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Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 727-200 Series Airplanes Equipped with an Auxiliary Fuel Tank System Installed in Accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate SA1350NM

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.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Model 727-200 series airplanes. This AD requires deactivating auxiliary fuel tank systems installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA1350NM. This AD results from fuel tank system reviews conducted by the manufacturer that identified potential unsafe conditions for which the manufacturer has not provided corrective actions. We are issuing this AD to prevent 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.

DATES:

This AD is effective April 30, 2008.

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 AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is the Document Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeff Janusz, Aerospace Engineer, Mechanical Systems and Propulsion Branch, ACE-116W, FAA, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas 67209; telephone (316) 946-4148; fax (316) 946-4107.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to include an airworthiness directive (AD) that would apply to certain Boeing Model 727-200 series airplanes. That NPRM was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2008 (73 FR 2204). That NPRM proposed to require deactivating auxiliary fuel tank systems installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA1350NM.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We considered the comments received. Linda Pulson, a private citizen, and Boeing support the NPRM.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD as proposed.

Costs of Compliance

The following table provides the estimated costs for the 25 U.S.-registered airplanes to comply with this AD. Based on these figures, the estimated costs for U.S. operators could be as high as $162,000 to prepare and report the deactivation procedures, and $90,000 to deactivate the tank.

Estimated Costs

ActionWork hoursAverage labor rate per hourPartsCost per airplane
Report1$80None$80
Preparation of tank deactivation procedure8080None6,400
Physical tank deactivation3080$1,2003,600

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

This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD will 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 this AD:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under 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.

You can find our regulatory evaluation and the estimated costs of compliance in the AD Docket.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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2008-07-07 DTAA, Inc.: Amendment 39-15448. Docket No. FAA-2008-0013; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-230-AD.

Effective Date

(a) This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective April 30, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Boeing Model 727-200 series airplanes, certificated in any category, equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank system installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate SA1350NM.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from fuel tank system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to prevent 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.

Compliance

(e) You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.

Report

(f) Within 45 days after the effective date of this AD, submit a report to the Manager, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA. The report must include the information listed in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of 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 approved the information collection requirements contained in this AD, and assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

(1) The airplane registration and serial number.

(2) The usage frequency in terms of total number of flights per year and total number of flights per year for which the auxiliary fuel tank system is used.

Prevent Usage of Auxiliary Fuel Tank

(g) On or before December 16, 2008, deactivate the auxiliary fuel tank system, in accordance with a deactivation procedure approved by the Manager, Wichita ACO. Any auxiliary fuel tank system component that remains on the airplane must be secured and must have no effect on the continued operational safety and airworthiness of the airplane. Deactivation may not result in the need for additional Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA).

Note 1:

Appendix A of this AD provides criteria that must be included in the deactivation procedure. The proposed deactivation procedures should be submitted to the Manager, Wichita ACO as soon as possible to ensure timely review and approval, prior to implementation.

Note 2:

For technical information, contact Steve Forness, DTAA, Inc., 101 Deer Meadow Court, St. Charles, Missouri 63304; telephone (636) 928-9606; fax (314) 749-7513.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(h)(1) The Manager, Wichita ACO, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

(2) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. 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.

Material Incorporated by Reference

(i) None.

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Appendix A—Deactivation Criteria

The auxiliary fuel tank system deactivation procedure required by paragraph (g) of this AD should address the following actions.

(1) Permanently drain the auxiliary fuel tank system tanks, and clear them of fuel vapors to eliminate the possibility of out-gassing of fuel vapors from the emptied auxiliary tank.

(2) Disconnect all auxiliary fuel tank system electrical connections from the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS), float, pressure and transfer valves and switches, and all other electrical connections required for auxiliary fuel tank system operation, and stow them at the auxiliary fuel tank interface.

(3) Disconnect all auxiliary fuel tank system bleed-air connections, cap them at the bleed air source, and secure them.

(4) Disconnect all auxiliary fuel tank system fuel supply and fuel vent plumbing interfaces with airplane original equipment manufacturer (OEM) fuel tanks, cap them at the airplane tank side, and secure them. All disconnected auxiliary fuel tank system vent systems must not alter the OEM fuel tank vent system configuration or performance. All empty auxiliary fuel tank system tanks must be vented to eliminate the possibility of structural deformation during cabin decompression. The configuration must not permit the introduction of fuel vapor into any compartments of the airplane.

(5) Pull and collar all circuit breakers used to operate the auxiliary fuel tank system.

(6) Revise the weight and balance document, if required, and obtain FAA approval.

(7) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to indicate that the auxiliary fuel tank system is deactivated. Remove auxiliary fuel tank system operating procedures to ensure that only the OEM fuel system operational procedures are contained in the AFM. Amend the Limitations Section of the AFM to indicate that the AFM Supplement for the STC is not in effect. Place a placard in the flight deck indicating that the auxiliary fuel tank system is deactivated. The AFM revisions specified in this paragraph may be accomplished by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM.

(8) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable airplane maintenance manual to remove auxiliary fuel tank system maintenance procedures.

(9) After the auxiliary fuel tank system is deactivated, accomplish procedures such as leak checks, pressure checks, and functional checks deemed necessary before returning the airplane to service. These procedures must include verification that the basic airplane OEM FQIS, fuel distribution, and fuel venting systems function properly and have not been adversely affected by deactivation of the auxiliary fuel tank system.

(10) Include with the proposed deactivation procedures any relevant information or additional steps that are deemed necessary by the operator to comply with the deactivation of the auxiliary fuel tank system and return of the airplane to service.

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Issued in Renton, Washington on March 18, 2008.

Dionne Palermo,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-6058 Filed 3-25-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P