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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 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), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require modifying the floor proximity emergency escape path marking system. This proposed AD is prompted by information that there is not adequate floor path lighting and marking for safe evacuation of the airplane in the event of an emergency. We are proposing this AD to prevent inadequate lighting and marking of the escape path, which could delay or impede the flight crew and passengers when exiting the airplane during an emergency landing.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 22, 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 Airbus, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France.

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-2005-20687; the directorate identifier for this docket is 2004-NM-171-AD.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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 proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under ADDRESSES. Include “Docket No. FAA-2005-20687; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-171-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 Start Printed Page 14598section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified us that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that the existing system design of the BRUCE emergency power supply units (EPSU) of the floor proximity emergency escape path marking system (FPEEPMS) installed on these airplanes does not provide adequate floor path lighting and marking for safe evacuation of the airplane in the event of an emergency.

Investigation revealed that the system does not comply with the certification requirements specified in section 121.310(c)(3) of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 121.310), which includes the floor proximity emergency escape path marking requirements in section 25.812(L)(1), since none of the connected components of the FPEEPMS, including the exit identifiers, will illuminate in the event of an emergency landing if there is a vertical separation of the fuselage forward of exit door number 1. These conditions, if not corrected, could impede or delay the flight crew and passengers when exiting the airplane during an emergency landing.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-33-1041, dated December 11, 2003. The service bulletin describes procedures for modifying the FPEEPMS. The modification includes removing the BRUCE and DIEHL EPSUs of the FPEEPMS; modifying the wiring; installing placards; and installing new, improved DIEHL EPSUs. Accomplishing the actions specified in the service information is intended to adequately address the unsafe condition. The DGAC mandated the service information and issued French airworthiness directive F-2004-121 R1, dated October 13, 2004, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. We have examined the DGAC'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.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 236 airplanes of U.S. registry. The proposed actions would take about 20 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost about $280 per airplane. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the proposed replacement for U.S. operators is $372,880, or $1,580 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.

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.

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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):

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2005-20687; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-171-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration must receive comments on this AD action by April 22, 2005.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes; certificated in any category; in which the floor proximity emergency escape path marking system (FPEEPMS) is equipped with BRUCE emergency power supply units (EPSUs) having BRUCE part number (P/N) 100865 or DIEHL P/Ns 3214-51, -52, -54, or -55.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by information that there is not adequate floor path lighting and marking for safe evacuation of the airplane in the event of an emergency. We are issuing this AD to prevent inadequate lighting and marking of the escape path, which could delay or impede the flight crew and passengers when exiting the airplane during an emergency 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.

Replacement

(f) Within 17 months after the effective date of this AD: Modify the FPEEPMS by doing all the actions specified in the Start Printed Page 14599Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-33-1041, dated December 11, 2003.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(g) 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

(h) French airworthiness directive F-2004-121 R1, dated October 13, 2004, also addresses the subject of this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 9, 2005.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-5699 Filed 3-22-05; 8:45 am]

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