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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Model Avro 146-RJ Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to supersede an existing airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Model Avro 146-RJ airplanes. The existing AD currently requires revising the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate life limits for certain items and inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures. This proposed AD would require revising the ALS of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate new and more restrictive life limits for certain items and new and more restrictive inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures. This proposed AD results from issuance of a later revision to the airworthiness limitations of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual, which specifies new inspections and compliance times for inspection and replacement actions. We are proposing this AD to ensure that fatigue cracking of certain structural elements is detected and corrected; such fatigue cracking could adversely affect the structural integrity of these airplanes.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 25, 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 W12-140, 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 British Aerospace Regional Aircraft American Support 13850 Mclearen Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171.

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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-4056; telephone (425) 227-1175; fax (425) 227-1149.

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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-2008-0909; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-363-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

On November 14, 2005, we issued AD 2005-23-12, amendment 39-14370 (70 FR 70483, November 22, 2005), for all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Model Avro 146-RJ airplanes. That AD requires revising the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate life limits for certain items and inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures. That AD resulted from issuance of a revision to the airworthiness limitations of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual, which specifies new inspections and compliance times for inspection and replacement actions. We issued that AD to ensure that fatigue cracking of certain structural elements is detected and corrected; such fatigue cracking could adversely affect the structural integrity of these airplanes.

Actions Since Existing AD Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2005-23-12, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, notified us that later revisions to Sections 05-10 and 05-20 have been issued for Chapter 5 of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM). Those sections also reference additional sections of the AMM. (The AD refers to the information included in the revised section of the AMM as the “Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS).”) The revised sections affect all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146 and Model Avro 146-RJ airplanes. In addition, those sections provide mandatory replacement times and structural inspection intervals approved under section 25.571 of the Joint Aviation Requirements and the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 25.571). As airplanes gain service experience, or as Start Printed Page 50249results of post-certification testing and evaluation are obtained, it may become necessary to add additional life limits or structural inspections to ensure the continued structural integrity of the airplane.

The EASA advises that analysis of fatigue test data has revealed that certain inspections must be performed at specific intervals to preclude fatigue cracking in certain areas of the airplane. In addition, the EASA advises that certain life limits must be imposed for various components on these airplanes to preclude the onset of fatigue cracking in those components. Such fatigue cracking, if not corrected, could adversely affect the structural integrity of these airplanes.

The EASA mandated the service information and issued airworthiness directive 2007-0271, dated October 16, 2007, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in the European Union.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the 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.

This proposed AD would supersede AD 2005-23-12 and would retain certain requirements of the existing AD. This proposed AD would also require revising the ALS of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate new and more restrictive life limits for certain items and new and more restrictive inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures.

Change to Existing AD

This proposed AD would retain certain requirements of AD 2005-23-12. Since AD 2005-23-12 was issued, the AD format has been revised, and certain paragraphs have been rearranged. As a result, the corresponding paragraph identifiers have changed in this proposed AD, as listed in the following table:

Revised Paragraph Identifiers

Requirement in AD 2005-23-12Corresponding requirement in this proposed AD
paragraph (h)paragraph (f).
paragraph (i)paragraph (h).

Costs of Compliance

The following table provides the estimated costs for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD.

Estimated Costs

ActionWork hoursAverage labor rate per hourPartsCost per airplaneNumber of U.S.-registered airplanesFleet cost
ALS Revision (required by AD 2005-23-12)1$80None$801$80
ALS Revision (new proposed action)180None80180

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 have 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 that the 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. See the ADDRESSES section for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation.

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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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends § 39.13 by removing amendment 39-14370 (70 FR 70483, November 22, 2005) and adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited (Formerly British Aerospace Regional Aircraft): Docket No. FAA-2008-0909; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-363-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by September 25, 2008.

Affected ADs

(b) This AD supersedes AD 2005-23-12.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to all BAE Systems (Operations) Limited Model BAe 146-100A, -200A, and -300A series airplanes, and Start Printed Page 50250Model Avro 146-RJ70A, 146-RJ85A, and 146-RJ100A airplanes, certificated in any category.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from issuance of a later revision to the airworthiness limitations of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM), which specifies new inspections and compliance times for inspection and replacement actions. We are issuing this AD to ensure that fatigue cracking of certain structural elements is detected and corrected; such fatigue cracking could adversely affect the structural integrity of these airplanes.

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.

Certain Requirements of AD 2005-23-12

Note 1:

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 (AMOC) according to paragraph (i) 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.

Airworthiness Limitations Revision

(f) Within 30 days after December 27, 2005 (the effective date of AD 2005-23-12), revise the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate new and more restrictive life limits for certain items and new and more restrictive inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the Civil Aviation Authority (or its delegated agent). Section 05-10-01, dated July 15, 2005, of Chapter 5 of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual is one approved method. This section references other sections of the AMM. The applicable revision level of the referenced sections is the revision level that is in effect on December 27, 2005.

New Requirements of This AD

Later Revision for Airworthiness Limitations

(g) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the ALS of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to incorporate new and more restrictive life limits for certain items and new and more restrictive inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain structures, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (or its delegated agent). Sections 05-10 and 05-20, both dated August 15, 2007, of Chapter 5 of the BAe/Avro 146 Aircraft Maintenance Manual is one approved method. Those sections reference other sections of the AMM. The applicable revision level of the referenced sections is the revision level that is in effect on the effective date of this AD. Incorporating the new and more restrictive life limits and inspections into the ALS terminates the requirements of paragraphs (f) and (g) of this AD, and after incorporation has been done, the limitations required by paragraph (f) of this AD may be removed from the ALS.

(h) Except as specified in paragraph (i) of this AD: After the actions specified in paragraph (f) or (g) of this AD have been accomplished, no alternative inspections or inspection intervals may be approved for the structural elements specified in the documents listed in paragraph (f) or (g) of this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(i) 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: Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-4056; telephone (425) 227-1175; 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.

Related Information

(j) The European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness directive 2007-0271, dated October 16, 2007, also addresses the subject of this AD.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 18, 2008.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-19714 Filed 8-25-08; 8:45 am]

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