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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 and A340 Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the products listed above. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as failure of an evacuation slide raft to inflate, which could delay the evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency. The proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address the unsafe condition described in the MCAI.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 30, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

  • DOT Docket Web Site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Fax: (202) 493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • 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.
  • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5227) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tim Backman, Aerospace Engineer, ANM-116, International Branch, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2797; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Streamlined Issuance of AD

The FAA is implementing a new process for streamlining the issuance of ADs related to MCAI. This streamlined process will allow us to adopt MCAI safety requirements in a more efficient manner and will reduce safety risks to the public. This process continues to follow all FAA AD issuance processes to meet legal, economic, Administrative Procedure Act, and Federal Register requirements. We also continue to meet our technical decision-making responsibilities to identify and correct unsafe conditions on U.S.-certificated products.

This proposed AD references the MCAI and related service information that we considered in forming the engineering basis to correct the unsafe condition. The proposed AD contains text copied from the MCAI and for this reason might not follow our plain language principles.

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2007-28036; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-278-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because 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 we receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2006-0354, dated November 28, 2006 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an Start Printed Page 21165unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states that several operators have reported non-automatic deployment of slide rafts during ground operational testing. In all cases, the slide raft released correctly from the door but did not inflate automatically. Pulling the manual backup handle correctly inflated the slide raft. Investigation conducted by the slide raft manufacturer showed that non-automatic deployments have two potential root causes:

  • Non-opening of the lacing; and
  • Stiffness and stiction (static friction) on the painted inflatable material.

This situation, if not corrected, could delay the evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency.

A new design solution has been developed to ensure the automatic slide raft deployment, which consists of:

  • Continuous “speed lacing” cord and new soft covers with rounded grommets (this modification ensures that the lacing opens);
  • A new shorter firing cable, a new anchor block for the slide raft packboard and a new folding procedure (this modification ensures automatic deployment regardless of the inflatable paint condition).

Both modifications together ensure the automatic deployment function. The MCAI requires accomplishment of the set of modifications. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A330-25-3173, A340-25-4191, and A340-25-5004, all Revision 01, all dated August 2, 2006; and Service Bulletins A330-25-3301, A340-25-4273, and A340-25-5110, all dated March 24, 2006. The actions described in this service information are intended to correct the unsafe condition identified in the MCAI.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by the State of Design Authority and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI or Service Information

We have reviewed the MCAI and related service information and, in general, agree with their substance. But we might have found it necessary to use different words from those in the MCAI to ensure the AD is clear for U.S. operators and is enforceable. In making these changes, we do not intend to differ substantively from the information provided in the MCAI and related service information.

We might also have proposed different actions in this AD from those in the MCAI in order to follow FAA policies. Any such differences are described in a separate paragraph of the proposed AD. These requirements, if ultimately adopted, will take precedence over the actions copied from the MCAI.

Costs of Compliance

Based on the service information, we estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 28 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 66 work-hours per product to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $3,860 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $255,920, or $9,140 per product.

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 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 this 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.

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:

Start Part

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 FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2007-28036; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-278-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by May 30, 2007.

Affected ADs

(b) The requirements of this AD relate to those specified in AD 2006-04-03, amendment 39-14484.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A330 and A340 airplanes, certificated in any category; except those with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) specified modifications installed in production, or the equivalent service bulletins installed in service (as specified in Tables 1 and 2 of this AD), provided no slide has been replaced since either airplane delivery or service bulletin installation, as applicable. Start Printed Page 21166

Table 1.—Exceptions to Applicability

Airplane modelConfigurationAirbus modifications installed in production
A330, A340-200, -300With Modification 40161 (optional Type A door 3)50806, 50807, 55071, and 55072.
A330, A340-200, -300Without Modification 40161 (Type 1 door 3)50806 and 55071.
A340-500Either 50806, 50807, and 55071, or 50806 and 55071.
A340-60050806, 50808, 55071, and 55073.

Table 2.—Exceptions to Applicability

Airplane modelAirbus Service Bulletins installed in service
A330A330-25-3173, Revision 01, dated August 2, 2006; and A330-25-3301, dated March 24, 2006.
A340-200, -300A340-25-4191, Revision 01, dated August 2, 2006; and A340-25-4273, dated March 24, 2006.
A340-500, -600A340-25-5004, Revision 01, dated August 2, 2006; and A340-25-5110, dated March 24, 2006.

Reason

(d) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states that several operators have reported non-automatic deployment of slide rafts during ground operational testing. In all cases, the slide raft released correctly from the door but did not inflate automatically. Pulling the manual backup handle correctly inflated the slide raft. Investigation conducted by the slide raft manufacturer showed that non-automatic deployments have two potential root causes: Non-opening of the lacing; and stiffness and stiction (static friction) on the painted inflatable material. This situation, if not corrected, could delay the evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency. A new design solution has been developed to ensure the automatic slide raft deployment, which consists of: continuous “speed lacing” cord and new soft covers with rounded grommets (this modification ensures that the lacing opens); and a new shorter firing cable, a new anchor block for the slide raft packboard and a new folding procedure (this modification ensures automatic deployment regardless of the inflatable paint condition). Both modifications together ensure the automatic deployment function. The MCAI requires accomplishment of the set of modifications.

Actions and Compliance

(e) Unless already done, do the following actions.

(1) For slide raft P/Ns 7A1508-003/-005/-007/-023/-025/-027/-029/-115; P/Ns 7A1539-003/-004/-005/-006/-007/-008/-023/-024/-025/-026/-027/-028/-029/-030/-115/ -116; P/Ns 7A1510-003/-004/-005/-006/-007/-008/-023/-024/-025/-026/-027/-028/-029/ -030/-115/-116; and P/Ns 4A3934-1/-2/-001/-002: No later than 36 months after the effective date of this AD, modify the slide raft in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-25-3173, A340-25-4191, or A340-25-5004, all Revision 01, all dated August 2, 2006; as applicable; and modify the slide raft assembly of each door in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-25-3301, A340-25-4273, or A340-25-5110, all dated March 24, 2006; as applicable.

(2) For slide raft P/Ns 7A1508-033/-035/-037/-119/-121; P/Ns 7A1539-033/-034/ -035/-036/-037/-038/-119/-120/-121/-122; P/Ns 7A1510-033/-034/-035/-036/-037/-038/ -119/-120/-121/-122; and P/Ns 4A3934-5/-6/-7/-8: No later than 36 months after the effective date of this AD, modify the slide raft assembly of each door in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-25-3301, A340-25-4273, or A340-25-5110, all dated March 24, 2006; as applicable.

FAA AD Differences

Note:

This AD differs from the MCAI and/ or service information as follows: No differences.

Other FAA AD Provisions

(f) The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, ATTN: Tim Backman, Aerospace Engineer, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. 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.

(2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

(3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in this AD, under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the information collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

Related Information

(g) Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directive 2006-0354, dated November 28, 2006; and the Airbus Service Bulletins specified in Table 3 of this AD for related information.

Table 3.—Airbus Service Bulletins

Service BulletinRevision levelDate
A330-25-317301August 2, 2006.
A340-25-419101August 2, 2006.
A340-25-500401August 2, 2006.
A330-25-3301OriginalMarch 24, 2006.
A340-25-4273OriginalMarch 24, 2006.
A340-25-5110OriginalMarch 24, 2006.
Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 23, 2007.

Stephen P. Boyd,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-8172 Filed 4-27-07; 8:45 am]

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