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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, and -243 Airplanes; Airbus Model A330-300 Series Airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200 and -300 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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:

[T]he FAA published SFAR 88 (Special Federal Aviation Regulation 88).

By mail referenced 04/00/02/07/01-L296 of March 4th, 2002 and 04/00/02/07/03-L024 of February 3rd, 2003 the JAA [Joint Aviation Authorities] recommended to the National Aviation Authorities (NAA) the application of a similar regulation.

The aim of this regulation is to require * * * a definition review against explosion hazards.

* * * * *

Failure of the auxiliary power unit (APU) bleed leak detection system could result in overheat of the fuel tank located in the horizontal stabilizer and ignition of the fuel vapors in that tank, which could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane. 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 November 15, 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.Start Printed Page 60656
  • 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 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. 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:

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-2010-0952; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-131-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 2010-0089, dated May 10, 2010 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

[T]he FAA published SFAR 88 (Special Federal Aviation Regulation 88).

By mail referenced 04/00/02/07/01-L296 of March 4th, 2002 and 04/00/02/07/03-L024 of February 3rd, 2003 the JAA [Joint Aviation Authorities] recommended to the National Aviation Authorities (NAA) the application of a similar regulation.

The aim of this regulation is to require all holders of type certificates for transport aircraft certified after 01 January 1958 with a capacity of 30 passengers or more, or a payload of 3,402 kg or more, to carry out a definition review against explosion hazards.

To be compliant with SFAR88/JAA INT/POL 25/12 requirements, this AD requires the installation of the updated FWC [flight warning computer] software standard which ensures correct operation of the APU bleed leak detection system before each flight.

Failure of the auxiliary power unit (APU) bleed leak detection system could result in overheat of the fuel tank located in the horizontal stabilizer and ignition of the fuel vapors in that tank, which could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

The FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled “Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements” (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (“SFAR 88,” Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).

Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC)) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to type design holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.

In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: single failures, single failures in combination with a latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action.

The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) has issued a regulation that is similar to SFAR 88. (The JAA is an associated body of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European states who have agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures.) Under this regulation, the JAA stated that all members of the ECAC that hold type certificates for transport category airplanes are required to conduct a design review against explosion risks.

We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.Start Printed Page 60657

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued the service information identified in the table below.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus Service Bulletin—Revision—Dated—
A330-31-3125OriginalDecember 31, 2008.
A330-31-3146, including Appendix 0101May 5, 2010.
A340-31-4111OriginalFebruary 5, 2007.
A340-31-412501December 9, 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 53 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 5 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $0 per product. Where the service information lists required parts costs that are covered under warranty, we have assumed that there will be no charge for these costs. As we do not control warranty coverage for affected parties, some parties may incur costs higher than estimated here. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $22,525, or $425 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.

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-2010-0952; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-131-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by November 15, 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, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes, all manufacturer serial numbers except those on which Airbus modification 51790 has been embodied in production or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-31-3066, A330-31-3082, A330-31-3093, or A330-31-3105 has been embodied in service; certificated in any category.

(2) Airbus Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes, all Start Printed Page 60658manufacturer serial numbers; certificated in any category.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 31: Instruments.

Reason

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

[T]he FAA published SFAR 88 (Special Federal Aviation Regulation 88).

By mail referenced 04/00/02/07/01-L296 of March 4th, 2002 and 04/00/02/07/03-L024 of February 3rd, 2003 the JAA [Joint Aviation Authorities] recommended to the National Aviation Authorities (NAA) the application of a similar regulation.

The aim of this regulation is to require * * * a definition review against explosion hazards.

* * * * *

Failure of the auxiliary power unit (APU) bleed leak detection system could result in overheat of the fuel tank located in the horizontal stabilizer and ignition of the fuel vapors in that tank, which could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.

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.

Actions

(g) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, do the applicable actions specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD.

(1) For Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes: Install flight warning computer (FWC) software standard T3 (part number (P/N) LA2E20202T30000) on both FWCs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-31-3146, including Appendix 01, Revision 01, dated May 5, 2010.

(2) For Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes: Install FWC software standard L11 (P/N LA2E0060D110000) on both FWCs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A340-31-4125, Revision 01, dated December 9, 2008.

(h) Prior to or concurrently with accomplishing the corresponding requirements of paragraph (g) of this AD, install FWC software standard T2-0 in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-31-3125, dated December 31, 2008 (for Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes).

(i) Prior to or concurrently with accomplishing the corresponding requirements of paragraph (g) of this AD, install FWC software standard L10-1 in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A340-31-4111, dated February 5, 2007 (for Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes).

(j) Actions done before the effective date of this AD in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-31-3146, dated February 2, 2010; or A340-31-4125, dated October 27, 2008; are acceptable for compliance with the corresponding requirements of paragraph (g) 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

(k) 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

(l) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airworthiness Directive 2010-0089, dated May 10, 2010, and the service information identified in Table 1 of this AD, for related information.

Table 1—Related Service Information

Airbus Service Bulletin—Revision—Dated—
A330-31-3125OriginalDecember 31, 2008.
A330-31-3146, including Appendix 0101May 5, 2010.
A340-31-4111OriginalFebruary 5, 2007.
A340-31-412501December 9, 2008.
Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington on September 23, 2010.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2010-24711 Filed 9-30-10; 8:45 am]

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