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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 777-200 and -300 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 777-200 and -300 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require applying an anti-static conductive coating to the fuel access and thermal anti-icing blowout doors at the location of the bonding fasteners on the leading edge of the wings, and performing a resistance test on the new coating to ensure correct ground path resistance. This proposed AD is prompted by a report that an anti-static coating was not applied correctly on doors located within a flammable fluid leakage zone. We are proposing this AD to prevent an uncontrollable fire in the leading edge of the wing, which could damage critical wing structures and cause a fuel tank explosion.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 21, 2005.

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 Airplanes, 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 in person 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Technical information: Margaret Langsted, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6500; fax (425) 917-6590.

Plain language information: Marcia Walters, marcia.walters@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 relevant written data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under ADDRESSES. Include “Docket No. FAA-2004-19764; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-02-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 post 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 a report indicating that, during production, an anti-static coating was not applied correctly on fuel access and thermal anti-icing blowout doors at the location of the bonding fasteners on the leading edge of the wings on certain Boeing Model 777-200 and -300 series airplanes. The anti-static coating is necessary to help ensure an electrical bond ground path at the doors, which are located within a flammable fluid leakage zone. Without the anti-static coating, a static charge may build up and provide an ignition source for flammable vapors when the static discharges. This condition, if not corrected, could result in an uncontrollable fire in the leading edge of the wing, which could damage critical wing structures and cause a fuel tank explosion.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-57-0046, dated September 25, 2003. The service bulletin describes procedures for applying an anti-static conductive coating on the fuel access and thermal Start Printed Page 70575anti-icing blowout doors, and performing a resistance test on the new coating to ensure correct ground path resistance. 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 accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously, except as discussed in “Difference Between this Proposed AD and the Service Bulletin.”

Difference Between This Proposed AD and the Service Bulletin

Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-57-0046, dated September 25, 2003, does not specify any action if the resistance does not meet the limits specified in the service bulletin. The proposed AD would require that operators reapply and retest the anti-static coating if the resistance does not meet the limits specified in the service bulletin, and contact the FAA for disposition of repairs if multiple reapplications and retests do not meet the specified limits after the fifth repetition of the test.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 65 airplanes worldwide and 18 airplanes of U.S. registry. The proposed actions would take about 5 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the proposed AD for U.S. operators is $5,850, or $325 per airplane.

Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701, “General requirements.” Under that section, the FAA is charged with promoting safety flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this proposed AD.

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:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

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

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2004-19764; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-02-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive comments on this AD action by January 21, 2005.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to certain Boeing Model 777-200 and -300 series airplanes, certificated in any category; as listed in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-57-0046, dated September 25, 2003.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by a report that an anti-static coating was not applied correctly on doors located within a flammable fluid leakage zone. We are issuing this AD to prevent an uncontrollable fire in the leading edge of the wing, which could damage critical wing structures and cause a fuel tank explosion.

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.

Modification and Resistance Test

(f) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, apply an anti-static conductive coating to the fuel access and thermal anti-icing blowout doors at the location of the bonding fasteners, and perform a resistance test on the new coating, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-57-0046, dated September 25, 2003.

(1) If the resistance measured between the door surface and a fastener located within the doors' surrounding support structure is within the limits specified in the service bulletin, no further action is required by this paragraph.

(2) If the resistance measured between the door surface and a fastener located within the doors' surrounding support structure is outside the limits specified in the service bulletin, before further flight, repeat the actions as required by paragraph (f) of this AD up to five times, as applicable. If the results of the fifth test exceed the limits specified in the service bulletin, before further flight, contact the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, for disposition of repairs.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(g) The Manager, Seattle ACO, FAA, 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 November 26, 2004.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-26795 Filed 12-6-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P