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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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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:

Two A330 operators have reported that the guide shaft of the Refuel Isolation Valve has been broken away from the main casting and entered the fuel tank. The Supplier Investigation evidenced that water builds-up in the cavity of the Refuel Isolation Valve and freezes during flight. When refuel pressure is applied to the piston, the ice restricts the piston travel on one side leading to an asymmetric movement of the piston resulting in breakage of the guide shaft. A non-bonded metallic object within the fuel tank can result [in] a potential ignition source, which in combination with a lightning strike constitutes an unsafe condition.

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 January 18, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

  • 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 W12-40, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; fax (425) 227-1149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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-2007-0347; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-253-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://www.regulations.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 Airworthiness Directive 2007-0239, dated September 3, 2007 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

Two A330 operators have reported that the guide shaft of the Refuel Isolation Valve has been broken away from the main casting and entered the fuel tank. The Supplier Investigation evidenced that water builds-up in the cavity of the Refuel Isolation Valve and freezes during flight. When refuel pressure is applied to the piston, the ice restricts the piston travel on one side leading to an asymmetric movement of the piston resulting in breakage of the guide shaft. A non-bonded metallic object within the fuel tank can result [in] a potential ignition source, which in combination with a lightning strike constitutes an unsafe condition.

For the reasons described above, this Airworthiness Directive (AD) requires replacement of the affected Refuel Isolation Valve with a more robust valve similar to that designed for the A380.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A330-28-3103; A340-28-4120; and A340-28-5044; all dated July 17, 2007. 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. Start Printed Page 71829operators 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 34 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 14 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $8,000 per product. Where the service information lists required parts costs that are covered under warranty, we have assumed that there will be no charge for these costs. As we do not control warranty coverage for affected parties, some parties may incur costs higher than estimated here. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $310,080, or $9,120 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.

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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:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2007-0347; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-253-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by January 18, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to the Airbus Model A330 and A340 airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD; certificated in any category; all certified models; all serial numbers.

(1) Model A330 and A340 airplanes except those on which Airbus Modification 55664 has been embodied in production or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3103, A340-28-4120, or A340-28-5044 has been embodied in service.

(2) Model A330-300 series airplanes on which Airbus Modification 40176 (optional LH (left hand) coupling) has been embodied in production or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3018 (optional LH coupling) has been embodied in service; except those on which Airbus Modification 56148 has been embodied in production or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3103 has been embodied in service.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28: Fuel.

Reason

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

Two A330 operators have reported that the guide shaft of the Refuel Isolation Valve has been broken away from the main casting and entered the fuel tank. The Supplier Investigation evidenced that water builds-up in the cavity of the Refuel Isolation Valve and freezes during flight. When refuel pressure is applied to the piston, the ice restricts the piston travel on one side leading to an asymmetric movement of the piston resulting in breakage of the guide shaft. A non-bonded metallic object within the fuel tank can result [in] a potential ignition source, which in combination with a lightning strike constitutes an unsafe condition.

For the reasons described above, this Airworthiness Directive (AD) requires replacement of the affected Refuel Isolation Valve with a more robust valve similar to that designed for the A380.

Actions and Compliance

(f) Unless already done, do the following actions in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3103, A340-28-4120, or A340-28-5044, all dated July 17, 2007, as applicable.

(1) Within 18,000 flight hours from the effective date of this AD: Replace the refuel isolation valve(s); and re-identify the refuel/defuel coupling in accordance with the instructions defined in the applicable service bulletin.

(2) For refuel Isolation Valve and Refuel/Defuel Coupling Spare units: From the effective date of this AD, no person may install an affected refuel isolation valve unit or an affected refuel/defuel coupling unit as a replacement part on an aircraft, unless it has been modified in accordance with the instructions defined in the applicable service bulletin.

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: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; 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 Start Printed Page 71830a 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 Directive 2007-0239, dated September 3, 2007, and Airbus Service Bulletins A330-28-3103, A340-28-4120, and A340-28-5044, all dated July 17, 2007, for related information.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 10, 2007.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-24519 Filed 12-18-07; 8:45 am]

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