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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-135 and -145 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 EMBRAER Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require repetitive detailed inspections for surface bruising of the main landing gear (MLG) trailing arms and integrity of the MLG pivot axle sealant, and corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD would also provide for optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. This proposed AD is prompted by a report of a fractured axle of the trailing arm of the MLG due to corrosion of the axle. We are proposing this AD to prevent a broken trailing arm and consequent failure of the MLG, which could lead to loss of control and damage to the airplane during take-off or landing.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 3, 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 Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER), P.O. Box 343—CEP 12.225, Sao Jose dos Campos—SP, Brazil.

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-2005-Start Printed Page 507720223; the directorate identifier for this docket is 2004-NM-193-AD.

Start Further Info

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.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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-2005-20223; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-193-AD” at the beginning 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 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 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

The Departmento de Aviacao Civil (DAC), which is the airworthiness authority for Brazil, notified us that an unsafe condition may exist on certain EMBRAER Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes. The DAC advises that it has received a report of a fractured axle of the trailing arm of the main landing gear (MLG) due to corrosion of the axle. This condition, if not corrected, could result in a broken trailing arm and consequent failure of the MLG, which could lead to loss of control and damage to the airplane during take-off or landing.

Relevant Service Information

EMBRAER has issued Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, dated July 1, 2004. The service bulletin describes procedures for performing repeated detailed inspections for surface bruising of the main landing gear (MLG) trailing arms and integrity of the MLG pivot axle sealant; and corrective actions if necessary. Corrective actions include a detailed inspection for corrosion of the internal surface of the pivot axle; repairing the trailing arm surface; applying protective paint and corrosion inhibitors to the pivot axle or replacing the pivot axle with a new pivot axle; and replacing the MLG cardan with a new, improved cardan. Replacing the MLG cardan would eliminate the need for repeated detailed inspections.

Accomplishing the actions specified in the service information is intended to adequately address the unsafe condition.

The DAC mandated the service information and issued Brazilian airworthiness directive 2004-08-02, dated September 3, 2004, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in Brazil.

Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, refers to Embraer Liebherr Equipamentos do Brasil S.A. (ELEB) Service Bulletin 2309-2002-32-04, Revision 01, dated May 24, 2004, as an additional source of service information for the inspection and repair of the MLG trailing arm components. The ELEB service bulletin is included within the EMBRAER service bulletin.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

These airplane models are manufactured in Brazil and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. According to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. We have examined the DAC's findings, evaluated all pertinent information, and determined that we need to issue an AD for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Therefore, we are proposing this AD, which would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously, except as discussed under “Difference Between the Proposed AD and Brazilian Airworthiness Directive.”

This proposed AD would also provide for optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections.

Consistent with the findings of the DAC, the proposed AD would allow repetitive inspections to continue in lieu of the terminating action. In making this determination, we considered that long-term continued operational safety in this case will be adequately ensured by repetitive inspections to detect sealant failure or surface bruising of the MLG trailing arm before it represents a hazard to the airplane.

Difference Between the Proposed AD and Brazilian Airworthiness Directive

Brazilian airworthiness directive 2004-08-02, dated September 3, 2004, specifies a “detailed visual inspection;” however, this proposed AD would require a “detailed inspection” to eliminate any confusion about the proper type of inspection. We have included a definition of this type of inspection in Note 1 of this proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 488 airplanes of U.S. registry.

The proposed inspection of the MLG trailing arm surface and pivot axle sealant would take about 1 work hour 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 $31,720, or $65 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

The proposed replacement of the MLG cardan and inspection of the internal surface of the MLG trailing arm pivot axle would take about 1 work hour per MLG (two MLGs per airplane), at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost about $3,500 per cardan. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the proposed AD for U.S. operators is $3,479,440, or $7,130 per airplane.

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 5078

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 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

End List of Subjects

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.

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[Amended]

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

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket No. FAA-2005-20223; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-193-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration must receive comments on this AD action by March 3, 2005.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Model EMB-135 and -145 series airplanes, certificated in any category; as listed in EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, dated July 1, 2004.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by a report of a fractured axle of the trailing arm of the main landing gear (MLG) due to corrosion of the axle. We are issuing this AD to prevent a broken trailing arm and consequent failure of the MLG, which could lead to loss of control and damage to the airplane during take-off or landing.

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

(f) Within 600 flight hours or 180 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, perform a detailed inspection for surface bruising of the MLG trailing arms and integrity of the MLG pivot axle sealant; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, dated July 1, 2004. If no sign of sealant failure or bruising of the trailing arm is found, repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 5,500 flight hours or 24 months, whichever occurs first, until paragraph (g)(3) of this AD has been accomplished.

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/Terminating Actions

(g) If any sign of sealant failure or bruising of either trailing arm surface is found, prior to further flight, do paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this AD. Do the actions in accordance with EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, dated July 1, 2004. Accomplishment of paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this AD ends the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (f) of this AD.

(1) Repair any bruising of the trailing arm surface.

(2) Replace the MLG cardan with a new, improved cardan.

(3) Perform a detailed inspection for corrosion of the internal surface of the trailing arm pivot axle.

(i) If no corrosion is found, apply protective paint and corrosion inhibitors.

(ii) If corrosion is found, replace the pivot axle with a new pivot axle and apply corrosion inhibitors.

Note 2:

EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, Change 01, dated July 1, 2004, refers to Embraer Liebherr Equipamentos do Brasil S.A. (ELEB) Service Bulletin 2309-2002-32-04, Revision 01, dated May 24, 2004, as an additional source of service information for the inspection and repair of the MLG components. The ELEB service bulletin is included within the EMBRAER service bulletin.

Actions Accomplished According to Previous Issue of Service Bulletin

(h) Actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD according to EMBRAER Service Bulletin 145-32-0091, dated February 19, 2004, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(i) The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

Related Information

(j) Brazilian airworthiness directive 2004-08-02, dated September 3, 2004, also addresses the subject of this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 21, 2005.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 05-1807 Filed 1-31-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P