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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.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the products listed above. 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:

Following scheduled maintenance, an A310 operator reported finding cracks around the wing top skin panels fastener holes at Rib 2 (LH or RH) [left-hand or right-hand], between stringers 2 and 14 on some of its aircraft.

This condition, if not corrected, may lead to degradation of the structure in this area. An inspection programme is necessary to restore and retain the structural integrity.

* * * * *

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 September 24, 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, Airbus SAS-EAW (Airworthiness Office), 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; 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:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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-2009-0717; Directorate Identifier 2009-NM-002-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, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2008-0211, dated December 4, 2008 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

Following scheduled maintenance, an A310 operator reported finding cracks around the wing top skin panels fastener holes at Rib 2 (LH or RH) [left-hand or right-hand], between stringers 2 and 14 on some of its aircraft.

This condition, if not corrected, may lead to degradation of the structure in this area. An inspection programme is necessary to restore and retain the structural integrity.

For the reason described above, this AD requires the implementation of an inspection programme that will ensure that any visible cracks in the wing top skin panels 1 and 2 along Rib 2 are detected in time and repaired appropriately.

Note: The General Visual Inspection requested by the existing and applicable Airworthiness Limitation Items (ALI) tasks may not be adequate to detect these cracks.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-57-2096, dated May 6, 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 66 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 2 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 $10,560, or $160 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 Start Printed Page 42806detail 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:

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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:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2009-0717; Directorate Identifier 2009-NM-002-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by September 24, 2009.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes; certificated in any category.

Subject

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

Reason

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

Following scheduled maintenance, an A310 operator reported finding cracks around the wing top skin panels fastener holes at Rib 2 (LH or RH) [left-hand or right-hand], between stringers 2 and 14 on some of its aircraft.

This condition, if not corrected, may lead to degradation of the structure in this area. An inspection programme is necessary to restore and retain the structural integrity.

For the reason described above, this AD requires the implementation of an inspection programme that will ensure that any visible cracks in the wing top skin panels 1 and 2 along Rib 2 are detected in time and repaired appropriately.

Note: The General Visual Inspection requested by the existing and applicable Airworthiness Limitation Items (ALI) tasks may not be adequate to detect these cracks.

Actions and Compliance

(f) Unless already done, do the following actions:

(1) Do a detailed visual inspection around fastener holes in the wing top skin panels 1 and 2, along rib 2 between the right side and left side of the front and rear spars, at the applicable compliance time in Table 1 of this AD; as applicable to the airplane model and Short Range (SR) use, average flight time (AFT) equal to or less than 4 hours; or Long Range (LR) use, AFT exceeding 4 hours; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-57-2096, dated May 6, 2008.

Note 1:

To establish the AFT, take the accumulated flight time (counted from the take-off up to the landing) and divide by the number of accumulated flight cycles. This gives the average flight time per flight cycle.

Table 1—Compliance Times for Detailed Visual Inspection

ModelCompliance time (whichever occurs later)
(i) A310-203, A310-204, A310-221, and A310-222 airplanes(A) Prior to the accumulation of 18,700 flight cycles or 37,400 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first; or
(B) Within 430 flight cycles or 860 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD.
(ii) `SR' A310-304, A310-322, A310-324, and A310-325 short range airplanes(A) Prior to the accumulation of 17,300 flight cycles or 48,400 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first; or
(B) Within 400 flight cycles or 1,100 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD.
(iii) `LR' A310-304, A310-322, A310-324, and A310-325 long range airplanes(A) Prior to accumulation of 12,800 flight cycles or 64,300 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first; or
(B) Within 300 flight cycles or 1,450 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD.

(2) As of the effective date of this AD, if any repair has already been done as a result of finding skin cracks at rib 2 in the area to be inspected, the inspection requirements of this AD are not required for the repaired area. Instead, for previously repaired areas, continue the inspection in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (g) of this AD. The rest of the rib 2 area not covered by the repair must be inspected in accordance with the requirements of this AD.

(3) If no crack is found, repeat the inspection required by paragraph (f)(1) of this AD thereafter at the intervals not to exceed those specified in Table 2 of this AD, as applicable.Start Printed Page 42807

Table 2—Compliance Times for Repetitive Inspection Interval

ModelRepetitive inspection interval
A310-203, A310-204, A310-221, and A310-222 airplanesWithin 1,700 flight cycles or 3,500 flight hours, whichever occurs first.
`SR' A310-304, A310-322, A310-324, and A310-325 short range airplanesWithin 1,600 flight cycles or 4,600 flight hours, whichever occurs first.
`LR' A310-304, A310-322, A310-324, and A310-325 long range airplanesWithin 1,200 flight cycles or 6,100 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(4) If any crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (f)(1) or (f)(3) of this AD, before further flight, repair in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-57-2096, dated May 6, 2008. Instead, for previously repaired areas, continue the inspection in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

(5) After each inspection required by this AD, submit an inspection report in accordance with Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-57-2096, dated May 6, 2008; at the times specified in paragraphs (f)(5)(i) or (f)(5)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.

(i) If the inspection was done after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.

(ii) If the inspection was accomplished prior to the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

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, 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: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149. Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your principal maintenance inspector (PMI) or principal avionics inspector (PAI), as appropriate, or lacking a principal inspector, your local Flight Standards District Office.

(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

(h) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2008-0211, dated December 4, 2008; and Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-57-2096, dated May 6, 2008, for related information.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 17, 2009.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E9-20352 Filed 8-24-09; 8:45 am]

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