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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Air Tractor, Inc. Models AT-400, AT-500, AT-600, and AT-800 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2007-13-17, which applies to all Air Tractor, Inc. (Air Tractor) Models AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A airplanes. AD 2007-13-17 currently requires you to repetitively inspect the engine mount for any cracks, repair or replace any cracked engine mount, and report any cracks found to the FAA. Since we issued AD 2007-13-17, Air Tractor has learned of a Model AT-502B with a crack located where the lower engine mount tube is welded to the engine mount ring. In addition, Snow Engineering Co. has developed gussets that, when installed according to their service letter, terminate the repetitive inspection requirement. Consequently, this proposed AD would retain the inspection actions of AD 2007-13-17 for Model AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A airplanes, including the compliance times and effective dates; establish new inspection actions for the AT-400 and AT-500 series airplanes; incorporate a mandatory terminating action for all airplanes; and terminate the reporting requirement of AD 2007-13-17. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the engine mount, which could result in failure of the engine mount. Such failure could lead to separation of the engine from the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 29, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Use one of the following addresses to comment on this proposed AD:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: (202) 493-2251.
  • 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.
  • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Air Tractor Inc., P.O. Box 485, Olney, Texas 76374; telephone: (940) 564-5616; fax: (940) 564-5612.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andy McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, ASW-150, FAA San Antonio MIDO-43, 10100 Reunion Pl, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number, “FAA-2007-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-CE-090-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://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive concerning this proposed AD.

Discussion

Two reports of Model AT-802A airplanes with cracked engine mounts (at 2,815 hours time-in-service (TIS) and 1,900 hours TIS) caused us to issue AD 2007-13-17, Amendment 39-15121 (72 FR 36863, July 6, 2007). AD 2007-13-17 currently requires the following on all Air Tractor Models AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A airplanes:

  • Inspect (initially and repetitively) the engine mount for any cracks;
  • Repair or replace any cracked engine mount; and
  • Report any cracks found to the FAA. Start Printed Page 67688

Since we issued AD 2007-13-17, Air Tractor notified the FAA of a Model AT-502B airplane with a crack located where the lower engine mount tube is welded to the engine mount ring. The airplane had 8,436 total hours TIS. The cracking is similar to what prompted us to issue AD 2007-13-17.

The Model AT-502B engine mount is the same design used in the Models AT-400, AT-400A, AT-402, AT-402A, AT-402B, AT-502, and AT-503A airplanes. The Model AT-502A airplane uses the same engine mount design as the airplanes affected by AD 2007-13-17. Therefore, we determined that these airplane models should be subject to the actions of AD 2007-13-17.

Currently, the FAA is aware of the following airplanes that have had cracked engine mounts:

  • 1 Model AT-502B;
  • 3 Model AT-602; and
  • 11 Model AT-802/802A.

This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the engine mount. Such failure could lead to separation of the engine from the airplane.

In addition, Snow Engineering Co. developed gussets for an FAA-approved repair scheme to AD 2007-13-17. Snow Engineering Co. tested the engine mount with the gussets installed; and based on their test data, which has been approved by the FAA, installation of the gussets terminates the repetitive inspection requirement.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007.

The service information describes procedures for:

  • Performing a visual inspection of the engine mount for cracks;
  • Repairing the engine mount if cracks are found; and
  • Adding gussets to reinforce the engine mount and terminate the inspection requirement.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design. This proposed AD would supersede AD 2007-13-17 with a new AD that would retain the inspection actions of AD 2007-13-17 for Models AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A airplanes, including the compliance times and effective dates; establish new inspection actions for the AT-400 and AT-500 series airplanes; incorporate a mandatory terminating action for all airplanes; and terminate the reporting requirement of AD 2007-13-17. This proposed AD would require you to use the service information described previously to perform these actions.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 1,264 airplanes in the U.S. registry, including those airplanes affected by AD 2007-13-17.

We estimate the following costs to do the proposed inspection:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
1.5 work-hours × $80 per hour = $120$0$120$151,680

We estimate the following costs to do the repair/modification:

Labor costParts costTotal cost per airplaneTotal cost on U.S. operators
24 work-hours × $80 per hour = $1,920$80$2,000$2,528,000

The estimated total cost on U.S. operators includes the cumulative costs associated with AD 2007-13-17 and those airplanes and actions being added in this AD.

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.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket that contains the proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is located at the street address stated in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects Start Printed Page 67689

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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2007-13-17, Amendment 39-15121 (72 FR 36863, July 6, 2007), and adding the following new AD:

Air Tractor, Inc.: Docket No. FAA-2007-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-CE-090-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments on this airworthiness directive (AD) action by January 29, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) This AD supersedes AD 2007-13-17, Amendment 39-15121.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to the following airplane models and serial numbers that are certificated in any category:

ModelSerial numbers
AT-400, AT-400A, AT-402, AT-402A, and AT-402B-0001 through -1175.
AT-502, AT-502A, AT-502B, and AT-503A-0001 through -2597.
AT-602-0001 through -1141.
AT-802 and AT-802A-0001 through -0227.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from a report of a Model AT-502B airplane with a crack located where the lower engine mount tube is welded to the engine mount ring. The airplane had 8,436 total hours time-in-service (TIS). We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the engine mount, which could result in failure of the engine mount. Such failure could lead to separation of the engine from the airplane.

Compliance

(e) To address this problem, you must do the following, unless already done:

(1) For all airplanes with less than 5,000 hours total TIS that do not have gussets installed on the engine mount in accordance with Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007: Visually inspect the engine mount as follows:

Affected airplanesComplianceProcedures
(i) For all Models AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A airplanesInitially before the airplane reaches a total of 1,300 hours TIS or within the next 100 hours TIS after August 10, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-13-17), whichever occurs later. Repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TISFollow Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007, or Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253, revised January 22, 2007.
(ii) For all Model AT-502A airplanesInitially before the airplane reaches a total of 1,300 hours TIS or within the next 100 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later. Repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 300 hours TISFollow Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007.
(iii) For all Models AT-400, AT-400A, AT-402, AT-402A, AT-402B, AT-502, AT-502B, and AT-503A airplanesInitially within the next 12 months after the effective date of this AD. Repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 monthsFollow Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007.

(2) For all airplanes: Before further flight after any inspection required by paragraph (e)(1) of this AD where crack damage is found, repair and modify the engine mount by installing gussets following Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007. This modification terminates the repetitive inspections required in paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (e)(1)(ii), and (e)(1)(iii) of this AD.

(3) For all airplanes: Before the airplane reaches 5,000 hours total TIS after the effective date of this AD or within the next 100 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later; inspect, repair if cracked, and modify the engine mount by installing gussets following Snow Engineering Co. Service Letter #253 Rev. A, dated October 16, 2007. This modification terminates the repetitive inspections required in paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (e)(1)(ii), and (e)(1)(iii) of this AD.

Note:

As a terminating action to the repetitive inspections required in paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (e)(1)(ii), and (e)(1)(iii) of this AD, you may install the gussets before finding cracks or reaching 5,000 hours total TIS.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(f) The Manager, Forth Worth Aircraft Certification Office, 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: Andy McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, ASW-150, FAA San Antonio MIDO-43, 10100 Reunion Pl, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370. 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.

Related Information

(g) To get copies of the service information referenced in this AD, contact Air Tractor Inc., P.O. Box 485, Olney, Texas 76374; telephone: (940) 564-5616; fax: (940) 564-5612. To view the AD docket, go to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, or on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. The docket number is Docket No. FAA-2007-0258; Directorate Identifier 2007-CE-090-AD.

Start Signature
Start Printed Page 67690

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 23, 2007.

Steven W. Thompson,

Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E7-23229 Filed 11-29-07; 8:45 am]

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