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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A318, A319, and A320 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of a torn out aspirator due to the aspirator interfering with the extrusion lip of the off-wing escape slide (OWS) enclosure during the initial stage of the deployment sequence. This AD requires modifying the OWS enclosures on both sides. We are issuing this AD to prevent both off-wing exits from being inoperative, which, during an emergency, would impair the safe evacuation of occupants, possibly resulting in personal injuries.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective October 22, 2012.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of October 22, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1405; fax (425) 227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to include an AD that would apply to the specified products. That SNPRM was published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34283). That SNPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

One operator has reported a torn out aspirator following scheduled (for on-ground testing purposes) deployment of the Left Hand (LH) OWS [off-wing escape slide].

Investigations have revealed that the aspirator of the off-wing ramp/slide system interferes with the extrusion lip of the OWS enclosure during the initial stage of the deployment sequence.

This condition, if not corrected, could result in both LH and Right Hand (RH) off-wing exits being unserviceable which, during an emergency, would impair the safe evacuation of occupants, possibly resulting in personal injuries.

For the reasons described above, this [European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)] AD requires the modification of the OWS enclosures on both sides.

* * * * *

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

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the SNPRM (77 FR 34283, June 11, 2012) or on the determination of the cost to the public.

Conclusion

We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD as proposed—except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

  • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the SNPRM (77 FR 34283, June 11, 2012) for correcting the unsafe condition; and
  • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the SNPRM (77 FR 34283, June 11, 2012).

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD will affect about 694 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it will take about 14 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts will cost about $0 per product. Where the service information lists required parts costs that are covered under warranty, we have assumed that there will be no charge for these parts. As we do not control warranty coverage for affected parties, some parties may incur costs higher than estimated here. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD to the U.S. operators to be $825,860, or $1,190 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 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 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 AD and placed it in the AD docket.

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 the NPRM (76 FR 67625, November 2, 2011), SNPRM (77 FR 34283, June 11, 2012), 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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:

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

[Amended]

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

2012-18-12 Airbus: Amendment 39-17189. Docket No. FAA-2011-1167; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-058-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective October 22, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; and Model A320-111, -211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; certificated in any category; all manufacturer serial numbers; except for airplanes on which off-wing escape slides (OWS) having part number (P/N) D31865-111 and P/N D31865-112 are installed.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 25: Equipment/furnishings.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of a torn out aspirator due to the aspirator interfering with the extrusion lip of the OWS enclosure during the initial stage of the deployment sequence. We are issuing this AD to prevent both off-wing exits from being inoperative, which, during an emergency, would impair the safe evacuation of occupants, possibly resulting in personal injuries.

(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) Modification

Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, modify both left-hand and right-hand OWS enclosures, in accordance with the instructions in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-25-1649, dated February 16, 2010.

(h) Parts Installation Prohibition

After accomplishing the modification required by paragraph (g) of this AD, no person may install an OWS having P/N D31865-109, P/N D31865-110, P/N D31865-209, or P/N D31865-210 on that airplane.

(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, 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: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; 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.

(j) Related Information

Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2010-0210, dated October 21, 2010 (corrected October 27, 2010); and Airbus Service Bulletin A320-25-1649, dated February 16, 2010; for related information.

(k) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-25-1649, dated February 16, 2010.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EAS, 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.

(4) You may review copies of the service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(5) You may view this 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/cfr/index.html. http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 31, 2012.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

[FR Doc. 2012-22041 Filed 9-14-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P