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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A318, A319, A320, and A321 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the products listed above. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing Start Printed Page 1647airworthiness 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:

One case of elevator servo-control disconnection has been experienced on an aircraft of the A320 family. Failure occurred at the servo-control rod eye-end. Further to this finding, additional inspections have revealed cracking at the same location on a number of other servo-control rod eye-ends. In one case, both actuators of the same elevator surface were affected. * * *

A dual servo-control disconnection on the same elevator could result in an uncontrolled surface, the elevator surface being neither actuated nor damped, which could lead to reduced control of the aircraft.

* * * * *

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 February 12, 2009.

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.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; e-mail: account.airworth-eas@airbus.com; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221 or 425-227-1152.

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:

Tim Dulin, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2141; 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-2009-0004; Directorate Identifier 2008-NM-160-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

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2008-0149, dated August 5, 2008 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

One case of elevator servo-control disconnection has been experienced on an aircraft of the A320 family. Failure occurred at the servo-control rod eye-end. Further to this finding, additional inspections have revealed cracking at the same location on a number of other servo-control rod eye-ends. In one case, both actuators of the same elevator surface were affected. The root cause of the cracking has not yet been determined and tests are ongoing. It is anticipated that further actions will be required.

A dual servo-control disconnection on the same elevator could result in an uncontrolled surface, the elevator surface being neither actuated nor damped, which could lead to reduced control of the aircraft.

For the reason described above, this AD requires a one-time inspection [for cracking] of the elevator servo-control rod eye-ends and, in case of findings, the accomplishment of corrective actions.

The corrective actions include replacing any cracked rod eye end with a serviceable unit and re-adjusting the elevator servo-control. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued All Operators Telex A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008. 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 policies. 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 730 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 13 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 $759,200, or $1,040 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, Start Printed Page 1648section 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

End 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:

Start Authority

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

End Authority
[Amended]

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

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2009-0004; Directorate Identifier 2008-NM-160-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by February 12, 2009.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122; A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133; A320-111, -211, -212, -214, -231, -232, -233; and A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 series airplanes; certificated in any category; all manufacturer serial numbers.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 27: Flight controls.

Reason

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

One case of elevator servo-control disconnection has been experienced on an aircraft of the A320 family. Failure occurred at the servo-control rod eye-end. Further to this finding, additional inspections have revealed cracking at the same location on a number of other servo-control rod eye-ends. In one case, both actuators of the same elevator surface were affected. The root cause of the cracking has not yet been determined and tests are ongoing. It is anticipated that further actions will be required.

A dual servo-control disconnection on the same elevator could result in an uncontrolled surface, the elevator surface being neither actuated nor damped, which could lead to reduced control of the aircraft.

For the reason described above, this AD requires a one-time inspection [for cracking] of the elevator servo-control rod eye-ends and, in case of findings, the accomplishment of corrective actions.

The corrective actions include replacing any cracked rod eye-end with a serviceable unit and re-adjusting the elevator servo-control.

Actions and Compliance

(f) Unless already done after the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, do the following actions.

(1) Not before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, and at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (f)(1)(ii) of this AD: Inspect both the left-hand and right-hand inboard elevator servo-control rod eye-ends for cracking in accordance with the instructions of Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008.

(i) Within 1,500 flight cycles or 200 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first.

(ii) Within 1,500 flight cycles or 200 days after accumulating 10,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first.

(2) Not before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, and at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (f)(2)(i) and (f)(2)(ii) of this AD: Inspect both the left-hand and right-hand outboard elevator servo-control rod eye-ends for cracking, in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008.

(i) Within 3,000 flight cycles or 400 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first.

(ii) Within 3,000 flight cycles or 400 days after accumulating 10,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first.

(3) If any cracking is found during any inspection required by this AD, before further flight, accomplish all applicable corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008.

(4) Submit a report of the findings of the inspection required by paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this AD to Airbus in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008, at the applicable time specified in paragraph (f)(4)(i) or (f)(4)(ii) 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 has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

(i) If the inspection was done after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 40 days after the inspection.

(ii) If the inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 40 days after the effective date of this AD.

(5) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install on any airplane an elevator servo-control rod eye-end unless it has been inspected in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008.

FAA AD Differences

Note 1:

This AD differs from the MCAI and/or service information as follows: No differences.

Other FAA AD Provisions

(g) The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, 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: Tim Dulin, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2141; 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 Start Printed Page 1649(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

(h) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2008-0149, dated August 5, 2008, and Airbus AOT A320-27A1186, dated June 23, 2008, for related information.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 29, 2008.

Linda Navarro,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E9-456 Filed 1-12-09; 8:45 am]

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