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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) and DC-9-83 (MD-83) 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.

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 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) and DC-9-83 (MD-83) airplanes; and Model MD-88 airplanes. This proposal would require inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat track locking pins for insufficient engagement caused by seat track misalignment, and corrective actions, if necessary. This action is necessary to prevent uncommanded movement of the captain's and first officer's seats during takeoff and 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 April 26, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-NM-251-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Start Printed Page 11551Monday 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-251-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.

Start Further Info

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 2003-NM-251-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-251-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The FAA has received a report indicating that the airplane manufacturer discovered, during production, fore and aft misalignment of cockpit floor seat tracks at the captain's and/or first officer's seat assembly on some McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 airplanes. The seat track misalignment was enough to prevent full engagement of the seat locking pins into the seat track detent holes. This condition, if not corrected, could result in uncommanded movement of the captain's and first officer's seats during takeoff and landing, which could result in interference with the operation of the airplane and consequent temporary loss of control of the airplane.

Similar Airplanes

The subject areas on certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-83 airplanes and Model MD-88 airplanes are identical to those on the affected McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 airplanes. Therefore, all of these models may be subject to the same unsafe condition.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD80-25A367, Revision 01, dated June 14, 2002, which describes procedures for a detailed inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat track locking pins for sufficient engagement; and corrective actions, if necessary. The corrective actions include the following actions:

  • Adjusting/repairing the locking mechanism and/or replacing the lockpin with a new lockpin;
  • Performing a detailed inspection of the lockpins for wear, and replacing lockpins with new lockpins, if necessary; and
  • Performing a detailed inspection of the seat track for proper alignment, and repairing the seat track, if necessary.

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.

Cost Impact

There are approximately 1,166 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 672 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 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 $43,680 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 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. Manufacturer warranty remedies may be available for labor costs associated with this proposed AD. As a result, the costs attributable to the proposed AD may be less than stated above.

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. Start Printed Page 11552

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

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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.

End Authority
[Amended]

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

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 2003-NM-251-AD.

Applicability: Model DC-9-82 (MD-82) and DC-9-83 (MD-83) airplanes, and Model MD-88 airplanes; as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD80-25A367, Revision 01, dated June 14, 2002; certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent uncommanded movement of the captain's and first officer's seats during takeoff and landing, which could result in interference with the operation of the airplane and consequent temporary loss of control of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Inspection and Corrective Actions

(a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat track locking pins for sufficient engagement, and any applicable corrective actions by accomplishing all the actions in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD80-25A367, Revision 01, dated June 14, 2002. Do the actions per the service bulletin. Any applicable corrective actions must be accomplished before further flight.

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.”

Inspection/Corrective Actions Accomplished Per Previous Issue of Service Bulletin

(b) Any inspection/corrective action accomplished before the effective date of this AD per Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD80-25A367, dated December 6, 1999, is considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding inspection/corrective action specified in this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(c) 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 2, 2004.

Ali Bahrami,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-5518 Filed 3-10-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P