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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 747-400, -400D, and -400F Series Airplanes

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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 certain Boeing Model 747-400, -400D, and -400F series airplanes. This proposed AD would require performing repetitive operational tests of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, and other related testing if necessary. This proposed AD results from a report of in-service occurrences of loss of fuel system suction feed capability, followed by total loss of pressure of the fuel feed system. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct failure of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, which could result in multi-engine flameout, inability to restart the engines, and consequent forced landing of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 21, 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.Start Printed Page 32249
  • 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.

For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207.

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:

Sue Lucier, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 917-6438; fax (425) 917-6590.

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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-2008-0620; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-357-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

We have received a report of in-service occurrences of loss of fuel system suction feed capability, followed by total loss of pressure of the fuel feed system. This condition, if not corrected, could result in multi-engine flameout, inability to restart the engines, and consequent forced landing of the airplane.

FAA's Conclusions

We have determined that it is necessary to require an operational test of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, and other related testing, as applicable. Procedures for doing the operational test can be found in the maintenance manual. The other related testing is for airplanes on which deterioration in the engine RPM is found on one or both of the engines during the operational test. Failure of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system could result in the unsafe condition described previously.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

We are proposing this AD because we have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of this same type design. This proposed AD would require performing repetitive operational tests of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, and other related testing if necessary.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 79 airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take 1 work-hour per product, per test, to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD to the U.S. operators to be $6,320, or $80 per product, per test.

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.

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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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:

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2008-0620; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-357-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by July 21, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Boeing Model 747 -400, -400D, and -400F series airplanes, certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from a report of in-service occurrences of loss of fuel system suction feed capability, followed by total loss of pressure of the fuel feed system. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct failure of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, which could result in multi-engine flameout, inability to restart the engines, and consequent forced landing of the airplane.Start Printed Page 32250

Compliance

(e) Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

Operational Test/Other Related Testing

(f) Within 30,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, perform an operational test of the engine fuel suction feed of the fuel system, and perform all other related testing, as applicable, before further flight, according to a method approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA. One approved method is the operational test in Section 28-22-00, titled “Engine Fuel Feed System—Description and Operation,” of the Boeing 747 Aircraft Maintenance Manual; and Boeing 747-400 Task Card 28-022-04-01, titled “Operationally Check the Engine Fuel Suction Feed System,” dated June 18, 2007. Repeat the operational test thereafter at intervals not to exceed 30,000 flight hours. Thereafter, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this AD, no alternative procedure or repeat test intervals will be allowed.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(g)(1) The Manager, Seattle ACO, FAA, ATTN: Sue Lucier, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 917-6438; fax (425) 917-6590, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using 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.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on May 16, 2008.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-12725 Filed 6-5-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P