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Airworthiness Directives; SICLI Halon 1211 Portable Fire Extinguishers as Installed on Various Airplanes and Rotorcraft

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the products listed above. This 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:

The Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom (UK) has informed EASA [European Aviation Safety Agency] that significant quantities of Halon 1211 gas, determined to be outside the required specification, have been supplied to the aviation industry for use in fire extinguishing equipment. * * *

* * * * *

* * * This Halon 1211 has subsequently been used to fill P/N [part number] 1708337B4 portable fire extinguishers that are now likely to be installed in or carried on board aircraft.

The contaminated nature of this gas, when used against a fire, may provide reduced fire suppression, endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. In addition, Start Printed Page 7343extinguisher activation may lead to release of toxic fumes, possibly causing injury to aircraft occupants.

* * * * *

This AD requires actions that are intended to address the unsafe condition described in the MCAI.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective March 8, 2010.

We must receive comments on this AD by April 5, 2010.

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.

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 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For transport airplanes: 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.

For small airplanes: Leslie B. Taylor, Aerospace Engineer, Standards Staff, Small Airplane Directorate, FAA, 901 Locust Street, Room 301, Kansas City, MO 64106; telephone (816) 329-4134; fax (816) 329-4090.

For rotorcraft: DOT/FAA Southwest Region, J.R. Holton, Jr., ASW-112, Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137; telephone (817) 222-4964; fax (817) 222-5961.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued Airworthiness Directive 2009-0278, dated December 22, 2009, (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

The Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom (UK) has informed EASA that significant quantities of Halon 1211 gas, determined to be outside the required specification, have been supplied to the aviation industry for use in fire extinguishing equipment. Halon 1211 (BCF) is used in portable fire extinguishers, usually fitted or stowed in aircraft passenger cabins and flight decks.

EASA published Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) 2009-39 on 23 October 2009 to make the aviation community aware of this safety concern.

The results of the ongoing investigation have now established that LyonTech Engineering Ltd, a UK-based company, has supplied further consignments of Halon 1211 (BCF) to SICLI that do not meet the required specification. This Halon 1211 has subsequently been used to fill P/N [part number] 1708337B4 portable fire extinguishers that are now likely to be installed in or carried on board aircraft.

The contaminated nature of this gas, when used against a fire, may provide reduced fire suppression, endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. In addition, extinguisher activation may lead to release of toxic fumes, possibly causing injury to aircraft occupants.

For the reason described above, this EASA AD requires the identification and removal from service of certain batches of fire extinguishers and replacement with serviceable units.

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

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This 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 issuing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Differences Between the AD and the MCAI

We have reviewed the MCAI 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 required 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 AD.

FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because contaminated Halon 1211 gas has been used to fill certain portable fire extinguishers that are now likely to be installed in or carried on board aircraft. Contaminated Halon 1211 gas, when used against a fire, may have reduced fire suppression capabilities, endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. In addition, extinguisher activation may release toxic fumes, possibly causing injury to aircraft occupants. Therefore, we determined that notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2010-0126; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-015-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this 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 AD.

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 7344section 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 AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD will 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 AD:

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 AD and placed it in the AD docket.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39