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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A310 Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the products listed above that would supersede an existing AD. 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:

During routine visual inspection, a crack has been found in the wing MLG (main landing gear) rib 5 forward attachment lug on two A310 in-service aircraft. Laboratory examination of one of the cracked ribs confirmed that the crack is due to the presence of pitting corrosion in the forward lug holes. Also on both aircraft medium to heavy corrosion was found in the forward lugs on the opposite wing after removal of the bushes. This situation if not detected, could affect the structural integrity of the MLG attachment.

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* * * * *

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 May 7, 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Stafford, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1622; fax (425) 227-1149.

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-2008-0406; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-196-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

On December 7, 2006, we issued AD 2007-02-09, Amendment 39-14896 (72 FR 2612, January 22, 2007). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on the products listed above.

Since we issued AD 2007-02-09, the type certificate holder has developed a new inspection using ultrasonic techniques. We have determined that the existing AD must be superseded to add repair or replacement of cracked main landing gear (MLG) Rib 5, provide the new inspection as an option, and reduce the applicability of the AD to exclude airplanes on which Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090 has been done.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2007-0195, dated July 19, 2007 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

During routine visual inspection, a crack has been found in the wing MLG (main landing gear) rib 5 forward attachment lug on two A310 in-service aircraft. Laboratory examination of one of the cracked ribs confirmed that the crack is due to the presence of pitting corrosion in the forward lug holes. Also on both aircraft medium to heavy corrosion was found in the forward lugs on the opposite wing after removal of the bushes. This situation if not detected, could affect the structural integrity of the MLG attachment. As an interim measure, Airbus published Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) A310-57A2088 to introduce a repetitive detailed visual inspection (DVI) of the forward attachment lug of MLG Rib 5. EASA issued Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) 2006-0335-E [which corresponds to FAA AD 2007-02-09] to require the accomplishment of this repetitive DVI.

In order to ensure the detection of any crack at an early stage in the forward lug of the RH (right-hand) and LH (left-hand) MLG Rib 5 aft bearing attachment, the Type Certificate holder has developed a new inspection by means of ultrasonic method. For the reasons described above, this new inspection program is rendered mandatory by this AD, which cancels and replaces the requirement of EAD 2006-0335-E.

The corrective action includes repairing or replacing MLG Rib 5, as applicable. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A310-57-2090, Revision 01, dated December 19, 2007, and A310-57-2091, including Appendix 01, dated May 22, 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. 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 Start Printed Page 18724policies. 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 68 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 5 work-hours 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 $27,200, or $400 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

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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:

Start Authority

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

End Authority
[Amended]

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Amendment 39-14896 (72 FR 2612, January 22, 2007) and adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2008-0406; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-196-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by May 7, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) The proposed AD supersedes AD 2007-02-09, Amendment 39-14896.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A310 airplanes, certificated in any category, all certified models, all serial numbers; except for those where LH (left-hand) and RH (right-hand) wing MLG (main landing gear) rib 5 forward lugs have been repaired by installation of oversized interference fit bushings as per Airbus Repair Instruction R57249121, or which have had Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090 (AIRBUS modification 13329) embodied in service.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57: Wings.

Reason

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

During routine visual inspection, a crack has been found in the wing MLG (main landing gear) rib 5 forward attachment lug on two A310 in-service aircraft. Laboratory examination of one of the cracked ribs confirmed that the crack is due to the presence of pitting corrosion in the forward lug holes. Also on both aircraft medium to heavy corrosion was found in the forward lugs on the opposite wing after removal of the bushes. This situation if not detected, could affect the structural integrity of the MLG attachment. As an interim measure, Airbus published Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) A310-57A2088 to introduce a repetitive detailed visual inspection (DVI) of the forward attachment lug of MLG Rib 5. EASA issued Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) 2006-0335-E [which corresponds to FAA AD 2007-02-09] to require the accomplishment of this repetitive DVI.

In order to ensure the detection of any crack at an early stage in the forward lug of the RH (right-hand) and LH (left-hand) MLG Rib 5 aft bearing attachment, the Type Certificate holder has developed a new inspection by means of ultrasonic method. For the reasons described above, this new inspection program is rendered mandatory by this AD, which cancels and replaces the requirement of EAD 2006-0335-E.

The corrective action includes repairing or replacing MLG Rib 5, as applicable.

Restatement of Requirements of AD 2007-02-09

(f) Unless already done, do the following actions specified in paragraphs (f)(1), (f)(2), and (f)(3) of this AD in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57A2088, dated November 6, 2006.

(1) Before the accumulation of 12,000 total flight cycles, or within 14 days after February 6, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-02-09), whichever occurs later: Perform a detailed visual inspection of the LH and RH wing MLG rib 5 aft bearing forward lugs.

(2) If any crack is detected at LH and/or RH aft bearing forward lug, contact Airbus and proceed with the replacement before next flight.

(3) Repeat the inspection at intervals not exceeding 100 flight cycles.

New Requirements of this AD: Actions and Compliance

(g) Unless already done, before the accumulation of 12,000 total flight cycles or before the accumulation of 12,000 flight cycles on MLG Rib 5, or within 14 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs latest: Perform either a detailed visual inspection (DVI) or an ultrasonic inspection of the LH and RH MLG Rib 5 aft bearing forward lug for cracks, in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2091, including Appendix 01, dated May 22, 2007. If a MLG Rib 5 has been replaced on one side only, then the RH and LH must be considered separately. Doing this inspection ends the requirements of paragraph (f) for that MLG Rib 5 only.

Note 1:

The ultrasonic inspection will detect any crack at an early stage and will limit the risk of extensive repairs. This earlier crack detection is not possible with the DVI.

(1) If no crack is detected during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD: Repeat the applicable inspection at the time specified in paragraph (g)(1)(i) or (g)(1)(ii) of this AD.

(i) Repeat the DVI thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 flight cycles.

(ii) Repeat the ultrasonic inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 825 flight cycles.

(2) Replacement of the MLG Rib 5 in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090, Revision 01, dated December 19, 2007, ends the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD for that MLG Rib 5 only.

(3) If any crack is detected during the DVI required by paragraph (g) of this AD: Before further flight, contact Airbus for replacement Start Printed Page 18725instructions and replace before further flight. If MLG Rib 5 is not replaced in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090, Revision 01, dated December 19, 2007; repeat the applicable inspection in paragraph (g) of this AD at the time specified in the applicable paragraph.

(4) If any crack is detected during the ultrasonic inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, before further flight, accomplish the actions specified in paragraphs (g)(4)(i) or (g)(4)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.

(i) If any crack is not visible on MLG Rib 5: Before further flight, repair MLG Rib 5 using Repair Instruction R572-49121, Issue C, dated May 2007. After embodiment of Repair Instruction R572-49121, no further actions are required by this AD and Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2091, including Appendix 01, dated May 22, 2007, for that MLG Rib 5 only.

(ii) If any crack is visible on MLG Rib 5: Before further flight, contact Airbus for rib replacement instructions, and replace before further flight. If MLG Rib 5 is not replaced in accordance with the instructions defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090, Revision 01, dated December 19, 2007, repeat the applicable inspection in paragraph (g) of this AD at the time specified. Accomplishing the replacement defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A310-57-2090 ends the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD for that MLG Rib 5 only.

FAA AD Differences

Note 2:

This AD differs from the MCAI and/or service information as follows:

Although the MCAI or service information allows flight with cracks on aft bearing forward lugs for a certain period of time, this AD requires replacing MLG Rib 5 before further flight if any crack is found.

Although the MCAI or service information specifies submitting an inspection report sheet to Airbus, this AD would not require that action.

Other FAA AD Provisions

(h) 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: Tom Stafford, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1622; 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.

Related Information

(i) Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directive 2007-0195, dated July 19, 2007, and Airbus Service Bulletins A310-57-2090, Revision 01, dated December 19, 2007, and A310-57-2091, including Appendix 01, dated May 22, 2007, for related information.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 27, 2008.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-7163 Filed 4-4-08; 8:45 am]

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