Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes. This proposed AD would require installing bracket assemblies and jumper wires in the center main wheel well to improve the bonding path between the structure (wall) of the lower auxiliary fuel tank and its internal fuel pumps; measuring the electrical resistance between the fuel pump housings and the fuel tank structure; and doing corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct an inadequate bond between the internal fuel pump housings and the structure of the lower auxiliary fuel tank. This condition, if not corrected, could fail to meet fault current requirements and result in a potential ignition source that, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could cause a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.Start Printed Page 8312
We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 12, 2007.
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, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024), for the service information identified in this proposed AD.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Samuel Lee, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5262; fax (562) 627-5210.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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 “Docket No. FAA-2007-27341; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-272-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 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.
The FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled “Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements” (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (“SFAR 88,” Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).
Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC)) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to type design holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.
In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: single failures, single failures in combination with a latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action.
We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.
We have received a report indicating that the electrical bond may not be adequate between the internal fuel pumps of the lower auxiliary fuel tank and the fuel tank structure (wall), on Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes. This condition, if not corrected, could fail to meet fault current requirements and result in a potential ignition source that, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could cause a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.
Operators should note that the same unsafe condition exists in certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC-10 airplanes and that we may issue a separate rulemaking to address those airplanes.
Relevant Service Information
We have reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-28-127, dated September 19, 2006. The service bulletin describes procedures for installing bracket assemblies and jumper wires between the lower auxiliary fuel tank and its internal fuel pumps; for doing an electrical resistance measurement between the fuel pump housings and the auxiliary fuel tank wall; and for doing corrective actions if necessary. Corrective actions, if any resistance measurement exceeds 2.5 milliohms, include reworking the electrical bonding between the fuel pump housings and the fuel tank wall. 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
We have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or Start Printed Page 8313develop on other airplanes of this same type design. For this reason, we are proposing this AD, which would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously.
Costs of Compliance
There are about 195 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. This proposed AD would affect about 107 airplanes of U.S. registry. The following table provides the estimated costs for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD, at an average labor rate of $80 per work hour.
|Action||Work hours||Parts||Cost per airplane||Fleet cost|
|Install bracket assemblies and jumper wires||4||$1,928||$2,248||$240,536|
|Do electrical resistance measurement||1||None required||80||8,560|
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.
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 39End 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:Start Part
PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):
McDonnell Douglas: Docket No. FAA-2007-27341; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-272-AD.
Comments Due Date
(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by April 12, 2007.
(c) This AD applies to all McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes; certificated in any category.
(d) This AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct an inadequate bond between the internal fuel pump housings and the structure (wall) of the lower auxiliary fuel tank. This condition, if not corrected, could fail to meet fault current requirements and result in a potential ignition source that, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could cause a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.
(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.
Installation of Brackets and Jumpers, and Resistance Measurement
(f) Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions described in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-28-127, dated September 19, 2006.
(1) Install bracket assemblies and jumper wires between the structure of the lower auxiliary fuel tank and its internal fuel pumps.
(2) Do an electrical resistance measurement between the fuel pump housings and the lower auxiliary fuel tank wall.
(g) If any resistance measurement done in accordance with paragraph (f)(2) of this AD is greater than 2.5 milliohms on either fuel pump housing: Before further flight, rework the electrical bonding between the fuel pump housings and the lower auxiliary fuel tank wall as needed to achieve a resistance measurement of 2.5 milliohms or less on both fuel pump housings, as described in Boeing Service Bulletin MD11-28-127, dated September 19, 2006.
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.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 16, 2007.
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. E7-3169 Filed 2-23-07; 8:45 am]
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