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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Model PC-12, PC-12/45, and PC-12/47 Airplanes

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 4497

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) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. This proposed AD would require inserting changes into the airworthiness limitations of the FAA-approved maintenance program. 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 February 25, 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 W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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 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) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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-2008-0070; Directorate Identifier 2007-CE-098-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://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

Based on the results of a full-scale fatigue test of the pitch trim actuator on Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. (Pilatus) PC-12 series airplanes, the life-limit is being extended and the time between overhaul (TBO) is being reduced. In addition, based on the result of the fatigue test, a life-limit of the pitch trim actuator attachment has been established.

These new limitations have been incorporated into the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Pilatus PC-12 Airplane Maintenance Manual (AMM) 12-A/AMP-04, chapter 4, revision 10, dated October 26, 2007. The life-limit of the pitch trim actuator has been increased based on the owner/operator complying with the new reduced TBO of 5,000 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 5 years, whichever occurs first.

The new limitations for the pitch trim actuator TBO have been moved from Chapter 5: Time Limits/Maintenance Checks, to Chapter 4: Structural, Component and Miscellaneous—Airworthiness Limitations. Since both chapter 4 and chapter 5 are mandatory within the European and Swiss airworthiness systems, it is not necessary for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) to issue an AD to mandate these new limitations.

Proposing AD action is the only way the FAA can mandate change to the airworthiness limitations section of an FAA-approved maintenance program.

If these new limitations are not mandated, the pitch trim actuator and the pitch trim actuator components could fail. This failure could lead to an unsafe flying configuration.

Revisions to the Airworthiness Limitations section of AMM 12-A/AMP-04 incorporate the following:

  • TBO for the pitch trim actuator is reduced from 6,000 hours TIS or 5 years, whichever occurs first, to 5,000 hours TIS or 5 years, whichever occurs first;
  • The life-limit for the pitch trim actuator is increased from 10,000 hours TIS or 13,500 flights, whichever occurs first, to 20,000 hours TIS or 27,000 flights, whichever occurs first; and
  • A life-limit of 10,000 hours TIS is introduced for the pitch trim actuator attachment parts.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the 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 this State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design. Start Printed Page 4498

Differences Between This Proposed 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

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 500 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about .5 work-hour 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 $20,000, or $40 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions (the replacements required by the limitations changes) would take about 3.5 work-hours and require parts costing $11,960, for a cost of $12,240 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:

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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.

End Authority
[Amended]

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

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.: Docket No. FAA-2008-0070; Directorate Identifier 2007-CE-098-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by February 25, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Models PC-12, PC-12/45, and PC-12/47 airplanes, all serial numbers, certificated in any category.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 27: Flight Controls.

Reason

(e) This 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. We are issuing this AD to mandate new life-limits for the pitch trim actuator and pitch trim actuator attachment parts. If these new limitations are not mandated, the pitch trim actuator and the pitch trim actuator components could fail. This failure could lead to an unsafe flying configuration.

Actions and Compliance

(f) Unless already done, do the following within the next 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

(1) Insert unclassified document 12-A/AMP-04, Structural, Component and Miscellaneous—Airworthiness Limitations, 12-A-04-00-00-00A-000A-A, dated October 26, 2007 (Pilatus PC-12 Airplane Maintenance Manual, Chapter 4), into the airworthiness limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual). You may use any future amendment to this airworthiness limitations section provided it does not change the inspection intervals, requirements, or the life-limits for the pitch trim actuator and pitch trim actuator attachment parts of the document referenced above. The owner/operator holding at least a private pilot certificate as authorized by section 43.7 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 43.7) may do this action. Make an entry in the aircraft records showing compliance with this portion of the AD following section 43.9 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 43.9).

(2) In order to avoid confusion with the new pitch trim actuator limitations now contained in chapter 4 (previously contained in chapter 5) make pen and ink changes in chapter 5 and line through references to limitations for the pitch trim actuator.

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, Standards 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: Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090. 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 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has Start Printed Page 4499approved the information collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

Start Signature

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 17, 2008.

James E. Jackson,

Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-1245 Filed 1-24-08; 8:45 am]

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