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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 767-300 and -300F Series Airplanes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Model 767-300 and -300F series airplanes. This proposed AD would require a one-time operational test of the pilots' seat locks and the seat tracks to ensure that the seats lock in position and the seat tracks are aligned correctly; and re-alignment of the seat tracks, if necessary. This proposed AD is prompted by reports indicating that a pilot's seat slid from the forward to the aft-most position during acceleration and take-off. We are proposing this AD to prevent uncommanded movement of the pilots' seats during acceleration and take-off of the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 6, 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, PO 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. This docket number is FAA-2005-21880; the directorate identifier for this docket is 2004-NM-216-AD.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sue Rosanske, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6448; fax (425) 917-6590.

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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-2005-21880; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-216-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 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 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 Docket Management System (DMS) receives them.

Discussion

We have received reports indicating that the pilot's seat slid from the forward to the aft-most position during acceleration and take-off on a Model 737 series airplane. Investigation revealed that the seat track was aligned incorrectly. Misalignment of the seat tracks can occur when seat tracks have been reinstalled or replaced without fully testing the seat lock mechanism. Misalignment of the seat tracks, if not corrected, could result in uncommanded movement of the pilots' seats during acceleration and take-off of the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

The pilot seat locks and tracks on certain Model 737 series airplanes are identical to those on the affected Model 767-300 and -300F series airplanes. Therefore, Model 767-300 and -300F series airplanes may be subject to the same unsafe condition.

Other Related Rulemaking

On January 27, 1998, we issued AD 98-03-10, amendment 39-10302 (63 FR 5725, February 4, 1998), applicable to certain Boeing Model 737, 747, 757, and 767 series airplanes. AD 98-03-10 requires a one-time operational test of the pilots' seat locks and the seat tracks to ensure that the seats lock in position and the seat tracks are aligned correctly; and re-alignment of the seat tracks, if necessary. We issued AD 98-03-10 to prevent uncommanded movement of the pilots' seats during acceleration and take-off of the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

Since we issued AD 98-03-10, Boeing has issued Special Attention Service Bulletin 767-25-0244, Revision 2, dated September 2, 2004. Revision 2 adds five Model 767-300 and -300F series airplanes (variable numbers VK145, VL941, VN968, VW714, and VW715) to the effectivity of that service bulletin. We have determined that the unsafe condition of AD 98-03-10 may exist on these additional airplanes. Therefore, these airplanes are also subject to the one-time operational test of the pilots' seat locks and the seat tracks, and re-alignment of the seat tracks if necessary.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 767-25-0244, Revision 2, dated September 2, 2004. The service bulletin describes procedures for a one-time operational test of the pilots' seat locks and the seat tracks to ensure that the seats lock in position and the seat tracks are aligned correctly, and re-alignment of the seat tracks if necessary. 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. Start Printed Page 42010

Costs of Compliance

There are 5 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. This proposed AD would affect about 2 airplanes of U.S. registry. The proposed actions 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 $130, or $65 per airplane.

Re-alignment of the seat tracks, if necessary, would take about 2 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the re-alignment is $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.

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):

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2005-21880; Directorate Identifier 2004-NM-216-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive comments on this AD action by September 6, 2005.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Model 767-300 and -300F series airplanes, variable numbers VK145, VL941, VN968, VW714, and VW715, certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD was prompted by reports indicating that the pilot's seat slid from the forward to the aft-most position during acceleration and take-off. We are issuing this AD to prevent uncommanded movement of the pilots' seats during acceleration and take-off of the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

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 Re-Alignment if Necessary

(f) Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, do a one-time operational test of the pilots' seats and seat locks to determine if the lock pin of the seat track fully engages in all lock positions of the seat track, in accordance with Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 767-25-0244, Revision 2, dated September 2, 2004. If the seat lock pin fully engages in all lock positions of the seat track, no further action is required by this AD. If the seat lock pin does not fully engage in all positions of the seat track, before further flight, re-align the seat tracks, in accordance with the service bulletin.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 13, 2005.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-14395 Filed 7-20-05; 8:45 am]

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