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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes, and Model A340-200, -300, -500, and -600 series airplanes. This proposed AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the airplane manufacturer. This proposed AD would require removing bulb type maintenance lights; installing a drain mast on certain airplanes; and installing muffs on connecting bleed elements on certain airplanes. We are proposing this AD to prevent ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 16, 2013.

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, WA. 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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-2013-0632; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-045-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 2013-0033, dated February 19, 2013 (referred to after this the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

[Subsequent to accidents involving fuel tank system explosions in flight and on ground], the FAA published Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 88, and the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) published Interim Policy INT/POL/25/12.

In response to these regulations, a global design review conducted by Airbus on the A330 and A340 type design Section 19, which is a flammable fluid leakage zone and a zone adjacent to a fuel tank, highlighted potential deviations. The specific identified cases were that drainage is inefficient in flight on A340-500/-600 aeroplanes, maintenance lights are not qualified explosion proof, and hot surfaces may exist on bleed system during normal/failure operations.

This condition, if not corrected, in combination with a fuel leak generating flammable vapours in the area, could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the aeroplane.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires removal of bulb type maintenance lights for all aeroplanes, installation of the drain mast between Frame (FR) 80 and FR83 for A340-500/-600, and installation of muffs on connecting bleed elements to minimize hot surfaces on A330 and A340-200/-300.

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

The FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large Start Printed Page 46307transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled “Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements” (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (“SFAR 88,” Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).

Among other actions, SFAR 88 (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001) requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC)) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to type design holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.

In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: Single failures, single failures in combination with a latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action.

The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) has issued a regulation that is similar to SFAR 88 (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). (The JAA is an associated body of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European States who have agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures.) Under this regulation, the JAA stated that all members of the ECAC that hold type certificates for transport category airplanes are required to conduct a design review against explosion risks.

We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued the following service bulletins. The actions described in this service information are intended to correct the unsafe condition identified in the MCAI.

  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-33-3041, Revision 01, dated July 10, 2012.
  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-36-3040, Revision 01, dated November 26, 2012.
  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-33-4026, Revision 01, dated July 10, 2012.
  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-33-5006, dated January 3, 2012.
  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-36-4035, dated September 18, 2012.
  • Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-53-5031, Revision 02, dated August 3, 2011.
  • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3037, Revision 01, dated January 24, 2013.
  • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3038, dated January 16, 2012.
  • Airbus Service Bulletin A340-36-4033, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2013.

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

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 43 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
InstallationUp to 21 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,785Up to $5,219Up to $7,004Up to $301,172.

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:Start Printed Page 46308

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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

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

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

End Part Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part Start Authority

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

End Authority
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2013-0632; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-045-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by September 16, 2013.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes, certificated in any category, specified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD, all manufacturer serial numbers.

(1) Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -243, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

(2) Airbus Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, -313, -541, and -642 airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 26, Fire protection; 33, Lights; 36, Pneumatic; 53, Fuselage.

(e) Reason

This AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the airplane manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to prevent ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss 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) Maintenance Light Removal

Except airplanes on which Airbus Modification 56739 has been incorporated in production: Within 26 months after the effective date of this AD, remove the maintenance lights, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD.

(1) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-33-3041, Revision 01, dated July 10, 2012 (for Model A330 series airplanes).

(2) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-33-4026, Revision 01, dated July 10, 2012 (for Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes).

(3) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-33-5006, dated January 3, 2012 (for Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes).

Note to paragraph (g) of this AD: For Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes, Airbus has issued Airbus Service Bulletin A340-33-5007 to introduce halogen type lights which are qualified as explosion proof and that can be installed (at operators discretion) after removal of the non-explosion proof lights required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

(h) Insulation Muff Installation

For Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes, and Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes, except those airplanes on which Airbus Modification 52260 has been incorporated in production: Within 26 months after the effective date of this AD, install insulation muffs on connecting auxiliary power unit bleed air duct, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (h)(1), (h)(2), and (h)(3) of this AD.

(1) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3038, dated January 16, 2012, for Model A330 series airplanes on which Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3032 has been incorporated.

(2) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-36-3040, Revision 01, dated November 26, 2012, for Model A330 series airplanes on which Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3032 has not been incorporated.

(3) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-36-4035, dated September 18, 2012, for Model A340 series airplanes.

(i) Alternative Action to Paragraph (h) of This AD

For Model A330 series airplanes on which Airbus service information A330-36-3032 is not incorporated, and for Model A340 series airplanes: Doing the bleed leak detection loop modification of the auxiliary power unit (APU), in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus Service Bulletin specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, is an acceptable alternative to the actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD, provided the modification is accomplished within 26 months after the effective date of this AD.

(1) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3037, Revision 01, dated January 24, 2013.

(2) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-36-4033, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2013.

(j) Drain Mast Installation

For Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 54636 or 54637 has been incorporated in production: Within 26 months after the effective date of this AD, install a drain mast between frame (FR) 80 and FR 83, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-53-5031, Revision 02, dated August 3, 2011.

(k) Credit for Previous Actions

(1) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-33-3041, dated January 3, 2012; or Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A340-33-4026, dated January 3, 2012; as applicable; which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(2) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A330-36-3040, dated September 18, 2012, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(3) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (i) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Service Bulletin A330-36-3037, dated September 23, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-36-4033, dated September 23, 2011; as applicable; which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(4) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (j) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Service Bulletin A340-53-5031, dated July 31, 2006; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-53-5031, Revision 01, dated January 10, 2008; as applicable; which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(l) 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, WA 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 Start Printed Page 46309principal 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.

(m) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Directive (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2013-0033, dated February 19, 2013, 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, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 21, 2013.

Stephen P. Boyd,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-18391 Filed 7-30-13; 8:45 am]

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