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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Goodrich Evacuation Systems Approved Under Technical Standard Order (TSO) TSO-C69b and Installed on Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 Series Airplanes; Model A340-200 and -300 Series Airplanes; and Model A340-541 and -642 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 Goodrich Evacuation Systems approved under TSO-C69b and installed on certain Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes; Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes; and Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes. This proposed AD would require inspecting to determine the part number of the pressure relief valves on the affected Goodrich evacuation systems, and corrective action if necessary. This proposed AD results from a report indicating that, during maintenance testing, the pressure relief valves on the affected Goodrich evacuation systems did not seal when activated, which caused the pressure in the escape slide/raft to drop below the minimum allowable raft mode pressure. We are proposing this AD to prevent loss of pressure in the escape slides/rafts after an emergency evacuation, which could result in inadequate buoyancy to support the raft's passenger capacity during ditching, and increase the chance for injury to raft passengers.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 17, 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 Goodrich, Aircraft Interior Products, ATTN: Technical Publications, 3414 South Fifth Street, Phoenix, AZ 85040, for service information identified in this proposed AD.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tracy Ton, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety/Mechanical and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5352; fax (562) 627-5210.

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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 in the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number “FAA-2006-23890; Directorate Identifier 2005-NM-229-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 published 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

We have received a report indicating that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes; Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes; and Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes; equipped with certain Goodrich evacuation systems. During maintenance testing, the pressure relief valves of the affected Goodrich evacuation systems did not seal when activated, which caused the pressure in the slide/raft to drop below the minimum allowable operating pressure. The affected Goodrich evacuation systems have certain part numbers (P/Ns) and are approved under Technical Standard Order (TSO) TSO-C69b. A review of service data indicates that there have been similar problems with pressure relief valves on multiple transport category airplane models. Loss of pressure in the escape slides/rafts after an emergency evacuation could result in inadequate buoyancy to support the raft's passenger capacity during ditching, and increase the chance for injury to raft passengers.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Goodrich Service Bulletin 25-355, dated July 25, 2005. The service bulletin describes procedures for inspecting to determine the P/N of the pressure relief valves on affected Goodrich evacuation systems, and corrective actions if necessary. The service bulletin also describes Start Printed Page 7877procedures for permanently marking the service bulletin number on the girt adjacent to the system identification placard to indicate compliance with the bulletin. The corrective action involves replacing any affected pressure relief valve on the affected evacuation system with a new valve. 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

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.

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 This Proposed AD and the Service Bulletin.”

Difference Between This Proposed AD and the Service Bulletin

Although the service bulletin recommends accomplishing the inspection “at the next scheduled shop visit of the unit,” we have determined that this imprecise compliance time might not address the identified unsafe condition soon enough to ensure an adequate level of safety for the affected fleet. In developing an appropriate compliance time for this AD, we considered the manufacturer's recommendation, the degree of urgency associated with the subject unsafe condition, and the average utilization of the affected fleet. In light of all of these factors, we find that a compliance time of 36 months for the inspection represents an appropriate interval of time for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety.

Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would affect about 27 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 $1,755, or $65 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.

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

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2006-23890; Directorate Identifier 2005-NM-229-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by March 17, 2006.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Goodrich Evacuation Systems Approved Under Technical Standard Order (TSO) TSO-C69b and having any part number identified in Goodrich Service Bulletin 25-355, dated July 25, 2005, as installed on Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes; and Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes; certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from a report indicating that, during maintenance testing, the pressure relief valves of certain Goodrich evacuation systems did not seal when activated, which allowed the pressure in the slide/raft to drop below the minimum allowable raft mode pressure. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of pressure in the escape slides/rafts after an emergency evacuation, which could result in inadequate buoyancy to support the raft's passenger capacity during ditching, and increase the chance for injury to raft passengers.

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

(f) Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD: Perform an inspection to determine the part number (P/N) of the pressure relief valve on the Goodrich evacuation systems in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Goodrich Service Bulletin 25-355, dated July 25, 2005.

(1) If any pressure relief valve having P/N 4A3791-3 is installed, before further flight, replace the valve with a new or serviceable valve having P/N 4A3641-1 and mark the girt adjacent to the placard, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin.

(2) If any pressure release valve having P/N 4A3641-1 is installed, before further flight, mark the girt adjacent to the placard in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin.

Part Installation

(g) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install a pressure relief valve having P/N 4A3791-3, on any airplane equipped with Goodrich evacuation systems identified in Goodrich Service Bulletin 25-355, dated July 25, 2005. Start Printed Page 7878

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(h)(1) The Manager, Los Angeles 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.

(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

(i) None.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 7, 2006.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E6-2173 Filed 2-14-06; 8:45 am]

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