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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ 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 (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY:

The FAA is revising an earlier NPRM for an airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. The original NPRM would have required repetitive detailed inspections of the rear fuselage upper skin to detect cracking due to fatigue, and repair if necessary. The original NPRM was prompted by evidence of cracking due to fatigue along the edges of certain chemi-etched pockets in the rear fuselage upper skin. This new action revises the area of inspection specified in the original NPRM. We are proposing this supplemental NPRM to prevent a possible sudden loss of cabin pressure and consequent injury to passengers and flightcrew.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this supplemental NPRM by January 10, 2005.

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ADDRESSES:

Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this supplemental NPRM.

  • 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.
  • 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 British Aerospace Regional Aircraft American Support, 13850 Mclearen Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171.

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. This docket number is FAA-2004-18678; the directorate identifier for this docket is 2001-NM-312-AD.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer; International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1175; fax (425) 227-1149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to submit any relevant written data, views, or arguments regarding this supplemental NPRM. Send your comments to an address listed under ADDRESSES. Include “Docket No. 2000-FAA-18678; Directorate Identifier 2001-NM-312-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this supplemental NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this supplemental NPRM in light of those comments.

We will post all comments submitted, 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 supplemental NPRM. Using the search function of our docket Web site, 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 the 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.

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 in the Nassif Building at the DOT street address stated in ADDRESSES. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them.

Discussion

We proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 with a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for an airworthiness directive (AD) (the “original NPRM”). The original NPRM applies to all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. The original NPRM was published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2004 (69 FR 44474). The original NPRM proposed to require repetitive detailed inspections of the rear fuselage upper skin to detect cracking due to fatigue, and repair if necessary.

Comments

We provided the public the opportunity to participate in the development of this AD. We have considered the comments that have been submitted on the original NPRM.

Request To Clarify Inspection Area

The commenter notes a discrepancy between the original NPRM and the source of service information for the inspection (Inspection Service Bulletin ISB.53-164). The original NPRM specifies inspecting the rear fuselage skin, and the service bulletin specifies inspecting the center and rear fuselage skin. The commenter requests that we clarify the area to be inspected.

The commenter notes another potential conflict between the original NPRM and the service bulletin. While paragraph (f) the original NPRM specifies inspecting “the rear fuselage upper skin,” the service bulletin specifies inspecting “all the lap joints (stringers 2, 10, 19, and 30).” The commenter requests that we define the term “upper skin”—specifically, the lap joints of the upper skin that must be inspected.

We agree that clarification is necessary. The original NPRM specifies inspecting only the rear fuselage skin; reference to the center fuselage skin was inadvertently omitted from this proposed requirement. We have revised paragraph (f) in this supplemental NPRM to require inspection of the center and rear fuselage skin including all the lap joints at stringers 2, 10, 19, and 30.

Request To Revise Repetitive Interval

The commenter requests that we revise the repetitive inspection interval in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of the original NPRM for Model Avro 146-RJ series airplanes. The commenter requests that the proposed interval be extended from 4,000 to 6,000 landings. The commenter asserts that a 6,000-landing interval would better accommodate maintenance schedules.

We do not agree with the request. We have determined that a 4,000-landing interval represents the maximum interval of time allowable for the affected airplanes to continue to safely operate between inspections. We have not changed this supplemental NPRM regarding this issue.

FAA's Determination and Proposed Requirements of the Supplemental NPRM

Certain changes discussed above expand the scope of the original NPRM; therefore, we have determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment on this supplemental NPRM.

Costs of Compliance

This supplemental NPRM would affect about 55 airplanes of U.S. registry. The proposed actions would take about 4 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the supplemental NPRM for U.S. operators is $14,300, or $260 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. 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. Start Printed Page 75277

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in subtitle VII, part A, subpart III, section 44701, “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe 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 rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We have determined that this supplemental NPRM would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This supplemental NPRM 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 supplemental NPRM. See the ADDRESSES section for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation.

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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):

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited (Formerly British Aerospace Regional Aircraft): Docket No. FAA-2004-18678; Directorate Identifier 2001-NM-312-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration must receive comments on this AD action by January 10, 2005.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Avro 146-RJ series airplanes, certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by evidence of cracking due to fatigue along the edges of certain chemi-etched pockets in the rear fuselage upper skin. We are issuing this AD to prevent a possible sudden loss of cabin pressure and consequent injury to passengers and flightcrew.

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.

Inspection and Repair

(f) Within the applicable compliance times specified in paragraph (f)(1) or (f)(2) of this AD, perform a detailed inspection to detect cracking of the center and rear fuselage skin, including all the lap joints at stringers 2, 10, 19, and 30, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Inspection Service Bulletin ISB.53-164, dated July 10, 2001.

Note 1:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed inspection is: “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.”

(1) For Model Avro 146-RJ series airplanes: Inspect before the accumulation of 10,000 total landings, or within 2,000 landings after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later.

(i) For areas where no crack is found, repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 4,000 landings.

(ii) For areas where any crack is found, before further flight, perform repairs in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) (or its delegated agent). No further inspection of any repaired area is required by this AD.

(2) For Model BAe 146 series airplanes: Inspect before the accumulation of 16,000 total landings, or within 4,000 landings after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later.

(i) For areas where no crack is found, repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 8,000 landings.

(ii) For areas where any crack is found, before further flight, perform repairs in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116; or the CAA (or its delegated agent). No further inspection of any repaired area is required by this AD.

No Reporting Requirement

(g) Although the referenced service bulletin specifies to submit appendix 1 of the service bulletin with certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not require that action.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(h) The Manager, ANM-116, 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 December 6, 2004.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-27511 Filed 12-15-04; 8:45 am]

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