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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 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 (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require repetitive detailed and eddy current inspections to detect cracking of the frame web around the cutout for the doorstop intercostal strap at the aft side of the Body station 291.5 frame at stringer 16R, and corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of fatigue cracks in the web of the Body station 291.5 frame near the forward galley door. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the aft frame and frame support structure of the forward galley door, which could result in a severed fuselage frame web, rapid decompression of the airplane, and possible loss of the forward galley door.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 18, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD.

  • DOT Docket Web site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590.
  • By fax: (202) 493-2251.
  • Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207.

You can examine the contents of this AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov, or at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., room PL-401, on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, Washington, DC.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Howard Hall, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6430; fax (425) 917-6590.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Docket Management System (DMS)

The FAA has implemented new procedures for maintaining AD dockets electronically. As of May 17, 2004, new AD actions are posted on DMS and assigned a docket number. We track each action and assign a corresponding directorate identifier. The DMS AD docket number is in the form “Docket No. FAA-2004-99999.” The Transport Airplane Directorate identifier is in the form “Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-999-AD.” Each DMS AD docket also lists the directorate identifier (“Old Docket Number”) as a cross-reference for searching purposes.

Comments Invited

We invite you to submit any written relevant data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under ADDRESSES1. Include “Docket No. FAA-2004-18997; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-19-AD” in the subject line of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will consider all comments submitted by the closing date and may amend the proposed AD in light of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also Start Printed Page 53859post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed AD. Using the search function of that website, anyone can find and read the comments in any of our dockets, including the name of the individual who sent the comment (or signed the comment on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You can review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78), or you can visit http://dms.dot.gov.

We are reviewing the writing style we currently use in regulatory documents. We are interested in your comments on whether the style of this document is clear, and your suggestions to improve the clarity of our communications that affect you. You can get more information about plain language at http://www.faa.gov/​language and http://www.plainlanguage.gov.

Examining the Docket

You can examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov, or in person at the Docket Management Facility office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Management Facility office (telephone (800) 647-5227) is located on the plaza level of the Nassif Building at the DOT street address stated in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them.

Discussion

We have received reports of fatigue cracks in the web of the Body station 291.5 frame near the forward galley door of a Model 737-200 series airplane. The cracks initiate at the frame web cutout for the stringer 16R doorstop intercostal strap. Fatigue cracking of the aft frame and frame support structure of the forward galley door, if not detected and corrected, could result in a severed fuselage frame web, rapid decompression of the airplane, and possible loss of the forward galley door.

The subject area on certain Boeing Model 737-100, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes is similar to that on the affected Model 737-200 series airplanes. Therefore, those airplanes may be subject to the unsafe condition revealed on the Model 737-200 series airplanes.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1241, dated June 13, 2002. The alert service bulletin describes procedures for performing repetitive detailed and eddy current inspections to detect cracking of the frame web around the cutout for the doorstop intercostal strap at the aft side of the Body station 291.5 frame at stringer 16R, and corrective action if necessary. The alert service bulletin also specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions if any crack is found. Accomplishing the actions specified in the service information is intended to adequately address the unsafe condition.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

We have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of this same type design. Therefore, we are proposing this AD, which would require repetitive detailed and eddy current inspections to detect cracking of the frame web around the cutout for the doorstop intercostal strap at the aft side of the Body station 291.5 frame at stringer 16R, and corrective action if necessary. The proposed AD would require you to use the service information described previously to perform these actions, except as discussed under “Differences Between the Proposed AD and Service Bulletin.”

Differences Between the Proposed AD and Service Bulletin

The alert service bulletin states that the threshold for the inspections is 50,000 total flight cycles or 2,250 flight cycles after the release date of the service bulletin, whichever is later. This proposed AD would require a threshold of 40,000 total flight cycles or 2,250 flight cycles after the effective date of the AD, whichever is later. The threshold for the proposed AD is based upon service history reported after the release of the service bulletin. The manufacturer intends to issue a revised service bulletin that includes a threshold of 40,000 total flight cycles.

Although the alert service bulletin specifies that operators may contact the manufacturer for disposition of certain cracking conditions, this proposed AD would require operators to repair those conditions per a method approved by the FAA, or per data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the FAA to make such findings.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 3,113 airplanes worldwide. The following table provides the estimated costs for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD.

Estimated Costs

ActionWork hoursAverage labor rate per hourPartsCost per airplaneNumber of U.S.-registered airplanesFleet cost
Inspection, per inspection cycle2$65None$130, per inspection cycle876$113,880, per inspection cycle.

Regulatory Findings

We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD 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.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the 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. 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.

We prepared a regulatory evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD. See the ADDRESSES section for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2004-18997; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-19-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive comments on this AD action by October 18, 2004.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Boeing Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1241, dated June 13, 2002; certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks in the web of the Body station 291.5 frame near the forward galley door. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the aft frame and frame support structure of the forward galley door, which could result in a severed fuselage frame web, rapid decompression of the airplane, and possible loss of the forward galley door.

Compliance

(e) You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.

Initial and Repetitive Inspections

(f) Prior to the accumulation of 40,000 total flight cycles, or within 2,250 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Do a detailed inspection and an eddy current inspection to detect cracking of the frame web around the cutout for the doorstop intercostal strap at the aft side of the Body station 291.5 frame at stringer 16R, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1241, dated June 13, 2002. If no cracking is found, repeat the inspections thereafter at intervals not to exceed 4,500 flight cycles.

Note 1:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed inspection is: “An intensive examination of a specific item, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at an intensity deemed appropriate. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be necessary. Surface cleaning and elaborate procedures may be required.”

Corrective Action

(g) If any crack is found during any inspection required by this AD: Before further flight, repair per a method approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA; or per data meeting the type certification basis of the airplane approved by a Boeing Company Designated Engineering Representative who has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make such findings. For a repair method to be approved, the approval must specifically reference this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(h) The Manager, Seattle ACO, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 20, 2004.

Kevin M. Mullin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-20125 Filed 9-2-04; 8:45 am]

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