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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER Series Airplanes

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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 Boeing Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER series airplanes. This proposed AD would require installing new relay(s) and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems and certain circuit breakers through a utility bus switch, and doing other specified actions. This proposed AD results from an IFE systems review. We are proposing this AD to ensure that the flightcrew is able to turn off electrical power to IFE systems and other non-essential electrical systems through a switch in the flight compartment. The flightcrew's inability to turn off power to IFE systems and other non-essential electrical systems during a non-normal or emergency situation could result in the inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 9, 2007.

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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
  • Fax: (202) 493-2251.
  • Hand Delivery: Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 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 the service information identified in this proposed AD.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Shohreh Safarian, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 917-6418; 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 the docket number “FAA-2007-29045; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-048-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 Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is located on the ground floor of the West 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed a review of in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems on transport category airplanes. The review focused on the interface between the IFE system and airplane electrical system, with the objective of determining if any unsafe conditions exist with regard to the interface.

The type of IFE systems considered for review were those that contain video monitors (cathode ray tubes or liquid crystal displays, either hanging above the aisle or mounted on individual seat backs or seat trays), or complex circuitry (i.e., power supplies, electronic distribution boxes, extensive wire routing, relatively high power consumption, multiple layers of circuit protection, etc.). In addition, in-seat power supply systems that provide power to more than 20 percent of the total passenger seats were also considered for the review. The types of IFE systems not considered for review include systems that provide only audio signals to each passenger seat, ordinary in-flight telephone systems (e.g., one telephone handset per group of seats or bulkhead-mounted telephones), systems that have only a video monitor on the forward bulkhead(s) (or a projection system) to provide passengers with basic airplane and flight information, and in-seat power supply systems that provide power to less than 20 percent of the total passenger seats.

Items considered during the review include the following:

  • Can the electrical bus(es) supplying power to the IFE system be de-energized when necessary without removing power from systems that might be Start Printed Page 48592required for continued safe flight and landing?
  • Can IFE system power be removed when required without pulling IFE system circuit breakers (i.e., is there a switch (dedicated to the IFE system or a combination of loads) located in the flight deck or cabin that can be used to remove IFE power?)?
  • If the IFE system requires changes to flightcrew procedures, has the airplane flight manual (AFM) been properly amended?
  • If the IFE system requires changes to cabin crew procedures, have they been properly amended?
  • Does the IFE system require periodic or special maintenance?

In all, we reviewed approximately 180 IFE systems. The review results indicate that potential unsafe conditions exist on some IFE systems installed on various transport category airplanes. These conditions can be summarized as:

  • Electrical bus(es) supplying power to the IFE system cannot be de-energized when necessary without removing power from systems that might be required for continued safe flight and landing.
  • Power cannot be removed from the IFE system when required without pulling IFE system circuit breakers (i.e., there is no switch dedicated to the IFE system or combination of systems for the purpose of removing power).
  • Installation of the IFE system has affected crew (flightcrew and/or cabin crew) procedures, but the procedures have not been properly revised.

Boeing has received numerous reports of smoke or flames in the passenger cabin of Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER series airplanes. Investigation revealed that the source of the smoke and flames was the wiring for non-essential equipment in the passenger cabin. Currently, the flightcrew is not able to turn off power to the IFE system and other non-essential passenger cabin systems through utility bus switches in the flight compartment, in the event of smoke or fumes. The flightcrew's inability to turn off electrical power to the IFE system and other non-essential passenger cabin systems, if not corrected, could result in the inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or passenger cabin during a non-normal or emergency situation.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0147, dated February 20, 2003, for Model 767-400ER series airplanes. This service bulletin describes procedures for installing a new relay and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE systems and certain circuit breakers through the left utility bus switch and doing other specified actions. The other specified actions include installing a terminal module in the P87 panel, rerouting certain wires, and testing the electrical power for the video system.

We have also reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0148, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0149, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0150, dated September 21, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0151, dated September 14, 2006; for Model 767-300 series airplanes. These service bulletins describe procedures for installing new relay(s) and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE system and the IFE video and audio circuit breakers through the right utility bus switch and doing other specified actions. The other specified actions include removing certain wire(s), rerouting certain wires, and testing the passenger IFE and video systems.

We have also reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0152, dated September 29, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0153, dated September 29, 2006; for Model 767-200 and -300 series airplanes. These service bulletins describe procedures for installing new relays and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE system and the IFE video and audio circuit breakers through the right utility bus switch and doing other specified actions. The other specified actions include replacing the electrical system control panel with a new or modified control panel, installing a terminal module, removing certain wires, rerouting certain wires, and testing the passenger IFE and video systems.

We have also reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0154, dated September 26, 2002, for Model 767-200 and -300 series airplanes. This service bulletin describes procedures for installing a new relay and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE systems and certain circuit breakers through the right utility bus switch and doing other specified actions. The other specified actions include installing a terminal module in the P101 panel, rerouting certain wires, and testing the electrical power for the video system.

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 develop 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, except as discussed under “Difference Between the Proposed AD and Certain Service Bulletins.”

Difference Between the Proposed AD and Certain Service Bulletins

Boeing Service Bulletins 767-24-0147 and 767-24-0154 do not recommend a compliance time for installing the new relays and wiring. In developing an appropriate compliance time for accomplishing the actions in that service bulletin, we considered the degree of urgency associated with the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the installation (10 hours). We also considered the recommended compliance time in other service bulletins that describe accomplishing similar actions on Model 767-200 and -300 series airplanes. In light of all of these factors, we find that a 60-month compliance time represents an appropriate amount of time for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety. This difference has been coordinated with Boeing.

Costs of Compliance

There are about 316 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The following table provides the estimated costs, at an average labor rate of $80 per hour, for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD. Start Printed Page 48593

Estimated Costs

ModelBoeing Service BulletinWork hoursPartsCost per airplaneNumber of U.S.- registered airplanesU.S. fleet cost
767-400ER series airplanes767-24-014710$995$1,7952$3,590
767-300 series airplanes767-24-0148Up to 59Up to $5,079Up to $9,79900
767-300 series airplanes767-24-014949$4,077$7,997755,979
767-300 series airplanes767-24-015042$5,812$9,17219,172
767-300 series airplanes767-24-0151Up to 42Up to $10,047Up to $13,40700
767-200 and -300 series airplanes767-24-015242$12,280$15,640861,345,040
767-200 and -300 series airplanes767-24-015342$7,751$11,111555,555
767-200 and -300 series airplanes767-24-01549$1,257$1,9771019,770

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

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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 adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2007-29045; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-048-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by October 9, 2007.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Boeing Model 767-200 and -300 series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0152, dated September 29, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0153, dated September 29, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0154, dated September 26, 2002.

(2) Boeing Model 767-300 series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0148, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0149, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0150, dated September 21, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0151, dated September 14, 2006.

(3) Boeing Model 767-400ER series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0147, dated February 20, 2003.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from an in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems review. We are issuing this AD to ensure that the flightcrew is able to turn off electrical power to IFE systems and other non-essential electrical systems through a switch in the flight compartment. The flightcrew's inability to turn off power to IFE systems and other non-essential electrical systems during a non-normal or emergency situation could result in the inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin.

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.

Installing New Relays on Certain Model 767-200 and -300 Series Airplanes

(f) For the airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD: Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, install new relays and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE system and certain circuit breakers through the right utility bus switch and do all other specified actions, by accomplishing all of the applicable actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0152, dated September 29, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0153, dated September 29, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0154, dated September 26, 2002; as applicable. The other specified actions must be done before further flight after installing the new relays and wiring.

Installing New Relays on Certain Model 767-300 Series Airplanes

(g) For the airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, install new relay(s) and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to the IFE system and the IFE video and audio Start Printed Page 48594circuit breakers through the right utility bus switch and do all other specified actions as applicable, by accomplishing all of the applicable actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0148, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0149, dated September 14, 2006; Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0150, dated September 21, 2006; and Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0151, dated September 14, 2006; as applicable. The other specified actions must be done before further flight after installing the new relay(s) and wiring.

Installing New Relays on Certain Model 767-400ER Series Airplanes

(h) For the airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD: Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, install a new relay and wiring to allow the flightcrew to turn off electrical power to some of the IFE systems and certain circuit breakers through the left utility bus switch and do all other specified actions, by accomplishing all of the actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 767-24-0147, dated February 20, 2003. The other specified actions must be done before further flight after installing the new relay and wiring.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(i)(1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

(2) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 14, 2007.

Stephen P. Boyd,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-16661 Filed 8-23-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P