulemaking actions to address the remaining identified unsafe conditions.

On May 16, 2001, the FAA issued AD 2001-10-10, amendment 39-12236 (66 FR 28643, May 24, 2001), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-81, -82, -83, and -87 series airplanes, and Model MD-88 airplanes to require an inspection of the wiring of the primary and alternate static port heaters for chafing, loose connections, and evidence of arcing, and to determine what type of insulation blanket is installed in the area of the static port heaters; and corrective actions, if necessary. That action was prompted by an in-flight incident of smoke in the cabin on a McDonnell Douglas Model MD-88 airplane. The requirements of that AD are intended to ensure that insulation blankets constructed of metallized MylarTM are removed or protected from the area of the static port heater. This proposed AD does not affect the requirements of AD 2001-10-10.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Service Bulletin Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-30-097, Revision 01, dated January 24, 2003, which describes procedures for a general visual inspection of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies for wire damage; a functional test of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies; and replacement of the static port heater assembly with a new or serviceable static port heater assembly. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletin 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 bulletin described previously.

Differences Between Service Bulletin and Proposed AD

Operators should note that while the service bulletin specifies a one-time general visual inspection and functional test of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies, this proposed AD would also require repeating the general visual inspection and functional test of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies every 48 months. In developing an appropriate inspection/test times for this AD, we considered the degree of urgency associated with the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the inspection (1 hour). In light of all of these factors, we find that a repetitive interval of 48 months represents an appropriate interval of time for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety.

In addition to the actions specified in the service bulletin, this proposed AD would require a general visual inspection of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater and insulator for proper installation. The MD-80 Airplane Maintenance Manual (AMM) 34-11-00 previously contained incorrect information for stacking of the heater and insulator. Boeing has since revised the AMM to correct the error and has informed operators of the error. One operator investigated and found several heaters that were incorrectly stacked. An incorrectly stacked heater will cause higher than normal operating temperature locally in the blanket, which would lead to quicker deterioration and aging of the rubber, causing it to crack and lead to electrical shorting or arcing. To detect and correct this condition on Model DC-9-10, -20, -30, -40, and -50 series airplanes; Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), -82 (MD-82), -83 (MD-83), and -87 (MD-87) airplanes; and Model MD-88 airplanes, we added the inspection for proper installation, per the MD-80 AMM 30-32-00, to the proposed AD.

The additional actions have been coordinated and concurred with by the manufacturer.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 1,836 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 1,125 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

It would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed general visual inspection for wire damage and functional test, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed inspection for wire damage and functional test on U.S. operators is estimated to be $73,125, or $65 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

It would also take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed general visual inspection for proper installation, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed inspection for proper installation on U.S. operators is estimated to be $73,125, or $65 per airplane.

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 Start Printed Page 10638various 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:

Start Authority

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 2003-NM-198-AD.

Applicability: McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-11, DC-9-12, DC-9-13, 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), and DC-9-87 (MD-87) airplanes, and Model MD-88 airplanes; as listed in Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-30-097, Revision 01, dated January 24, 2003; certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent an electrical short of the static port heater from sparking and igniting the insulation blanket adjacent to the static port heater, which could result in smoke and/or fire in the cabin area, accomplish the following:

Service Bulletin References

(a) The term “service bulletin,” as used in this AD, means the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-30-097, Revision 01, dated January 24, 2003.

Inspection and Functional Test

(b) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD. Repeat the actions in paragraph (b)(1) of this AD thereafter at intervals not to exceed 48 months.

(1) Perform a general visual inspection of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies for wire damage; and a functional test of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater assemblies; 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 made 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.”

(2) Perform a general visual inspection of the left and right primary and alternate static port heater and insulator for proper installation per Airplane Maintenance Manual (AMM) 30-32-00. Before further flight, correct any improper installation per AMM 30-32-00.

Wire Damage or Heater Failures

(c) If wire damage is found and/or the heater assembly fails the functional test, during the general visual inspection and functional test required by paragraph (b)(1) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the damaged or inoperative static port heater assembly with a new or serviceable static port heater assembly.

Actions Accomplished per Previous Issue of Service Bulletin

(d) Inspections, functional tests, and corrective actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-30-097, original issue, dated February 15, 2002, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in this AD.

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 March 1, 2004.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-5072 Filed 3-5-04; 8:45 am]

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