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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to supersede an existing airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to certain Airbus Model A330-243, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes. The existing AD currently requires modifying certain cowl assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers. Since we issued that AD, the manufacturer has issued new life limits on certain thrust reverser C-duct assemblies. This proposed AD would require removing certain C-duct assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers from service at certain designated life limits, and would also add airplanes to the applicability. We are proposing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the hinges integrated into the 12 o'clock beam of the thrust reversers, which could result in separation of a thrust reverser from the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 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—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. 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:

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.

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-2012-0671; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-096-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

On December 2, 2005, we issued AD 2005-25-21, Amendment 39-14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on Airbus Model A330-243, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes equipped with Rolls-Royce RB211 TRENT 700 engines.

Since we issued AD 2005-25-21, Amendment 39-14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2011-0018, dated February 3, 2011 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI has added Model A330-243F airplanes to the applicability. The MCAI states:

The life limits of the thrust reversers C-ducts are not addressed by the definition of the structural life limits of Safe Life items as defined in the A330 Airworthiness Limitations Section—ALS Part 1. As a result, these life limits are covered by an Airworthiness Directive (AD).

These life limits are due to unexpected high fatigue loads (measured during certification tests) on the hinges integrated into the 12 o'clock beam, which forms the upper extreme edge of the thrust reverser C-Duct of Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.

The aim of the [Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile] (DGAC) France AD F-2001-528 was to mandate the life limits, depending of the modifications applied to the C-duct.

Revision 1 of the DGAC France AD F-2001-528 deferred the accomplishment threshold of the modification to be applied in-service from 6,000 flight cycles (FC) to 6,500 FC.

Revision 2 of DGAC France AD F-2001-528 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2005-25-21, Amendment 39-14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005)] was issued to update again the accomplishment threshold from 6,500 FC to 7,200 FC.

This [EASA] AD retains the requirements of DGAC France AD F-2001-528 R2, which is superseded, and adds [certain] life limits.

The action required in this proposed AD is removing certain C-duct assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers from service at certain designated life limits. This proposed AD also adds Model A330-243F airplanes to the applicability and revises the applicability to include all airplanes of the affected models. The unsafe condition is fatigue cracking of the hinges integrated into the 12 o'clock beam of the thrust reversers, which could result in separation of a thrust reverser from the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-78-3010, Revision 03, dated April 28, 2004. 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 17 products of U.S. registry. We estimate that it would take up to 48 work-hours per product to comply with the new 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 $69,360, or $4,080 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);

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 removing airworthiness directive (AD) 2005-25-21, Amendment 39-14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005), and adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2012-0671; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-096-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by August 9, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD supersedes AD 2005-25-21, Amendment 39-14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Airbus Model A330-243, -243F, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 78, Engine Exhaust.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by new life limits on certain thrust reverser C-duct assemblies. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the hinges integrated into the 12 o'clock beam of the thrust reversers, which could result in separation of a thrust reverser from the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

(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) C-Duct Assembly Removal

At the applicable compliance time specified in table 1 of this AD: Remove the applicable C-duct assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers, in accordance with a method approved by either the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (or its delegated agent). Thereafter, for any C-duct assembly of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers installed after the effective date of this AD, before the accumulation of the applicable total flight cycles specified in table 1 of this AD: Remove the C-duct assembly, in accordance with a method approved by either the Manager, International Branch, ANM 116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA (or its delegated agent).

Table 1—Part Removal Thresholds

Part No.—Compliance times at the later of the times specified—
HDTR3410L, HDTR3410R, HDTR3411L, HDTR3411R, HDTR3412R, HDTR3413RBefore the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles since the first installation of C-duct on the airplaneWithin 3 months after the effective date of this AD.
HDTR3414L, HDTR3416R, HDTR3417R that have been modified in service as specified in Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-78-3010, or Rolls-Royce Service Bulletin RB.211-78-C899, at 7,200 total flight cycles or more since first installation on an airplaneBefore the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles since the first installation of C-duct on the airplaneWithin 3 months after the effective date of this AD.
HDTR3414L, HDTR3416R, HDTR3417R that have been modified in production by Airbus Modification 47316; or modified in service as specified in Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-78-3010, or Rolls-Royce Service Bulletin RB.211-78-C899, before the accumulation of 7,200 total flight cycles since first installation on an airplaneBefore the accumulation of 25,000 total flight cycles since the first installation of C-duct on the airplaneWithin 3 months after the effective date of this AD.
HDTR3412L, HDTR3416L, HDTR3417L, HDTR3414R, HDTR3419R, HDTR3420RBefore the accumulation of 25,000 total flight cycles since the first installation of C-duct on the airplaneWithin 3 months after the effective date of this AD.
HDTR3413L, HDTR3415R, HDTR3415L, HDTR3418RBefore the accumulation of 40,000 total flight cycles since the C-duct was newWithin 3 months after the effective date of this AD.

(h) 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: 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

(1) Refer to MCAI EASA Airworthiness Directive 2011-0018, dated February 3, 2011; and Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-78-3010, Revision 03, dated April 28, 2004; for related information.

(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. 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.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 14, 2012.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

[FR Doc. 2012-15461 Filed 6-22-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P