Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

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

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 certain Airbus Model A330-300 and A340-200 and -300 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of substantial inner skin disbonding damage found on a rudder. This proposed AD would require performing an inspection for damage of certain rudders, and repair if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct damage of the rudder, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the rudder.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 29, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, 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 view this 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 Printed Page 47388

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0525; or in person at the Docket Management Facility 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-2014-0525; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-235-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 2013-0270R1, dated November 27, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A330-300 and A340-200 and -300 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

One A310 operator found substantial inner skin disbonding damage on a rudder. The results of the subsequent investigation revealed that the most probable cause of this damage was a blunt impact with no visible damage from outside during the rudder handling. Such type of damage might grow with pressure variation during ground-air-ground cycles, and tests performed with other rudders showed a rapid propagation of damage during artificial pressure cycling.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the structural integrity of the rudder.

For the affected A310 and A300-600 aeroplanes, EASA issued AD 2013-0039 [(http://ad.easa.europa.eu/​blob/​easa_​ad_​2013_​0039.pdf/​AD_​2013-0039)], to address and correct this potential unsafe condition.

As potentially affected rudders can also be installed on A330 and A340 aeroplanes, Airbus issued Alert Operator Transmission (AOT) A55L001-12 [dated December 20, 2012], pending Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) 27-21-41 PB401 revision, to provide operators with updated rudder handling procedures.

EASA issued AD 2013-0270 [(http://ad.easa.europa.eu/​blob/​easa_​ad_​2013_​0270.pdf/​AD_​2013-0270)], to require identification of affected rudders P/N [part number] A55471500XXX (where XXX stands for any numerical value), a one-time ultrasonic test (UT) inspection of each affected rudder to detect signs of disbonding and, depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s).

After [EASA] AD 2013-0270 was issued, operators commented that the batch of rudders to be inspected was not correctly defined.

For the reason described above, [EASA] AD 2013-0270 is revised to clarify that no action is required for rudders previously inspected in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin (ASB) A330-55-3038 [dated November 7, 2007] or SB A340-55-4034 [dated November 7, 2007] [which corresponds to FAA AD 2009-10-11, Amendment 39-15907 (74 FR 23622, May 20, 2009)], as applicable to aeroplane model, provided the rudder has never been removed and/or installed on an aeroplane since this inspection.

Required actions include an elasticity of laminate checker inspection of the rudder side panel to detect external and internal disbonding, and a woodpecker or tap test inspection to detect external disbonding, and repair if necessary. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0525.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Alert Operators Transmission A55L001-12, dated December 20, 2012. 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.

“Contacting the Manufacturer” Paragraph in This Proposed AD

Since late 2006, we have included a standard paragraph titled “Airworthy Product” in all MCAI ADs in which the FAA develops an AD based on a foreign authority's AD.

The MCAI or referenced service information in an FAA AD often directs the owner/operator to contact the manufacturer for corrective actions, such as a repair. Briefly, the Airworthy Product paragraph allowed owners/operators to use corrective actions provided by the manufacturer if those actions were FAA-approved. In addition, the paragraph stated that any actions approved by the State of Design Authority (or its delegated agent) are considered to be FAA-approved.

In an NPRM having Directorate Identifier 2012-NM-101-AD (78 FR 78285, December 26, 2013), we proposed to prevent the use of repairs that were not specifically developed to correct the unsafe condition, by requiring that the repair approval provided by the State of Design Authority or its delegated agent specifically refer to the FAA AD. This change was intended to clarify the method of compliance and to provide operators with better visibility of repairs that are specifically developed and approved to correct the unsafe condition. In addition, we proposed to change the phrase “its delegated agent” to include a design approval holder (DAH) with State of Design Authority design organization approval (DOA), as applicable, to refer to a DAH authorized to approve required repairs for the proposed AD.

One commenter to the NPRM having Directorate Identifier 2012-NM-101-AD (78 FR 78285, December 26, 2013) stated the following: “The proposed wording, being specific to repairs, eliminates the interpretation that Airbus messages are acceptable for approving minor deviations (corrective actions) needed during accomplishment of an AD mandated Airbus service bulletin.”

This comment has made the FAA aware that some operators have misunderstood or misinterpreted the Airworthy Product paragraph to allow the owner/operator to use messages Start Printed Page 47389provided by the manufacturer as approval of deviations during the accomplishment of an AD-mandated action. The Airworthy Product paragraph does not approve messages or other information provided by the manufacturer for deviations to the requirements of the AD-mandated actions. The Airworthy Product paragraph only addresses the requirement to contact the manufacturer for corrective actions for the identified unsafe condition and does not cover deviations from other AD requirements. However, deviations to AD-required actions are addressed in 14 CFR 39.17, and anyone may request the approval for an alternative method of compliance to the AD-required actions using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

To address this misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Airworthy Product paragraph, we have changed the paragraph and retitled it “Contacting the Manufacturer.” This paragraph now clarifies that for any requirement in this proposed AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the FAA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), or Airbus's EASA DOA.

The Contacting the Manufacturer paragraph also clarifies that, if approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature. The DOA signature indicates that the data and information contained in the document are EASA-approved, which is also FAA-approved. Messages and other information provided by the manufacturer that do not contain the DOA-authorized signature approval are not EASA-approved, unless EASA directly approves the manufacturer's message or other information.

This clarification does not remove flexibility previously afforded by the Airworthy Product paragraph. Consistent with long-standing FAA policy, such flexibility was never intended for required actions. This is also consistent with the recommendation of the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee to increase flexibility in complying with ADs by identifying those actions in manufacturers' service instructions that are “Required for Compliance” with ADs. We continue to work with manufacturers to implement this recommendation. But once we determine that an action is required, any deviation from the requirement must be approved as an alternative method of compliance.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 74 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it would take about 12 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $0 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $75,480, or $1,020 per product.

We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide a cost estimate for the on-condition actions specified in this proposed AD.

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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
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 airworthiness directive (AD):

End Amendment Part

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2014-0525; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-235-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by September 29, 2014.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A330-301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes; certificated in any category; except airplanes on which Airbus Modification 41800 has been embodied in production.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 55, Stabilizers.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of substantial inner skin disbonding damage on a rudder. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct damage of the rudder, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the rudder.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Rudder Assembly Identification

Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, inspect for the rudder assembly part number and serial number, in accordance with Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A55L001-12, dated December 20, 2012. If the part number or serial number cannot be identified, before further flight, identify the part number and serial number using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.Start Printed Page 47390

(h) Inspection

If a rudder assembly having any part number starting with A55471500 or A55471500XXX (where XXX stands for any numerical value) is found during the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, and has been inspected before the effective date of this AD, as specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-55-3038, dated November 7, 2007; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-55-4034, dated November 7, 2007; as applicable; and has been removed and installed on any airplane after the inspection, or that rudder has been inspected off-wing: Before further flight, do an ultrasonic test inspection for damage (e.g., disbonding and liquid ingress) of the rudder side panel along the Z-profile and in the booster area, in accordance with Airbus AOT A55L001-12, dated December 20, 2012. If any damage is found, before further flight, do the inspections specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD to confirm disbonding damage, in accordance with AOT A55L001-12, dated December 20, 2012.

(1) Do an elasticity of laminate checker inspection to detect external and internal disbonding.

(2) Do a woodpecker or tap test inspection to detect external disbonding.

(i) Repair

If any disbonding or damage (e.g. liquid ingress) is confirmed during any inspection required by paragraphs (h), (h)(1), and (h)(2) of this AD, repair at the time specified in paragraph (i)(1), (i)(2), or (i)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

(1) If the disbonding is less than or equal to 50 millimeters (mm) in width and less than or equal to 150 mm in length: Before further flight, vent the rudder core using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. Within 100 flight cycles after venting the rudder core, do a permanent repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval for the venting and repair methods must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(2) If the disbonding is greater than 50mm in width, or greater than 150 mm in length: Before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(3) If any damage other than disbonding (e.g., liquid ingress) is confirmed during any inspection required by paragraph (h) of this AD, before further flight, repair, using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(j) Parts Installation Limitation

As of the effective date of this AD, you may install, on any airplane, a rudder assembly having part number A55471500XXX (where XXX stands for any numerical value), provided the inspection required by paragraph (h) of this AD and all applicable repair actions required by paragraph (i) of this AD are done before further flight.

(k) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Tranport 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 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) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(l) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0270R1, dated November 27, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0525.

(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 view this 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 30, 2014.

Jeffrey E. Duven,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2014-19155 Filed 8-12-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P