Final rule; request for comments.
We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A340-600 series airplanes. This AD requires modifying the fire extinguishing system from a three-bottles solution with 4 flow metering compact unit into a two-bottles solution with 2 flow metering systems equipped with upgraded water absorbing filter elements. This AD was prompted by reports of partial blockage of a certain water absorbing filter element. We are issuing this AD to prevent partial blockage of a certain water absorbing filter element, which could lead to reduction of the halon outflow, which leads to incapacity to maintain fire extinguishing agent concentration. Combined with fire, this condition could result in an uncontrolled fire in the affected compartment.
This AD becomes effective February 28, 2012.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in the AD as of February 28, 2012.
We must receive comments on this AD by March 29, 2012.
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.
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.
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.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2010-0255, dated December 6, 2010 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:
During the qualification test campaign of the prototype Flow Metering Compact Unit (FMCU) Part Number (P/N) QA07907-03, partial blockage of the water absorbing filter element P/N QA06123 was observed several times. The blockage was created by carbon debris from the cartridge and from the burst disc of the Halon bottle.
This water absorbing filter element is part of the FMCU, which are part of the Lower Deck Cargo Compartment (LDCC) fire extinguisher system used in some A340-600 aeroplanes.
Blockage of the water absorbing filter element could lead to reduction of the Halon outflow, leading to incapacity to maintain fire extinguishing agent concentration. Combined with fire, this condition could result in an uncontrolled fire in the affected compartment, which would constitute an unsafe condition.
To avoid water absorbing filter element blockage, this [EASA] AD requires to convert the fire extinguishing system from the three-bottles-system with 4 FMCU into a two-bottles-system with 2 Flow Metering Systems (FMS) equipped with upgraded water absorbing filter elements.
You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.
Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-26-5020, including Appendix 01, dated June 3, 2010. 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 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.
There are no products of this type currently registered in the United States. However, this rule is necessary to ensure that the described unsafe condition is addressed if any of these products are placed on the U.S. Register in the future.
FAA's Determination of the Effective Date
Since there are currently no domestic operators of this product, notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are unnecessary.
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-2012-0112; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-055-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, 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.
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);
3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and
4. 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.
Adoption of the Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:
2012-03-10 Airbus: Amendment 39-16952; Docket No. FAA-2012-0112; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-055-AD.
(a) Effective Date
This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective February 28, 2012.
(b) Affected ADs
This AD applies to Airbus Model A340-642 airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers on which Airbus modification 47090 has been embodied in production; except those on which Airbus modification 51065 has been embodied in production.
Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 26: Fire Protection.
This AD was prompted by reports of partial blockage of a certain water absorbing filter element. We are issuing this AD to prevent partial blockage of a certain water absorbing filter element, which could lead to reduction of the halon outflow, which leads to incapacity to maintain fire extinguishing agent concentration. Combined with fire, this condition could result in an uncontrolled fire in the affected compartment.
You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.
Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, modify the fire extinguishing system from a three-bottles solution with 4 flow metering compact unit, into a two-bottles solution with 2 flow metering systems equipped with upgraded water absorbing filter elements, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-26-5020, including Appendix 01, dated June 3, 2010.
(h) Other FAA AD Provisions
The following provisions also apply to this AD:
(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, 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 emailed 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.
(i) Related Information
Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2010-0255, dated December 6, 2010; and Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-26-5020, including Appendix 01, dated June 3, 2010; for related information.
(j) Material Incorporated by Reference
(1) You must use the following service information to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the following service information under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51:
(i) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-26-5020, including Appendix 01, dated June 3, 2010.
(2) For service information identified in this 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; email airworthiness.A330-A340@airbus.com; Internet http://www.airbus.com.
(3) You may review copies of the 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.
(4) You may also review copies of the service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 3, 2012.
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-3116 Filed 2-10-12; 8:45 am]
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