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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by an analysis of the impacts of extended service goal activities on Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. This AD requires revising the maintenance or inspection program. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of flight critical systems.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective September 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​FAA-2014-0124;​ or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 28, 2014 (79 FR 11358). The NPRM was prompted by an analysis of the impacts of extended service goal activities on Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. The NPRM proposed to require revising the maintenance program. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of flight critical systems.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2012-0233, dated November 7, 2012 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition on all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

The results of the Extended Service Goal (ESG) exercise for A300 series aeroplanes (75,000 flight hours (FH) or 48,000 flight cycles (FC), whichever occurs first) identified certain operational tests as Airworthiness Limitation Items (ALI), necessary to ensure the safety objectives for aeroplanes which have accumulated or exceeded 60,000 FH.

These ALI are not fully new, since all nine tasks derive from existing Maintenance Planning Document (MPD) tasks. Consequently, the intervals of those nine tasks can no longer be escalated or retained at an interval higher than that specified in this [EASA] AD for each task.

Failure to comply with these tasks within the established maximum intervals could be detrimental to the safety of the affected aeroplanes.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires the implementation of nine specific operational ALI test for aeroplanes which have accumulated or exceeded 60,000 FH.

In addition, Airbus performed an analysis of the impacts of ESG activities on A300 series aeroplanes and, based on the results, this [EASA] AD publishes an operational life of 75,000 FH or 48,000 FC, whichever occurs first, applicable to A300 system installations.

You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!documentDetail;​D=​FAA-2014-0124-0002.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (79 FR 11358, February 28, 2014) or on the determination of the cost to the public.

“Contacting the Manufacturer” Paragraph in This 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 the NPRM (79 FR 11358, February 28, 2014), 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 this 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.Start Printed Page 49432

No comments were provided to the NPRM (79 FR 11358, February 28, 2014) about these proposed changes. However, a comment was provided for an NPRM having Directorate Identifier 2012-NM-101-AD (78 FR 78285, December 26, 2013). The commenter 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 provided 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 AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the actions must be accomplished using a method approved by the FAA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (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.

Other commenters to the NPRM having Directorate Identifier 2012-NM-101-AD (78 FR 78285, December 26, 2013) pointed out that in many cases the foreign manufacturer's service bulletin and the foreign authority's MCAI might have been issued some time before the FAA AD. Therefore, the DOA might have provided U.S. operators with an approved repair, developed with full awareness of the unsafe condition, before the FAA AD is issued. Under these circumstances, to comply with the FAA AD, the operator would be required to go back to the manufacturer's DOA and obtain a new approval document, adding time and expense to the compliance process with no safety benefit.

Based on these comments, we removed the requirement that the DAH-provided repair specifically refer to this AD. Before adopting such a requirement, the FAA will coordinate with affected DAHs and verify they are prepared to implement means to ensure that their repair approvals consider the unsafe condition addressed in this AD. Any such requirements will be adopted through the normal AD rulemaking process, including notice-and-comment procedures, when appropriate.

We also have decided not to include a generic reference to either the “delegated agent” or “DAH with State of Design Authority design organization approval,” but instead we have provided the specific delegation approval granted by the State of Design Authority for the DAH throughout this AD.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the changes described previously and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

  • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 11358, February 28, 2014) for correcting the unsafe condition; and
  • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 11358, February 28, 2014).

We also determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 7 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it will take about 1 work-hour 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. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $595, or $85 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, Start Printed Page 49433on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov#!docketDetail;​D=​FAA-2014-0124;​ 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 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.

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

Adoption of the Amendment

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

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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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]
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2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

End Amendment Part

2014-16-20 Airbus: Amendment 39-17944. Docket No. FAA-2014-0124; Directorate Identifier 2012-NM-197-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective September 25, 2014.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A300 B2-1A, B2-1C, B2K-3C, B2-203, B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes, certificated in any category, all serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 05 Periodic Inspections; Code 22, Auto Flight; Code 27, Flight Controls.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by an analysis of the impacts of extended service goal activities on Airbus Model A300 series airplanes. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of flight critical systems.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Revision of Maintenance or Inspection Program

Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the information specified in Table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD. The compliance time for doing the initial actions specified in Table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD is before 60,000 total flight hours accumulated on the airplane, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

Table 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD: Intervals for New Airworthiness Limitation Items

Maintenance planning document task No.Task descriptionInterval (not to exceed)Aircraft maintenance manual reference
273311 0503 1ARTIFICIAL FEEL-ELEVATOR—Operational test of pitch artificial feel by comparing qualitatively operating loads in high-speed and low-speed configurations (with each individual hydraulic system)2,500 flight hours273300/501
273313 0503 1COMPUTER-ARTIFICIAL FEEL—Operational test of artificial feel “pitch feel” and “rudder travel” monitoring circuits (warning light test and indicating system test)3,500 flight hours272300/501 and 273300/501
222100 0503 1YAW DAMPER—Operational test to verify correct operation of mechanical control between yaw damper system 2 and the rudder80 flight hours222100/501
222600 0503 1YAW DAMPER—Operational test to verify correct operation of mechanical control between yaw damper system 2 and the rudder80 flight hours222600/501
272411 0503 1SERVO CONTROL-RUDDER—Operational test of rudder servo controls (with individual hydraulic system) by moving right-hand (RH) rudder pedal full forward and visually observe that rudder moves to the right. Check that rudder travel is confirmed on the flight control position indicator. Release RH pedal. Repeat above test by moving left-hand rudder pedal.250 flight hours271400/501
275400 0503 1FLAP ASYMMETRY—Operational test of flap asymmetry monitoring circuit (include solenoid operation)500 flight hours275400/501
275400 0503 2FLAP PRESSURE-OFF BRAKE—Operational test of pressure-off brake1,000 flight hours275400/501
278300 0503 1SLAT ASYMMETRY—Operational test of slat asymmetry monitoring circuit500 flight hours278300/501
278300 0503 2SLAT PRESSURE-OFF BRAKE—Operational test of pressure-off brake1,000 flight hours278300/501

(h) Airplane Airworthiness Limitation

As of the effective date of this AD, do not operate any airplane beyond 75,000 total flight hours or 48,000 total flight cycles, whichever occurs first.

(i) No Alternative Actions and Intervals

After accomplishing the revision required by paragraph (g) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections) or intervals may be used unless the actions or intervals are approved as an alternative method of compliance in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

(j) 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: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; 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 Start Printed Page 49434be accomplished 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.

(k) Related Information

Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2012-0233, dated November 7, 2012, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!documentDetail;​D=​FAA-2014-0124-0002.

(l) Material Incorporated by Reference

None.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 4, 2014.

Jeffrey E. Duven,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2014-19549 Filed 8-20-14; 8:45 am]

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