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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330-200 and A330-300 Series Airplanes, and Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 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 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: Investigation conducted by Thales on probes revealed oil residue between the stator and the rotor parts of the AoA [angle of attack] vane position resolvers. This oil residue was due to incorrect cleaning of the machining oil during the manufacturing process of the AoA resolvers. At low temperatures, this oil residue becomes viscous (typically in cruise) causing lag of AoA vane movement. Such condition could lead to discrepant AoA measurement. If not corrected, and if two or three AoA probes were simultaneously affected and provided wrong indications of the AoA to a similar extent, it could lead to a late activation of the angle of attack protection, which in combination with light at high angle of attack would constitute an unsafe condition. 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 August 23, 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.

For Airbus service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus SAS—Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; e-mail airworthiness.A330-A340@airbus.com; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

For Thales Avionics service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Thales—Aerospace Division, 105, avenue du General Eisenhower—BP 63647, 31036 Toulouse Cedex 1, France; telephone +33 (0)5 61 19 65 00; fax +33 (0)5 61 19 66 00; Internet http://www.thalesgroup.com/​aerospace.

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.

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:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Start Printed Page 38948

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-2010-0675; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-061-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 have lengthened the 30-day comment period for proposed ADs that address MCAI originated by aviation authorities of other countries to provide adequate time for interested parties to submit comments. The comment period for these proposed ADs is now typically 45 days, which is consistent with the comment period for domestic transport ADs.

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 2010-0016R1, dated February 9, 2010 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

During Airbus Final Assembly Line reception flight tests, AoA [angle of attack] data from two different aeroplanes were found inaccurate. Inaccuracy was confirmed by flight data analysis.

Investigation conducted by Thales on the removed probes revealed oil residue between the stator and the rotor parts of the AoA vane position resolvers. This oil residue was due to incorrect cleaning of the machining oil during the manufacturing process of the AoA resolvers. At low temperatures, this oil residue becomes viscous (typically in cruise) causing lag of AoA vane movement.

Such condition could lead to discrepant AoA measurement. If not corrected, and if two or three AoA probes were simultaneously affected and provided wrong indications of the AoA to a similar extent, it could lead to a late activation of the angle of attack protection, which in combination with flight at high angle of attack would constitute an unsafe condition.

Therefore, this [EASA] AD requires a one time inspection of the Thales Avionics AoA probe P/N [part number] C16291AA in order to identify the suspect parts and to remove them from service.

This [EASA] AD revision is issued to specify that the identification of the affected AoA probes is also possible in accordance with aeroplane maintenance records data analysis.

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

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued the service bulletins specified in the following table. Thales Avionics has issued Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007, Revision 01, dated December 3, 2009. The actions described in this service information are intended to correct the unsafe condition identified in the MCAI.

Table—Applicable Service Information

ModelDocumentDate
Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-34-3232, including Appendix 01January 20, 2010.
Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-4239, including Appendix 01January 20, 2010.
Model A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-5072, including Appendix 01January 20, 2010.

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 44 products of U.S. registry. (There are currently no Model A340 airplanes on the U.S. Register.) We also estimate that it would take about 3 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $11,220, or $255 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 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.Start Printed Page 38949

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:

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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.

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[Amended]

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

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2010-0675; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-061-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by August 23, 2010.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD.

(1) Airbus Model A330-201, A330-202, A330-203, A330-223, A330-243, A330-301, A330-302, A330-303, A330-321, A330-322, A330-323, A330-341, A330-342 and A330-343 airplanes, certificated in any category; all manufacturer serial numbers, equipped with Thales Avionics angle of attack (AOA) probe having part number (P/N) C16291AA.

(2) Airbus Model A340-211, A340-212, A340-213, A340-311, A340-312, A340-313, A340-541, and A340-642 airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers, equipped with Thales Avionics AOA probe having P/N C16291AA.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 34: Navigation.

Reason

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

During Airbus Final Assembly Line reception flight tests, AoA data from two different aeroplanes were found inaccurate. Inaccuracy was confirmed by flight data analysis.

Investigation conducted by Thales on the removed probes revealed oil residue between the stator and the rotor parts of the AoA vane position resolvers. This oil residue was due to incorrect cleaning of the machining oil during the manufacturing process of the AoA resolvers. At low temperatures, this oil residue becomes viscous (typically in cruise) causing lag of AoA vane movement.

Such condition could lead to discrepant AoA measurement. If not corrected, and if two or three AoA probes were simultaneously affected and provided wrong indications of the AoA to a similar extent, it could lead to a late activation of the angle of attack protection, which in combination with flight at high angle of attack would constitute an unsafe condition.

Therefore, this [European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)] AD requires a one time inspection of the Thales Avionics AoA probe P/N C16291AA in order to identify the suspect parts and to remove them from service.

This [EASA] AD revision is issued to specify that the identification of the affected AoA probes is also possible in accordance with aeroplane maintenance records data analysis.

Compliance

(f) You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.

Inspection of AOA Probes

(g) Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, perform a detailed visual inspection of the Thales Avionics AOA probes having P/N C16291AA for a serial number identification, in accordance with the instructions of the applicable service information identified in Table 1 of this AD. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of this inspection if the serial number of the AOA probe can be conclusively determined from that review. If no AOA probe having P/N C16291AA and a serial number identified in Thales Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007, Revision 01, dated December 3, 2009, is identified during the inspection required by this paragraph of this AD, no further action is required by this AD, except for paragraph (i) of this AD.

Table 1—Applicable Service Information

ModelDocumentDate
Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-34-3232January 20, 2010.
Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-4239January 20, 2010.
Model A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanesAirbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-5072January 20, 2010.

Replacement of Identified AOA Probes

(h) If the serial number of the AOA probe identified during the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD corresponds to a suspect AOA probe specified in Thales Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007, Revision 01, dated December 3, 2009: At the applicable time specified in paragraph (h)(1) or (h)(2) of this AD, replace the affected AOA probe with a serviceable AOA probe in accordance with one of the four options specified in and in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin specified in Table 1 of this AD.

(1) For airplanes on which Airbus Modification 53368 (back-up speed scale) has been embodied in production or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-34-3213, Airbus Service Bulletin A340-34-4213, or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-34-5060, as applicable, has been embodied in service: Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD.

(2) For airplanes on which Airbus Modification 53368 (back-up speed scale) has not been embodied in production and Airbus Service Bulletin A330-34-3213, Airbus Service Bulletin A340-34-4213, or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-34-5060, as applicable, has not been embodied in service: Within 15 months after the effective date of this AD.

Parts Installation

(i) As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install, on any airplane, a Thales Avionics AOA probe having P/N C16291AA and a serial number identified in Thales Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007, Revision 01, dated December 3, 2009, unless the AOA is fitted with an inspection label stating that Thales Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007, Revision 01, dated December 3, 2009, has been accomplished.Start Printed Page 38950

FAA AD Differences

Note 1:

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

Other FAA AD Provisions

(j) 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: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; 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. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

(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 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the information collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0056.

Related Information

(k) Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directive 2010-0016R1, dated February 9, 2010, and the service information identified in Table 2 of this AD, for related information.

Table 2—Related Service Information

DocumentRevisionDate
Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-34-3232OriginalJanuary 20, 2010.
Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-4239OriginalJanuary 20, 2010.
Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-34-5072OriginalJanuary 20, 2010.
Thales Service Bulletin C16291A-34-007Revision 01December 3, 2009.
Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 25, 2010.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2010-16553 Filed 7-6-10; 8:45 am]

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