Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain McDonnell Douglas airplanes listed above. This proposed AD would require installing a dam assembly for the container of the fuel boost pump of the center tank located in the right main tank, and doing the related investigative actions, and corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are proposing this AD to prevent the center tank fuel boost pump from operating in a fuel vapor zone and becoming a potential ignition source in the right main tank, potentially resulting in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.
We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 15, 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 W12-140, 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, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024).
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:
William S. Bond, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5253; fax (562) 627-5210.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-2008-0736; Directorate Identifier 2008-NM-102-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.
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.Start Printed Page 44938
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.
The manufacturer has found that a potential ignition source may occur in the boost pump container of the center fuel tank located in the right main tank. When the center fuel tank level is low, fuel from the boost pump container of the center fuel tank is drained allowing pumps to operate in a fuel vapor zone. Installing a dam in the boost pump container of the center fuel tank raises the retained fuel level in the container, keeping the boost pumps and connectors submerged in fuel. When the center fuel tank level is low, this condition, if not corrected, could cause a potential ignition source if a pump motor case or connector burn through occurred, resulting in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.
Relevant Service Information
We have reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-28-216, dated March 18, 2008. The service bulletin describes procedures for installing a dam assembly for the container of the fuel boost pump of the center tank located in the right main tank and doing the related investigative and applicable corrective actions. The related investigative action is doing a leak check on the installation, and the applicable corrective action is reapplying sealant to repair any leak detected.
FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD
We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these same type designs. This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 413 airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 3 or 7 work-hours per product, depending on airplane configuration, to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per work-hour. Required parts would cost $1,142 or $1,697 per product, depending on configuration of the airplane. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD to the U.S. operators to be $570,766 or $932,141, or $1,382 or $2,257 per product, depending on configuration of the airplane.
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.
You can find our regulatory evaluation and the estimated costs of compliance 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:
McDonnell Douglas: Docket No. FAA-2008-0736; Directorate Identifier 2008-NM-102-AD.
Comments Due Date
(a) We must receive comments by September 15, 2008.
(c) This AD applies to McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-14, DC-9-15, DC-9-15F, DC-9-21, DC-9-31, DC-9-32, DC-9-32 (VC-9C), DC-9-32F, DC-9-33F, DC-9-34, DC-9-34F, DC-9-32F (C-9A, C-9B), DC-9-41, and DC-9-51 airplanes, certificated in any category; as identified in Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-28-216, dated March 18, 2008.
(d) This AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to prevent the center tank fuel boost pump from operating in a fuel vapor zone and becoming a potential ignition source in the right main tank, potentially resulting in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.
(e) Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.
Install Dam Assembly
(f) Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD, install a dam assembly for the container of the fuel boost pump of the center tank located in the right main tank, and do the related investigative and applicable corrective actions, by accomplishing all the actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin DC9-28-216, dated March 18, 2008. Do the applicable corrective actions before further flight.
Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)
(g)(1) The Manager, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, ATTN: William S. Bond, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5253; fax (562) 627-5210; 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, Start Printed Page 44939notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 23, 2008.
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. E8-17620 Filed 7-31-08; 8:45 am]
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