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Proposed Rule

Special Conditions: Airbus, Model A350-900 Series Airplane; Side Stick Controllers

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed special conditions.

SUMMARY:

This action proposes special conditions for the Airbus Model A350-900 series airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature(s) associated with side stick controllers for pitch and roll control instead of conventional wheels and columns. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

Send your comments on or before December 23, 2013.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2013-0903 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/​ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
  • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/​, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/​.

Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/​ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Loran Haworth, FAA, Airplane and Flight Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1133; facsimile (425) 227-1320.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We may change these proposed special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On August 25, 2008, Airbus applied for a type certificate for their new Model A350-900 series airplane. Later, Airbus requested and the FAA approved an extension to the application for FAA type certification to June 28, 2009. The Model A350-900 series has a conventional layout with twin wing-mounted Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. It features a twin aisle 9-abreast economy class layout, and Start Printed Page 67078accommodates side-by-side placement of LD-3 containers in the cargo compartment. The basic Airbus Model A350-900 series configuration will accommodate 315 passengers in a standard two-class arrangement. The design cruise speed is Mach 0.85 with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 602,000 lbs. Airbus proposes the Model A350-900 series to be certified for extended operations (ETOPS) beyond 180 minutes at entry into service for up to a 420-minute maximum diversion time.

The Airbus Model A350-900 series airplane, like its predecessors the A320, A330, A340 and A380, will use side stick controllers for pitch and roll control. Regulatory requirements pertaining to conventional wheel and column, such as pilot strength and controllability, are not directly applicable for the side stick. In addition, pilot control authority may be uncertain because the side sticks are not mechanically interconnected as with conventional wheel and column controls.

Type Certification Basis

Under Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17, Airbus must show that the Model A350-900 series meets the applicable provisions of 14 CFR part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-128.

The FAA has determined that Airbus Model A350-900 series airplanes must comply with the following sections: §§ 25.143, 25.145(b), 25.175(b), 25.671, and 25.1329(a).

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Airbus Model A350-900 series because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same or similar novel or unusual design feature, the proposed special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and proposed special conditions, the Airbus Model A350-900 series must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36 and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under section 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, under § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The Airbus Model A350-900 series will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features: side stick controllers for pitch and roll control in place of conventional wheels and columns.

Discussion

Current FAA regulations do not specifically address the use of side stick controllers for pitch and roll control. The unique features of the side stick must therefore be demonstrated through flight and simulator tests to have suitable handling and control characteristics when considering the following:

(1) The handling qualities tasks/requirements of the A350 Special Conditions and other 14 CFR part 25 requirements for stability, control, and maneuverability, including the effects of turbulence.

(2) General ergonomics: Arm rest comfort and support, local freedom of movement, displacement angle suitability, and axis harmony.

(3) Inadvertent input in turbulence.

(4) Inadvertent pitch-roll cross talk.

The Handling Qualities Rating Method (HQRM) of Appendix 5 of the Flight Test Guide, AC 25-7C, may be used to show compliance.

Applicability

As discussed above, these proposed special conditions apply to Airbus Model A350-900 series airplanes. Should Airbus apply later for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the proposed special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on the Airbus Model A350-900 series airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

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The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

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The Proposed Special Conditions

Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions as part of the type certification basis for Airbus Model A350-900 series airplanes in the absence of specific requirements for side stick controllers:

1. Pilot strength: In lieu of the “strength of pilots” limits shown in § 25.143(c) for pitch and roll, and in lieu of specific pitch force requirement of §§ 25.145(b) and 25.175(d), it must be shown that the temporary and maximum prolonged force levels for the side stick controllers are suitable for all expected operating conditions and configurations, whether normal or non-normal.

2. Pilot control authority: The electronic side stick controller coupling design must provide for corrective and/or overriding control inputs by either pilot with no unsafe characteristics. Annunciation of the controller status must be provided, and must not be confusing to the flight crew.

3. Pilot control: It must be shown by flight tests that the use of side stick controllers does not produce unsuitable pilot-in-the-loop control characteristics when considering precision path control/tasks and turbulence. In addition, pitch and roll control force and displacement sensitivity must be compatible, so that normal inputs on one control axis will not cause significant unintentional inputs on the other.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 22, 2013.

Stephen P. Boyd,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-26912 Filed 11-7-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P