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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited Airplanes

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited Model 4101 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of cracking found in the wing rear spar. This proposed AD would require a one-time detailed inspection for cracks, corrosion, and other defects of the rear face of the wing rear spar, and repair if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracking in the rear spar, which could propagate to a critical length, possibly affecting the structural integrity of the area and resulting in a fuel tank rupture, with consequent damage to the airplane and possible injury to its occupants.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 20, 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 BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited, Customer Information Department, Prestwick International Airport, Ayrshire, KA9 2RW, Scotland, United Kingdom; telephone +44 1292 675207; fax +44 1292 675704; email RApublications@baesystems.com; Internet http://www.baesystems.com/Businesses/RegionalAircraft/index.htm. 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:

Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1175; 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-2012-0188; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-120-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 2011-0096, dated May 25, 2011 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

Four cracks were found on a wing rear spar by an operator during a fuel leak investigation. The cracks were located between ribs 6 and 7, immediately inboard of the inboard engine rib. The cracks initiated at adjacent fastener bores in the rear spar upper boom and progressed downwards, diagonally, into the rear spar web.

Such cracking in the rear spar, if not detected and corrected, could propagate to a critical length, possibly affecting the structural integrity of the area and/or resulting in a fuel tank rupture, and consequent damage to the aeroplane and injury to its occupants.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires a one-time [detailed] inspection [for cracks, corrosion, and other defects] of the rear face of the wing rear spar and the accomplishment of the associated corrective actions [i.e., repair], depending on findings.

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

Relevant Service Information

BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited has issued Alert Service Bulletin J41-A57-029, dated May 6, 2011; and Subject 57-00-00, Wings General, of Chapter 57, Wings, of the Jetstream Series 4100 Structural Repair Manual, Volume 1, Revision 30, dated April 15, 2007. 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 3 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. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $6,375, or $2,125 per product.

We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide a cost estimates for the on-condition actions (repairing cracks, corrosion, and defects) specified in 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.

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 that 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 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:

BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited: Docket No. FAA-2012-0188; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-120-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by April 20, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited Model 4101 airplanes, certificated in any category, all models, and all serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57: Wings.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of cracking found in the wing rear spar. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking in the rear spar, which could propagate to a critical length, possibly affecting the structural integrity of the area and resulting in a fuel tank rupture, with consequent damage to the airplane and possible injury to its occupants.

(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) Detailed Inspection and Repair

Within 300 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, or before further flight if a fuel leak is detected in the vicinity of a wing rear spar, whichever occurs first: Do a detailed inspection for cracks, corrosion, and other defects (defects include scratches, dents, holes, damage to fastener holes, or damage to surface protection and finish) of the rear face of the wing rear spars, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of BAE SYSTEMS Alert Service Bulletin J41-A57-029, dated May 6, 2011.

(1) If any cracking, corrosion, or other defect is found to be within the criteria defined in Subject 57-00-00, Wings General, of Chapter 57, Wings, of the Jetstream Series 4100 Structural Repair Manual, Volume 1, Revision 30, dated April 15, 2007: Before further flight, repair the damage, in accordance with the repair instructions specified in Subject 57-00-00, Wings General, of Chapter 57, Wings, of the Jetstream Series 4100 Structural Repair Manual, Volume 1, Revision 30, dated April 15, 2007.

(2) If any cracking, corrosion, or other defect is found exceeding the criteria as specified in Subject 57-00-00, Wings General, of Chapter 57, Wings, of the Jetstream Series 4100 Structural Repair Manual, Volume 1, Revision 30, dated April 15, 2007: Before further flight, repair the condition, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, or EASA (or its delegated agent).

(h) Reporting

Submit a report of the findings of the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, including a report of no defects, to BAE SYSTEMS (Operations) Limited, Customer Information Department, Prestwick International Airport, Ayrshire, KA9 2RW, Scotland, United Kingdom; telephone +44 1292 675207; fax+44 1292 675704; email RApublications@baesystems.com; Internet http://www.baesystems.com/Businesses/RegionalAircraft/index.htm, at the applicable time specified in paragraph (h)(1) or (h)(2) of this AD.

(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.

(i) 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: Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1175; 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.

(j) Related Information

Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directive 2011-0096, dated May 25, 2011, and the service information specified in paragraphs (k)(1) and (k)(2) of this AD; for related information.

(1) BAE SYSTEMS Alert Service Bulletin J41-A57-029, dated May 6, 2011.

(2) Subject 57-00-00, Wings General, of Chapter 57, Wings, of the Jetstream Series 4100 Structural Repair Manual, Volume 1, Revision 30, dated April 15, 2007.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 27, 2012.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

[FR Doc. 2012-5379 Filed 3-5-12; 8:45 am]

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