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Proposed Rule

Special Conditions: Learjet Inc., Model LJ-200-1A10 Airplane, Pilot-Compartment View Through Hydrophobic Windshield Coatings In Lieu of Windshield Wipers

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed special conditions.

SUMMARY:

This action proposes special conditions for the Learjet Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane. This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with hydrophobic windshield coatings in lieu of windshield wipers. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before November 28, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Comments on this proposal may be mailed in duplicate to: Federal Aviation Administration, Transport Airplane Directorate, Attn: Rules Docket (ANM-113), Docket No. FAA-2011-1108, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington, 98057-3356; or delivered in duplicate to the Transport Airplane Directorate at the above address. Comments must be marked: Docket No. FAA-2011-1108. Comments may be inspected in the Rules Docket weekdays, except Federal holidays, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul Bernado, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington, 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1209; facsimile (425) 227-1149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We ask that you send us two copies of written comments.

We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning these special conditions. The docket is available for public inspection before and after the comment closing date. If you wish to review the docket in person, go to the address in the ADDRESSES section of this preamble between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

If you want the FAA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this proposal, include with your comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the postcard and mail it back to you.

Background

On January 11, 2008, Learjet Inc. applied for a type certificate for a new Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane. This airplane is 68 feet long with a 65-foot wing span and accommodates up to 10 passengers. The LJ-200-1A10 airplane uses a hydrophobic windshield coating, in lieu of windshield wipers, for an unobstructed outside view from the pilot compartment.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17, Learjet Inc. must show that the Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane meets the applicable provisions of part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-123.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane must comply with the fuel-vent and exhaust-emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise-certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36, and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy pursuant to § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The Learjet Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features:

The Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane flight deck design incorporates a hydrophobic windshield coating to provide, during precipitation, an adequate outside view from the pilot compartment. Sole reliance on such a coating, without windshield wipers, constitutes a novel or unusual design feature for which the applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards. Therefore, a special condition is required to provide a level of safety equivalent to that established by the regulations.

Discussion

14 CFR 25.773(b)(1) requires a means to maintain a clear portion of the windshield for both pilots to have a sufficiently extensive view along the flight path during precipitation conditions. The regulations require this means to maintain such an area during heavy-rain precipitation at airplane speeds up to 1.5 VSR1. Hydrophobic windshield coatings may depend to some degree on airflow to maintain a clear-vision area. The heavy rain and high speed conditions specified in the current rule do not necessarily represent the limiting condition for this new technology. For example, airflow over the windshield, which may be necessary to remove moisture from the windshield, may not be adequate to maintain a sufficiently clear area of the windshield in low-speed flight or during surface operations. Alternatively, airflow over the windshield may be disturbed during such critical times as the approach to land, where the airplane is at a higher-than-normal pitch attitude. In these cases, areas of airflow disturbance or separation on the windshield could cause failure to maintain a clear-vision area on the windshield.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane. Should Learjet Inc. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include other type designs incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special Start Printed Page 63852conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on the Model LJ-200-1A10 airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

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The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

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The Proposed Special Conditions

Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions as part of the type-certification basis for Learjet Inc. Model LJ-200-1A10 airplanes.

The airplane must have a means to maintain a clear portion of the windshield, during precipitation conditions, enough for both pilots to have a sufficiently extensive view along the ground or flight path in normal taxi and flight attitudes of the airplane. This means must be designed to function, without continuous attention on the part of the crew, in conditions from light misting precipitation to heavy rain, at speeds from fully stopped in still air, to 1.5 VSR1 with lift and drag devices retracted.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 6, 2011.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-26555 Filed 10-13-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P