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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-120, -120ER, -120FC, -120QC, and -120RT 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), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-120, -120ER, -120FC, -120QC, and -120RT airplanes. This proposed AD would require a one-time inspection of the interior of the internal elevator torque tube of each elevator control surface for oxidation and corrosion, and corrective actions. This proposed AD results from corrosion in torque tubes of the elevators found during scheduled maintenance. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct corrosion in the torque tubes of the elevators, which could lead to an unbalanced elevator and result in reduced controllability of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 24, 2006.

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.
  • 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.

Contact Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER), P.O. Box 343—CEP 12.225, Sao Jose dos Campos—SP, Brazil, for service information identified in this proposed 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 in the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number “FAA-2006-23674; Directorate Identifier 2005-NM-234-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 received 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 may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register Start Printed Page 4076published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78), or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

Examining the Docket

You may 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 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 all Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER) Model EMB-120, -120ER, -120FC, -120QC, and -120RT airplanes. The DAC advises that, during scheduled maintenance, corrosion was found inside the torque tubes of the elevators. Corrosion in the torque tubes can lead to an unbalanced elevator. This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced controllability of the airplane.

Relevant Service Information

EMBRAER has issued Service Bulletin 120-55-0015, dated January 14, 2005. The service bulletin describes procedures for doing a visual inspection of the interior of the internal elevator torque tube of each elevator control surface for oxidation and corrosion, and corrective actions. If no oxidation or corrosion is found and the internal diameter of the torque tube is protected (painted), the corrective action includes cleaning the internal diameter and applying a corrosion inhibiting compound. If no oxidation or corrosion is found but the internal diameter of the torque tube is unprotected, the corrective action includes cleaning the internal diameter and applying a chemical conversion coating, finishing coat, and corrosion inhibiting compound. If only oxidation is found, the corrective action includes removing the oxidation and applying a chemical conversion coating, finishing coat, and corrosion inhibiting compound. If oxidation is found but cannot be completely removed or if any corrosion points are found, the corrective action includes removing the affected elevator; removing any oxidation or corrosion from the interior part of the torque tubes with sandpaper; and applying a chemical conversion coating, finishing coat, and corrosion inhibiting compound. If the thickness of the removed corrosion is greater than 0.005 inch, the corrective action is to replace the corroded torque tube with a new torque tube.

The DAC mandated the service information and issued Brazilian airworthiness directive 2005-10-03, dated November 3, 2005, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in Brazil.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

This airplane model is manufactured in Brazil and is 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 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 airplanes 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 Service Bulletin.”

Difference Between the Proposed AD and Service Bulletin

Brazilian airworthiness directive 2005-10-03 is applicable to “all EMB-120( ) aircraft models in operation.” However, this does not agree with EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-55-0015, which states that only certain EMB-120 airplanes are affected and identifies them by serial number. This proposed AD would be applicable only to the airplanes listed in the service bulletin. This difference has been coordinated with the DAC.

Clarification of Inspection Terminology

The “visual inspection” specified in the EMBRAER service bulletin is referred to as a “detailed inspection” in this proposed AD. We have included the definition for a detailed inspection in a note in this proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 108 airplanes of U.S. registry. The proposed actions would take about 3 work hours 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 $21,060, or $195 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 and placed it in the AD docket. 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.

End Authority
[Amended]

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

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket No. FAA-2006-23674; Directorate Identifier 2005-NM-234-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by February 24, 2006.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to EMBRAER Model EMB-120, -120ER, -120FC, -120QC, and -120RT airplanes, certificated in any category; as identified in EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-55-0015, dated January 14, 2005.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from corrosion in torque tubes of the elevators found during scheduled maintenance. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct corrosion in the torque tubes of the elevators, which could lead to an unbalanced elevator and result in 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.

Detailed Inspection and Corrective Actions

(f) Within 4,000 flight hours or 730 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever is first: Do a detailed inspection of the interior of the internal elevator torque tube of each elevator control surface for oxidation and corrosion, and the applicable corrective actions, by accomplishing all of the applicable actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of EMBRAER Service Bulletin 120-55-0015, dated January 14, 2005. The corrective actions must be done before further flight after accomplishing the inspection.

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.”

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(g)(1) 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.

(2) Before using any AMOC approved in accordance with § 39.19 on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify the appropriate principal inspector in the FAA Flight Standards Certificate Holding District Office.

Related Information

(h) Brazilian airworthiness directive 2005-10-03, dated November 3, 2005, also addresses the subject of this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 17, 2006.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E6-902 Filed 1-24-06; 8:45 am]

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