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Proposed Rule

Special Conditions: Airbus Model A380-800 Airplane, Flotation and Ditching

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 flotation and ditching. 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. NM317, 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. NM317. 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 Start Printed Page 46116certification 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 airplane 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

While the main deck of the A380-800 airplane has five pairs of type A exits, these are not sufficient for the total number of persons on board the airplane. Therefore, the upper deck exits must also be used as ditching exits. As a result, these exits are being equipped with slide/rafts. With two decks, there is the possibility of interference between the slides or rafts of the upper deck and the slides or rafts of the main deck.

Since 14 CFR part 25 does not address the use of upper deck exits as ditching exits, the FAA is proposing special conditions to ensure that occupants can be safely evacuated from these exits following a ditching event.


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 condition as part of the type certification basis for the Airbus A380-800 airplane.

In addition to the requirements of §§ 25.801, 25.807(i), 25.810, 25.1411, and 25.1415, the following special conditions apply:

a. For door sill heights that would be greater than six (6) feet above the waterline during a ditching event, an assist means must be provided from the airplane to the water.

b. Boarding of the upper deck slide/rafts must be demonstrated for the rated and overload capacity of the slide/rafts from the representative door sill heights associated with planned and unplanned ditching. The boarding procedure must ensure that the occupants boarding the slide/rafts remain on the slide/raft whether the occupants enter the slide or raft by walking, jumping or sliding. In addition, the boarding procedure must not result in injury to either occupants entering the slide/raft or occupants already in the slide/raft.

c. When door M3, the overwing exit on the main deck, is used to launch slide/rafts or life rafts, there must be means to prevent the release of the upper deck slide/rafts on top of the slide/raft or life rafts launched from that door. Those means may use either airplane design or a crew procedure.

d. It must be demonstrated that the upper deck slide/rafts located at doors U1 and U2 (just forward and just aft of the wing) can be safely separated from the airplane. Safety considerations include damage to the slide/rafts, injury to occupants of the slide/raft, ejection of the occupants from the slide/raft into the water as a result of the contact with the wing, and the slide/raft becoming beached on the wing. Probable damage to the wing leading and trailing edge flight control structure during a water landing must be considered when assessing the damage caused to the slide/rafts or life rafts.

e. It must be demonstrated that when the upper deck slide/rafts are separated from the airplane, they do not injure occupants of the slide/raft, eject occupants of the slide/raft into the water, or damage the slide/raft in a way that affects its seaworthiness.

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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. 05-15660 Filed 8-8-05; 8:45 am]