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Special Conditions: Bombardier Inc., Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 Series Airplanes; Seats With Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panels

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for the Bombardier Inc. Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with seats that include non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels that would affect survivability during a post-crash fire event. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These 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:

The effective date of these special conditions is December 19, 2013. We must receive your comments by February 3, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2013-1051 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:

Alan Sinclair, FAA, Airplane and Cabin Safety Branch, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington, 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2195; facsimile 425-227-1149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected aircraft. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

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 special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On December 10, 2009, Bombardier Inc. applied for a type certificate for their new Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes (hereafter collectively referred to as “C-series.” The C-series airplanes are swept-wing monoplanes with a pressurized cabin. They share an identical supplier base and significant common design elements. The fuselage is aluminum alloy material, blended double-bubble fuselage, sized for nominal 5-abreast seating. Each airplane's powerplant consists of two under wing Pratt and Whitney PW1524G ultra-high bypass, geared turbofan engines. Flight controls are fly-by-wire flight with two passive/uncoupled side sticks. Avionics includes five landscape primary cockpit displays. The dimension of the airplanes encompass a wingspan of 115 feet; a height of 37.75 feet; and a length of 114.75 feet for the Model BD-500-1A10 and a length of 127 feet for the Model BD-500-1A11. Passenger capacity is designated as 110 for the Model BD-500-1A10 and 125 for the Model BD-500-1A11. Maximum takeoff weight is 131,000 pounds for the Model BD-500-1A10 and 144,000 pounds for the Model BD-500-1A11. Maximum takeoff thrust is 21,000 pounds for the Start Printed Page 76735Model BD-500-1A10 and 23,300 pounds for the Model BD-500-1A11. Range is 3,394 miles (5,463 kilometers) for both models of airplanes. Maximum operating altitude is 41,000 feet for both model airplanes.

The interior arrangements of the C-series airplanes will include passenger and cabin crew seats in the passenger cabin that incorporate non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of traditional metal frame and foam/fabric components.

The applicable airworthiness regulations, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 25, do not require seats to meet the more stringent flammability standards required of large, non-metallic panels in the cabin interior. At the time the applicable rules were written, seats were designed with a metal frame covered by fabric, not with large, non-metallic panels. Seats also met the then recently adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions. With the seat design being mostly fabric and metal, the contribution to a fire in the cabin had been minimized and was not considered a threat. For these reasons, seats did not need to be tested to heat release and smoke emission requirements.

Seat designs have now evolved to occasionally include non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels. Taken in total, the surface area of these panels is on the same order as the sidewall and overhead stowage bin interior panels. To provide the level of passenger protection established by the airworthiness standards, these non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in the cabin must meet the standards of 14 CFR, part 25, appendix F, parts IV and V, heat release and smoke emission requirements.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.17, Bombardier Inc. must show that the C-series airplanes meet the applicable provisions of 14 CFR part 25 as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-129 thereto.

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 C-series airplanes because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 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 special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the C-series airplanes 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 § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

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

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The C-series airplanes will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features:

These models offer interior arrangements that include passenger seats that incorporate non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of the traditional metal frame covered by fabric. The flammability properties of these panels have been shown to significantly affect the survivability of the cabin in the case of fire. These seats are considered a novel design for transport category airplanes that include Amendment 25-61 and Amendment 25-66 in the certification basis, and were not considered when those airworthiness standards were established.

The existing regulations do not provide adequate or appropriate safety standards for seat designs that incorporate non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in their designs. In order to provide a level of safety that is equivalent to that afforded to the balance of the cabin, additional airworthiness standards, in the form of special conditions, are necessary. These special conditions supplement § 25.853. The requirements contained in these special conditions consist of applying the identical test conditions required of all other large panels in the cabin to seats with non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels.

Definition of “Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panel”

A non-traditional large panel, in this case, is defined as a panel with exposed-surface areas greater than 1.5 ft2 installed per seat place. The panel may consist of either a single component or multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of parts of the seat where these non-traditional panels are installed include, but are not limited to, seat backs, bottoms and leg/foot rests, kick panels, back shells, credenzas and associated furniture. Examples of traditional, exempted parts of the seat include: Arm caps, armrest close-outs such as end bays and center consoles, food trays, video monitors and shrouds.

Clarification of “Exposed”

Exposed is considered to include those panels directly exposed to the passenger cabin in the traditional sense, plus those panels enveloped such as by a dress cover. Traditional fabrics or leathers currently used on seats are excluded from the special conditions. These materials must still comply with § 25.853(a) and (c) if used as a covering for a seat cushion or § 25.853(a) if installed elsewhere on the seat. Large non-metallic panels covered with traditional fabrics or leathers will be tested without their coverings.

Discussion

In the early 1980s, the FAA conducted extensive research on the effects of post-crash flammability in the passenger cabin. As a result of this research and service experience, the FAA adopted new standards for interior surfaces associated with large surface area parts. Specifically, the rules require measurement of heat release and smoke emission (part 25, appendix F, parts IV and V) for the affected parts. Heat release has been shown to have a direct correlation with post-crash fire survival time. Materials that comply with the standards (i.e., § 25.853 Compartment interiors, as amended by Amendment 25-61 and Amendment 25-66) extend survival time by approximately two minutes over materials that do not comply.

At the time these standards were written, the potential application of the requirements of heat release and smoke emission to seats was explored. The seat frame itself was not a concern because it was primarily made of aluminum, and there were only small amounts of non-metallic materials. It was determined that the overall effect on survivability was negligible, whether or not the food trays met the heat release and smoke requirements. The requirements therefore did not address seats. The preambles to both the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, Notice No. 85-10 (50 FR 15038, April 16, 1985) and the Final Rule at Amendment 25-61 (51 FR 26206, July 21, 1986), specifically note that seats were excluded “because the recently-adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions will greatly inhibit involvement of the seats.”

Subsequently, the Final Rule at Amendment 25-83 (60 FR 6615, March 6, 1995) clarified the definition of Start Printed Page 76736minimum panel size: “It is not possible to cite a specific size that will apply in all installations; however, as a general rule, components with exposed-surface areas of 1 ft2 or less may be considered small enough that they do not have to meet the new standards. Components with exposed surface areas greater than 2 ft2 may be considered large enough that they do have to meet the new standards. Those with exposed-surface areas greater than 1 ft2, but less than 2 ft2, must be considered in conjunction with the areas of the cabin in which they are installed before a determination could be made.”

In the late 1990s, the FAA issued Policy Memorandum 97-112-39, Guidance for Flammability Testing of Seat/Console Installations, October 17, 1997. That memo was issued when it became clear that seat designs were evolving to include large, non-metallic panels with surface areas that would impact survivability during a cabin fire event, comparable to partitions or galleys. The memo noted that large surface area panels must comply with heat release and smoke emission requirements, even if they were attached to a seat.

If the FAA had not issued such policy, seat designs could have been viewed as a loophole to the airworthiness standards that would result in an unacceptable decrease in survivability during a cabin fire event.

In October 2004, an issue was raised regarding the appropriate flammability standards for passenger seats that incorporated non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of the traditional metal covered by fabric. The Seattle Aircraft Certification Office and Transport Standards Staff reviewed this design and determined that it represented the kind and quantity of material that should be required to pass the heat release and smoke emissions requirements. We have determined that special conditions would be promulgated to apply the standards defined in § 25.853(d) to seats with large, non-metallic panels in their design.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Bombardier Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes. Should Bombardier Inc. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on two model series of airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.

The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period in several prior instances and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change from the substance contained herein. Therefore, because a delay would significantly affect the certification of the airplane, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon publication in the Federal Register. The FAA is requesting comments to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described above.

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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 Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for the Bombardier Inc. Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes.

Seats With Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panels

1. Compliance with Title 14 CFR part 25, appendix F, parts IV and V, heat release and smoke emission, is required for seats that incorporate non-traditional, large non-metallic panels that may either be a single component or multiple components in a concentrated area in their design.

2. The applicant may designate up to and including 1.5 ft2 of non-traditional, non-metallic panel material per seat place that does not have to comply with No. 1. A triple seat assembly may have a total of 4.5 ft2 excluded on any portion of the assembly (e.g., outboard seat place 1 ft2, middle 1 ft2, and inboard 2.5 ft2).

3. Seats need not meet the test requirements of 14 CFR part 25, appendix F, parts IV and V when installed in compartments that are not otherwise required to meet these requirements. Examples include:

a. Airplanes with passenger capacities of 19 or less;

b. Airplanes that do not have smoke and heat release in their certification basis and do not need to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 121.312; and

c. Airplanes exempted from smoke and heat release requirements.

4. Only airplanes associated with new seat certification programs approved after the effective date of these special conditions will be affected by the requirements in these special conditions. Previously certificated interiors on the existing airplane fleet and follow-on deliveries of airplanes with previously certificated interiors are not affected.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 11, 2013.

John P. Piccola, Jr.,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2013-30234 Filed 12-18-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P