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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330 Airplanes and A340-200 and -300 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), 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) originated 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:

All permanent fuselage skin * * * and lap joint doubler * * * repair principles published in the SRM (Structural Repair Manual) * * * have been replaced with Oct/05 Revision by updated, simplified and harmonized repair principles.

These updates led to the de-validation of some repairs and to reassess the repair inspection requirements. This situation if not corrected, can affect the aircraft structural integrity with a possible risk of decompression.

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 October 29, 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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-Start Printed Page 5510930, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
  • 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.
  • 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 Operations office 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 Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) 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, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 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-2007-29334; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-268-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 based on 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 Directives 2006-0332 and 2006-0333, both dated October 27, 2006 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

A review of the repair substantiations of the SRM (Structural Repair Manual) has been done to take into account the latest aircraft operational data (Aircraft Weight Variant and Fatigue Flight Mission Profiles). As a result, all permanent fuselage skin (Figure 202-210/213-214) and lap joint doubler (Figure 215-216) repair principles published in the SRM chapter 53-00-11, Page Block 201 have been replaced with Oct/05 Revision by updated, simplified and harmonized repair principles.

These updates led to the de-validation of some repairs and to reassess the repair inspection requirements. This situation if not corrected, can affect the aircraft structural integrity with a possible risk of decompression.

In order to maintain the structural integrity, this Airworthiness Directive (AD) renders mandatory the inspection of the fuselage to identify possible permanent skin repairs and permanent longitudinal lap joint repairs and to apply the associated corrective actions.

The corrective actions include contacting Airbus for repair/inspection instructions, and repair, as applicable, for skin repairs or longitudinal lap joint repairs that were done in accordance with the repair principles in SRM chapter 53-00-11, Page Block 201, before October 2005, or repairs that were done without using an individual repair design approval sheet provided by Airbus. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A330-53-3161, dated April 14, 2006; A330-53-3162, dated April 6, 2006; and Service Bulletins A340-53-4166 and A340-53-4167, both dated April 6, 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, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an 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 highlighted in a NOTE within the proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

Based on the service information, we estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 9 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 9 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $6,480, or $720 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 Start Printed Page 55110promoting 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-2007-29334; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-268-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by October 29, 2007.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes; all certified models, all serial numbers; certificated in any category; except those on which Airbus Modification 49144 (install rudder fly by wire) has been embodied in production.

Subject

(d) Fuselage.

Reason

(e) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states:

A review of the repair substantiations of the SRM (Structural Repair Manual) has been done to take into account the latest aircraft operational data (Aircraft Weight Variant and Fatigue Flight Mission Profiles). As a result, all permanent fuselage skin (Figure 202-210/213-214) and lap joint doubler (Figure 215-216) repair principles published in the SRM chapter 53-00-11, Page Block 201 have been replaced with Oct/05 Revision by updated, simplified and harmonized repair principles.

These updates led to the de-validation of some repairs and to reassess the repair inspection requirements. This situation if not corrected, can affect the aircraft structural integrity with a possible risk of decompression.

In order to maintain the structural integrity, this Airworthiness Directive (AD) renders mandatory the inspection of the fuselage to identify possible permanent skin repairs and permanent longitudinal lap joint repairs and to apply the associated corrective actions.

The corrective actions include contacting Airbus for repair/inspection instructions, and repair, as applicable, for skin repairs or longitudinal lap joint repairs that were done in accordance with the repair principles in SRM chapter 53-00-11, Page Block 201, before October 2005, or repairs that were done without using an individual repair design approval sheet provided by Airbus.

Actions and Compliance

(f) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, unless already done, do the following actions.

(1) For airplanes with Weight Variant (WV) greater than WV 004 and lower than or equal to WV 027 (for Model A330 airplanes) or WV 029 (for Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes): Do the actions specified in paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (f)(1)(ii) of this AD.

(i) Perform a detailed visual inspection of the fuselage outer skin for permanent skin repairs in the area between frame (FR) 54 and FR 58; and for permanent longitudinal lap joint repairs in the area between FR 53.3 and FR 58 (for Section 15, between FR 53.3 and FR 54, only in the area between stringer (STGR) 22LH (left-hand) and STGR 22RH (right-hand) upper shell); and as applicable, apply the corrective actions before further flight. Perform the actions in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3161, dated April 14, 2006; or A340-53-4166, dated April 6, 2006; as applicable.

(ii) Perform a detailed visual inspection of the fuselage outer skin for permanent skin repairs in the area between FR 18 and FR 38, and between FR 58 and FR 91; and for permanent longitudinal lap joint repairs in the area between FR 18 and FR 53.3, and between FR 58 and FR 91 (for Section 15, between FR 39 and FR 53.3, only in the area between STGR 22LH (left-hand) and STGR 22RH (right-hand) upper shell); and as applicable, apply the corrective actions before further flight. Perform the actions in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3162 or A340-53-4167, both dated April 6, 2006, as applicable.

(2) For airplanes with WV lower than or equal to WV 004: Perform a detailed visual inspection of the fuselage outer skin for permanent skin repairs in the area between FR 18 and FR 38, and between FR 54 and FR 91; and for permanent longitudinal lap joint repairs in the area between FR 18 and FR 91 (for Section 15, between FR 39 and FR 54, only in the area between STGR 22LH and STGR 22RH upper shell); and as applicable, apply the corrective actions before further flight. Perform the actions in accordance with the instructions given in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3162 or A340-53-4167, both dated April 6, 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

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

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Tim Backman, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2797; fax (425) 227-1149. 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.

(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

(h) Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directives 2006-0332 and 2006-0333, both Start Printed Page 55111dated October 27, 2006; and Airbus Service Bulletins A330-53-3161, dated April 14, 2006; A330-53-3162, dated April 6, 2006; and A340-53-4166 and A340-53-4167, both dated April 6, 2006; for related information.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 21, 2007.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E7-19258 Filed 9-27-07; 8:45 am]

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