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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330-200 Series Airplanes; Model A330-300 Series Airplanes; Model A340-200 Series Airplanes; and Model A340-300 Series Airplanes

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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:

During fatigue testing of the MLG [main landing gear], three failures of the retraction bracket occurred before the calculated life limitation. Further analysis has confirmed that those failures were due to fatigue initiated by fretting between the bush and lug bore.

The failure of the retraction bracket, if not detected, could lead to a MLG extension with no damping resulting in MLG structural damage.

* * * * *

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 21, 2011.

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 W12-140, 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-2011-0997; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-043-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 2010-0205, dated October 8, 2010 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

During fatigue testing of the MLG [main landing gear], three failures of the retraction bracket occurred before the calculated life limitation. Further analysis has confirmed that those failures were due to fatigue initiated by fretting between the bush and lug bore.

The failure of the retraction bracket, if not detected, could lead to a MLG extension with no damping resulting in MLG structural damage.

Airbus carried out an investigation, demonstrating that the life limit of retraction brackets must be reduced to 19,800 Landings (LDG), which is below the life limit stated in the following A330 and A340 Airbus ALS Part 4 revisions:

—Airbus A330 ALS Part 4 revision 02 approved by EASA on 16 December 2009.

—Airbus A340 ALS Part 4 revision 01 approved by EASA on 15 December 2009.

In order to maintain the structural integrity of the aeroplane, this [EASA] AD requires the replacement of these MLG retraction brackets before the accumulation of 19,800 total LDG.

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

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.Start Printed Page 61646

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 29 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 25 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 $200,000 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 parts. 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 $5,861,625, or $202,125 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-2011-0997; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-043-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) We must receive comments by November 21, 2011.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes; certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers; except airplanes on which Airbus modification 54500 has been embodied in production; and except airplanes on which Airbus Service Bulletin A330-32-3212 or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-32-4256 has been embodied in service; as applicable to airplane model.

Subject

(d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 32: Landing Gear.

Reason

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

During fatigue testing of the MLG [main landing gear], three failures of the retraction bracket occurred before the calculated life limitation. Further analysis has confirmed that those failures were due to fatigue initiated by fretting between the bush and lug bore.

The failure of the retraction bracket, if not detected, could lead to a MLG extension with no damping resulting in MLG structural damage.

* * * * *

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) Before the accumulation of 19,800 total landings on the retraction brackets of the main landing gear or within 900 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Replace the affected retraction bracket of the MLG specified in table 1 of this AD with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, or European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (or its delegated agent). Thereafter, before the accumulation of 19,800 total landings on any retraction bracket of the MLG identified in table 1 of this AD, replace the retraction bracket with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, or EASA (or its delegated agent).

Table 1—Retraction Bracket of the MLG

NomenclaturePart Nos.
Retraction Bracket of the MLG201478303
201478304
201478305
201478306
201478307
201478308
201428380
201428381
201428382
201428383
201428384
201428385
201428378
201428379
201428351
201428352

Note 1:

Additional guidance for the replacement can be found in Task 32-11-11-400-804-A, Removal of the MLG Retraction Bracket Assembly, and Task 32-11-11-000-804-A, Installation of the MLG Retraction Bracket Assembly, of subsection 32-11-11 of Chapter 32 of the Airbus A330 Aircraft Maintenance Manual, Revision 36, dated January 1, 2011.

Note 2:

“Total landings” are the accumulated landings since the initial entry of the MLG retraction bracket into service on any airplane.

Note 3:

The initial entry into service for the transferable systems components/items is defined as the date at which the component/item accomplishes the first flight for which it will undertake its intended function.

Start Printed Page 61647

FAA AD Differences

Note 4:

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

Other FAA AD Provisions

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

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it 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. Information may be e-mailed to: 9-ANM-116-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding 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.

Related Information

(i) Refer to MCAI Airworthiness Directive EASA 2010-0205, dated October 8, 2010, for related information.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 22, 2011.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-25570 Filed 10-4-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P