Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
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:
Fuel system reassessment, performed according to RBHA-E88/SFAR-88 (Regulamento Brasileiro de Homologacao Aeronautica 88/Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88), requires the inclusion of new maintenance tasks in the Critical Design Configuration Control Limitations (CDCCL) and in the Fuel System Limitations (FSL), Start Printed Page 9498necessary to preclude ignition sources in the fuel system. * * *
The proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address the unsafe condition described in the MCAI.
We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 24, 2008.
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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1405; fax (425) 227-1149.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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-2008-0182; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-262-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.
The Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC), which is the aviation authority for Brazil, has issued Brazilian Airworthiness Directive 2007-08-02, effective September 27, 2007 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:
Fuel system reassessment, performed according to RBHA-E88/SFAR-88 (Regulamento Brasileiro de Homologacao Aeronautica 88/Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88), requires the inclusion of new maintenance tasks in the Critical Design Configuration Control Limitations (CDCCL) and in the Fuel System Limitations (FSL), necessary to preclude ignition sources in the fuel system. * * *
The corrective action is revising the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) to incorporate new limitations for fuel tank systems. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.
The FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled “Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements” (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (“SFAR 88,” Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).
Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC)) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to type design holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.
In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: Single failures, single failures in combination with a latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action.
We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.
Relevant Service Information
EMBRAER has issued Sections A2.5.2, Fuel System Limitation Items, and A2.4, Critical Design Configuration Control Limitation (CDCCL), of Appendix 2 of Embraer EMB-135/ERJ-140/EMB-145 Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR) MRB-145/1150, Revision 10, dated August 4, 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.
Explanation of Compliance Time
In most ADs, we adopt a compliance time allowing a specified amount of time after the AD's effective date. In this case, however, the FAA has already issued regulations that require operators to revise their maintenance/inspection programs to address fuel tank safety issues. The compliance date for these regulations is December 16, 2008. To Start Printed Page 9499provide for coordinated implementation of these regulations and this proposed AD, we are using this same compliance date in this proposed AD.
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 704 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 1 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 $56,320, or $80 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.
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 39End 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:
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:
Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket No. FAA-2008-0182; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-262-AD.
Comments Due Date
(a) We must receive comments by March 24, 2008.
(c) This AD applies to Embraer Model EMB-135ER, -135KE, -135KL, and -135LR airplanes, and Model EMB-145, -145ER, -145MR, -145LR, -145XR, -145MP, and -145EP airplanes; certificated in any category; except for Model EMB-145LR airplanes modified according to Brazilian Supplemental Type Certificate 2002S06-09, 2002S06-10, or 2003S08-01.
This AD requires revisions to certain operator maintenance documents to include new inspections. Compliance with these inspections is required by 14 CFR 91.403(c). For airplanes that have been previously modified, altered, or repaired in the areas addressed by these inspections, the operator may not be able to accomplish the inspections described in the revisions. In this situation, to comply with 14 CFR 91.403(c), the operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance according to paragraph (g) of this AD. The request should include a description of changes to the required inspections that will ensure the continued operational safety of the airplane.
(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28: Fuel.
(e) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states:
Fuel system reassessment, performed according to RBHA-E88/SFAR-88, requires the inclusion of new maintenance tasks in the Critical Design Configuration Control Limitations (CDCCL) and in the Fuel System Limitations (FSL), necessary to preclude ignition sources in the fuel system. * * *
The corrective action is revising the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) to incorporate new limitations for fuel tank systems.
Actions and Compliance
(f) Unless already done, do the following actions.
(1) The term “MRBR,” as used in this AD, means the Embraer EMB-135/ERJ-140/EMB-145 Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR) MRB-145/1150, Revision 10, dated August 4, 2006.
(2) Before December 16, 2008, revise the ALS of the ICA to incorporate Section A2.5.2, Fuel System Limitation Items, of Appendix 2 of the MRBR. For all tasks identified in Section A2.5.2 of Appendix 2 of the MRBR, the initial compliance times start from the later of the times specified in paragraphs (f)(2)(i) and (f)(2)(ii) of this AD; and the repetitive inspections must be accomplished thereafter at the interval specified in Section A2.5.2 of Appendix 2 of the MRBR, except as provided by paragraphs (f)(4) and (g) of this AD.
(i) The effective date of this AD.
(ii) The date of issuance of the original Brazilian standard airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original Brazilian export certificate of airworthiness.
(3) Before December 16, 2008, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, revise the ALS of the ICA to incorporate items 1, 2, and 3 of Section A2.4, Critical Design Configuration Control Limitation (CDCCL), of Appendix 2 of the MRBR.
(4) After accomplishing the actions specified in paragraphs (f)(2) and (f)(3) of this AD, no alternative inspections, inspection intervals, or CDCCLs may be used unless the inspections, intervals, or CDCCLs are part of a later revision of Appendix 2 of the MRBR that is approved by the Manager, ANM-116, FAA, or ANAC (or its delegated agent); or unless the inspections, intervals, or CDCCLs are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (g) of this AD. Start Printed Page 9500
FAA AD Differences
This AD differs from the MCAI and/or service information as follows: The MCAI specifies a compliance date of “Before December 31, 2008” for doing the ALI revisions. We have already issued regulations that require operators to revise their maintenance/inspection programs to address fuel tank safety issues. The compliance date for these regulations is December 16, 2008. To provide for coordinated implementation of these regulations and this AD, we are using this same compliance date in this AD.
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, 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: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1405; 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.
(h) Refer to MCAI Brazilian Airworthiness Directive 2007-08-02, effective September 27, 2007; and Sections A2.5.2, Fuel System Limitation Items, and A2.4, Critical Design Configuration Control Limitation (CDCCL), of Appendix 2 of the MRBR; for related information.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 13, 2008.
Stephen P. Boyd,
Assistant Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. E8-3190 Filed 2-20-08; 8:45 am]
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