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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, and 747SR Series 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 revise an existing airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to certain Boeing Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, and 747SR series airplanes. The existing AD currently requires repetitive inspections to detect cracking of certain lower lobe fuselage frames, and repair if necessary. This proposed AD would specify appropriate service information for certain corrective actions. This proposed AD results from reports indicating that fatigue cracks were found in lower lobe frames on the left side of the fuselage. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of certain lower lobe fuselage Start Printed Page 39601frames, which could lead to fatigue cracks in the fuselage skin, and consequent rapid decompression of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 28, 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 Boeing Commercial Airplanes, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207, for service information identified in this proposed AD.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ivan Li, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 917-6437; 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 in the ADDRESSES section. Include docket number “Docket No. FAA-2006-25327; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-116-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 a docket, 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

On April 20, 2006, we issued AD 2006-09-06, amendment 39-14576 (71 FR 25926, May 3, 2006), for certain Boeing Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, and 747SR series airplanes. That AD requires repetitive inspections to detect cracking of certain lower lobe fuselage frames, and repair if necessary. That AD resulted from reports indicating that fatigue cracks were found in lower lobe frames on the left side of the fuselage. We issued that AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of certain lower lobe fuselage frames, which could lead to fatigue cracks in the fuselage skin, and consequent rapid decompression of the airplane.

Actions Since Existing AD Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2006-09-06, an operator questioned the addition of a reference to Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2349, Revision 2, dated April 3, 2003, in paragraph (h)(1) of that AD. A service bulletin reference in that paragraph was not included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for AD 2006-09-06, but was added in the final rule to clarify the requirements of that paragraph. However, the service bulletin referenced in that paragraph should be Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002, rather than Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2349, Revision 2. Therefore, we have revised paragraph (h)(1) of this NPRM to refer to the correct service bulletin.

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. For this reason, we are proposing this AD, which would revise AD 2006-09-06 and would retain the requirements of the existing AD. This proposed AD would revise the service information referenced in paragraph (h)(1).

Explanation of Editorial Change

We have revised the reference to the Boeing 747-400 Structural Repair Manual in paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this proposed AD. The paragraph applies to Group 1 airplanes and should refer to the Boeing 747 Structural Repair Manual because Boeing 747-400 series airplanes are not in Group 1.

Costs of Compliance

There are about 681 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. This proposed AD would affect about 99 airplanes of U.S. registry. The new requirements of this proposed AD add no additional economic burden. The current costs for this AD are repeated for the convenience of affected operators, as follows:

The actions in this proposed AD take about 2 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $80 per work hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of both the retained and proposed actions for U.S. operators is $15,840, or $160 per airplane, per inspection cycle.

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 Start Printed Page 39602States, 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 place 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

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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:

Start Authority

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

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[Amended]

2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends § 39.13 by removing amendment 39-14576 (71 FR 25926, May 3, 2006) and adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2006-25327; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-116-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by August 28, 2006.

Affected ADs

(b) This AD revises AD 2006-09-06.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Boeing Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, and 747SR series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from reports indicating that fatigue cracks were found in lower lobe frames on the left side of the fuselage. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of certain lower lobe fuselage frames, which could lead to fatigue cracks in the fuselage skin, and consequent rapid decompression 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.

Restatement of the Requirements of AD 99-07-12, With Additional Information for Group 2 Airplanes

Initial Inspections

(f) For airplanes on which the initial detailed internal inspection of the Section 46 lower lobe frames required by paragraph (f)(2) or (i)(2) of AD 2005-20-30, amendment 39-14327, has not been accomplished: Perform a detailed visual inspection to detect cracking of the lower lobe fuselage frames from Body Station 1820 to Body Station 2100, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, dated April 25, 1996; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002; as applicable; at the later of the applicable times specified in paragraph (f)(1), (f)(2), or (f)(3) of this AD.

(1) For all airplanes: Prior to the accumulation of 15,000 total flight cycles; or

(2) For Group 1 airplanes identified in Revision 1 of the service bulletin: Within 1,500 flight cycles or 18 months after May 5, 1999 (the effective date of AD 99-07-12), whichever occurs first.

(3) For Group 2 airplanes identified in Revision 1 of the service bulletin: Within 1,500 flight cycles or 18 months after June 7, 2006, whichever occurs first.

Note 1:

Paragraphs (f)(2) and (i)(2) of AD 2005-20-30 require a detailed inspection to detect cracks in the Section 46 lower lobe frames, in accordance with Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2349, Revision 2, dated April 3, 2003. The initial inspection is required prior to the accumulation of 22,000 total flight cycles; or within 1,000 flight cycles after June 11, 1993 (the effective date of AD 93-08-12, amendment 39-8559), or November 16, 2005 (the effective date of AD 2005-20-30), depending on previous inspections accomplished; whichever occurs later.

Note 2:

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.”

Repetitive Inspections

(g) If no cracking is detected during the inspection required by paragraph (f) of this AD, repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 3,000 flight cycles.

Corrective Actions

(h) If any cracking is detected during any inspection required by paragraph (f) of this AD, prior to further flight, accomplish paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD:

(1) Within 20 inches of the crack location on the frame, perform a detailed inspection of the adjacent structure to detect cracking. As of the effective date of this AD, the detailed inspection must be done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002. If any cracking is detected during any detailed inspection done in accordance with paragraph (f) or (h)(1) of this AD, prior to further flight, repair in accordance with paragraph (h)(1)(i) or (h)(1)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.

(i) For Group 1 airplanes: Using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j) of this AD. The Boeing 747 Structural Repair Manual, Subject 53-10-04, Figure 67 or 90, is one approved method.

(ii) For Group 2 airplanes: Using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j) of this AD. The Boeing 747-400 Structural Repair Manual, Subject 53-60-07, Repair 1 or 2, is one approved method.

(2) Repeat the inspection required by paragraph (f) of this AD thereafter at intervals not to exceed 3,000 flight cycles.

Optional Terminating Inspection

(i) Accomplishment of the initial detailed inspection of the Section 46 lower lobe frames required by paragraph (f)(2) or (i)(2) of AD 2005-20-30 constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD only for airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002, as Group 1 airplanes. Accomplishment of the initial detailed inspection of the Section 46 lower lobe frames required by paragraph (f) of AD 2006-05-02 constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD only for airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2408, Revision 1, dated April 4, 2002, as Group 2 airplanes.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(j)(1) 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.

(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.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair required by this AD, if it is approved by an Authorized Representative for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Delegation Option Authorization Organization who has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair must meet the certification basis of the airplane.

(4) AMOCs approved previously in accordance with AD 99-07-12, amendment Start Printed Page 3960339-11097, are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 5, 2006.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E6-11019 Filed 7-12-06; 8:45 am]

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