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Proposed Rule

Special Conditions: Airbus Model A380-800 Airplane; Stairways Between Decks

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.


Notice of proposed special conditions.


This notice proposes special conditions for the Airbus A380-800 airplane. This airplane will have novel or unusual design features when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. Many of these novel or unusual design features are associated with the complex systems and the configuration of the airplane, including its full-length double deck. For these design features, the applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards regarding stairways between decks. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. Additional special conditions will be issued for other novel or unusual design features of the Airbus Model A380-800 airplane.


Comments must be received on or before September 23, 2005.


Comments on this proposal may be mailed in duplicate to: Federal Aviation Administration, Transport Airplane Directorate, Attention: Rules Docket (ANM-113), Docket No. NM314, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; or delivered in duplicate to the Transport Airplane Directorate at the above address. All comments must be marked: Docket No. NM314. Comments may be inspected in the Rules Docket weekdays, except Federal holidays, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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Holly Thorson, FAA, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-1357; facsimile (425) 227-1149.

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Comments Invited

The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We ask that you send us two copies of written comments.

We will file in the docket all comments we receive as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning these proposed special conditions. The docket is available for public inspection before and after the comment closing date. If you wish to review the docket in person, go to the address in the ADDRESSES section of this notice between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed late, if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change the proposed special conditions in light of the comments we receive.

If you want the FAA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this proposal, include with your comments a pre-addressed, stamped postcard on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the postcard and mail it back to you.


Airbus applied for FAA certification/validation of the provisionally-designated Model A3XX-100 in its letter AI/L 810.0223/98, dated August 12, 1998, to the FAA. Application for certification by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) of Europe had been made on January 16, 1998, reference AI/L 810.0019/98. In its letter to the FAA, Airbus requested an extension to the 5-year period for type certification in accordance with 14 CFR 21.17(c). The request was for an extension to a 7-year period, using the date of the initial application letter to the JAA as the reference date. The reason given by Airbus for the request for extension is related to the technical challenges, complexity, and the number of new and novel features on the airplane. On November 12, 1998, the Manager, Aircraft Engineering Division, AIR-100, granted Airbus' request for the 7-year period, based on the date of application to the JAA.

In its letter AI/LE-A 828.0040/99 Issue 3, dated July 20, 2001, Airbus stated that its target date for type certification of the Model A380-800 has been moved from May 2005, to January 2006, to match the delivery date of the first production airplane. In accordance with 14 CFR 21.17(d)(2), Airbus chose a new application date of April 20, 1999, and requested that the 7-year certification period which had already been approved be continued. The part 25 certification basis for the Model A380-800 airplane was adjusted to reflect the new application date.

The Model A380-800 airplane will be an all-new, four-engine jet transport airplane with a full double-deck, two-aisle cabin. The maximum takeoff weight will be 1.235 million pounds with a typical three-class layout of 555 passengers.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.17, Airbus must show that the Model A380-800 airplane meets the applicable provisions of 14 CFR part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-98. If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Airbus A380-800 airplane because of novel or unusual design features, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.16.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Airbus Model A380-800 Start Printed Page 46111airplane must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36. In addition, the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy pursuant to section 611 of Public Law 93-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

Special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, are issued in accordance with 14 CFR 11.38 and become part of the type certification basis in accordance with 14 CFR 21.17(a)(2), Amendment 21-69, effective September 16, 1991.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or unusual design features, the special conditions would also apply to the other model under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.101(a)(1), Amendment 21-69, effective September 16, 1991.

Discussion of Novel or Unusual Design Features

The A380 incorporates seating on two full-length passenger decks, each of which has the capacity of a typical wide body airplane. Two staircases—one located in the front of the cabin and one located in the rear—allow for the movement of persons between decks. With large seating capacities on the main deck and the upper deck of the A380-800 airplane, the staircases need to be able to support movement between decks in an inflight emergency. In addition, although compliance with the evacuation demonstration requirements of § 25.803 does not depend on the use of stairs, there must be a way for passengers on one deck to move to the other deck during an emergency evacuation. This need must be addressed in the certification of the airplane.

The regulations governing the certification of the A380 do not adequately address a passenger airplane with two separate full-length decks for passengers. The Boeing 747 and Lockheed L-1011 airplanes were certificated with limited seating capacity on two separate decks, and special conditions were issued to certificate those arrangements. When the seating capacity of the upper deck of the Boeing 747 exceeded 24 passengers, the FAA issued Special Conditions 25-61-NW-1 for a maximum seat capacity of 32 passengers on the upper deck for take-off and landing. A second set of Special Conditions, 25-71-NW-3, was issued to cover airplanes with a maximum seating capacity of 45 passengers on the upper deck for take-off and landing. That second set of Special Conditions was later modified to address airplanes with a maximum seating capacity of 110 passengers on the upper deck. These previously issued special conditions provided a starting point for the development of special conditions for the A380-800 airplane.

In the case of both the L1011 and the 747, the special conditions were based on the requirements and associated level of safety in place at the time of application for type certificate. The requirements and the level of safety have improved significantly since that time, and these special conditions reflect those improvements.

The FAA is proposing—in addition to the requirements of §§ 25.803 and 25.811 through 25.813—special conditions to address the movement of passengers between the two full-length decks on the Model A380. These special conditions provide additional requirements for the stairways to ensure the safe passage of occupants between decks during moderate turbulence, an inflight emergency, or an emergency evacuation.


As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Airbus A380-800 airplane. Should Airbus apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design features, these special conditions would apply to that model as well under the provisions of § 21.101(a)(1), Amendment 21-69, effective September 16, 1991.


This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features of the Airbus A380-800 airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability, and it affects only the applicant which applied to the FAA for approval of these features on the airplane.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
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The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

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The Proposed Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions as part of the type certification basis for the Airbus A380-800 airplane.

In addition to the requirements of §§ 25.803 and 25.811 through 25.813, the following special conditions apply:

a. At least one stairway between decks must meet the following requirements:

The stairway accommodates the carriage of an incapacitated person from one deck to the other. The crew member procedures for such carriage must be established.

b. At least two stairways between decks must meet the following requirements:

The stairways must be designed such that evacuees can achieve an adequate rate for going down or going up under probable emergency conditions, including a condition in which a person falls or is incapacitated while on a stairway. One of these two stairways must be the stairway specified in paragraph a. above.

c. Each stairway between decks must meet the following requirements:

1. It must have an entrance, exit, and gradient characteristics that—with the assistance of a crew member—would allow the passengers of one deck to merge with passengers of the other deck during an evacuation and exit the airplane. These entrance, exit, and gradient characteristics must occur with the airplane in level attitude and in each attitude resulting from the collapse of any one or more legs of the landing gear. These requirements must be demonstrated by tests and/or analysis.

2. The stairway must have a handrail on at least one side in order to allow people to steady themselves during foreseeable conditions, including but not limited to the condition of gear collapse on the ground and moderate turbulence in flight. The handrails must be constructed, so that there will be no obstruction on them which will cause the user to release his/her grip on the handrail or will hinder the continuous movement of the hands along the handrail. Handrails must be terminated in a manner which will not obstruct pedestrian travel or create a hazard. Adequacy of the design must be demonstrated by using persons representative of the 5% female and the 95% male.

3. The stairway must be designed and located to minimize damage to it during an emergency landing or ditching.

4. The stairway must have a wall or the equivalent on each side to minimize Start Printed Page 46112the risk of falling and to facilitate use of the stairway under conditions of abnormal airplane attitude.

5. Treads and landings must be designed and demonstrated to be free of hazard. The landing area at each deck level must be demonstrated to be adequate in terms of flow rate for the maximum number of people that will be using the stair in an emergency. Treads and risers must be designed to ensure an easy and safe use of the stairway.

6. General emergency illumination must be provided so that—when measured along the centerlines of each tread and landing—the illumination is not less than 0.05 foot-candle.

7. In normal operation, the general illumination level must not be less than 0.05 foot-candles. The assessment must be done under day light and dark of night conditions.

8. Both stairway ends must be indicated by an exit sign visible to passengers when in the stairway. This exit sign must meet the requirements of § 25.812(b)(1)(ii).

9. A floor proximity path marking system which meets the requirements of § 25.812(e) must be available to guide passengers in the stairway to the stairway ends. It must not direct the occupants of the cabin to the stair entrance.

10. The public address system must be audible in the stairway during all flight phases.

11. “No smoking” and “return to seat” signs must be installed and must be visible in the stairway both going up and down and at the stairway entrances.

d. Cabin crew procedures and positions must be established to control the use of the stairs on the ground and in flight under both normal and emergency situations. This may require that cabin crew members have specific dedicated duties for the control of the stairs during emergency and precautionary evacuations.

e. It should not be hazardous for crew members or passengers who are returning to their seats to use the stairways during moderate turbulence.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 19, 2005.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-15657 Filed 8-8-05; 8:45 am]