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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes). This proposed AD was prompted by reports of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks. This proposed AD would require replacing any hood halves of fuel pump canisters that are cracked. We are proposing this AD to prevent any detached canister hood fragments/debris from being ingested into the fuel feed system, and the metallic debris inside the fuel tank resulting in a potential source of ignition and consequent fire or explosion.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 9, 2012.

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-EAW (Airworthiness Office), 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: account.airworth-eas@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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.

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-2012-0144; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-152-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 2011-0124, dated June 30, 2011 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

This [EASA] AD results from findings of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks.

From the analyses, laboratory testing and examinations made so far, it is presently thought that vibration-induced fatigue can be identified as the root cause for the cracks found on in-service aeroplanes. However, current data does not yet permit to exclude some other potential contributing factors.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to detached canister hood fragments/debris to be ingested into the fuel feed system. Also, the metallic debris inside the fuel tank could result in a potential source of ignition and consequent fire or explosion.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive [detailed] inspections of all fuel pump canister hood halves and their replacement if any [cracking] damage is found. This [EASA] AD also requires the inspection results to be reported.

This [EASA] AD is considered to be an interim action. The reports that are required by this [EASA] AD will enable the manufacturer to obtain better insight into the nature, cause, and extent of the fuel pump canister hood cracking, and eventually to develop final action to address the unsafe condition. Once final action has been identified, further AD actions could be considered.

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

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Mandatory Service Bulletins A300-28-0089, A300-28-6106, and A310-28-2173, all including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, all Revision 01, all dated April 15, 2011. 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.

Costs of Compliance

Based on the service information, we estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 221 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take up to 12 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 $225,420, or $1,020 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions would take about 1 work-hour. We have no way of determining the number of products that may need these actions.

We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for certain parts required for the on-condition actions (replacing fuel pump canister hood halves) specified in this proposed 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.

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 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 proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

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

[Amended]

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

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2012-0144; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-152-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by April 9, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD; certificated in any category; all certificated models; all serial numbers.

(1) Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2K-3C, B2-203, B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes.

(2) Airbus Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes.

(3) Airbus Model A300 B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes, Model A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes, Model A300 F4-605R and F4-622R airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28: Fuel.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks. We are issuing this AD to prevent any detached canister hood fragments/debris from being ingested into the fuel feed system, and the metallic debris inside the fuel tank resulting in a potential source of ignition and consequent fire or explosion.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Initial Inspection and Replacement

Within 30 months after the effective date of this AD, do a detailed inspection for cracking of the fuel pump canister hood halves installed on all fuel pump canisters having part numbers (P/N) 2052C11, 2052C12, and C93R51-601, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable. If any crack is found on any fuel pump canister hood half during any inspection, before further flight, replace the fuel pump canister hood half, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

(1) For Model A300 airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011.

(2) For Model A300-600 airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011.

(3) For Model A310 airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011.

(h) Repetitive Inspections

Within 30 months after accomplishing the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 30 months, repeat the detailed inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

(i) Credit for Actions Accomplished in Accordance With Previous Service Information

Actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD in accordance with Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletins A300-28-0089, A300-28-6106, and A310-28-2173, all dated January 13, 2011, as applicable, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding action specified in this AD.

(j) Reporting to Airbus

Submit reports of the findings (both positive and negative) of the inspections required by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD to Airbus at the applicable time specified in paragraph (j)(1) or (j)(2) of this AD, using the form “Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet” provided in the service bulletin identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

(1) If the inspection was done on or after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.

(2) If the inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

(k) Other FAA AD Provisions

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. 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: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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.

(3) Reporting Requirements: A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

(l) Related Information

Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airworthiness Directive 2011-0124, dated June 30, 2011; and the Airbus mandatory service bulletins identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD; for related information.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 7, 2012.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

[FR Doc. 2012-4163 Filed 2-21-12; 8:45 am]

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