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Special Conditions: FedEx Express Corporation, Boeing Model 767-300F; Enhanced Flight Vision System

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for the Boeing Model 767-300F airplane. This airplane, as modified by the FedEx Express Corporation (FedEx), will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with an advanced, enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). The EFVS consists of a head-up display (HUD) system modified to display forward-looking infrared (FLIR) imagery. 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:

This action is effective on FedEx on August 3, 2016. We must receive your comments by September 19, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2016-4116 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 8 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 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dale Dunford, FAA, Transport Standards Staff, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2239; fax 425-227-1320; email dale.dunford@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are impracticable because 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 November 30, 2012, FedEx applied for a supplemental type certificate for the installation and operation of a HUD and an EFVS in the Boeing Model 767-300F airplane. The original type certificate for the 767-300F airplanes is A1NM. The Boeing Model 767-300F is a transport-category, cargo-carrying airplane that operates with a crew of two.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.101, FedEx must show that the Boeing Model 767-300F airplane, as changed, continues to meet the applicable provisions of the regulations listed in type certificate no. A1NM, or the applicable regulations in effect on the date of application for the change, except for earlier amendments as agreed upon by the FAA. The regulations listed in the type certificate are commonly referred to as the “original type certification basis.” The regulations are listed in Type Certificate Data Sheet No. A1NM, which covers all variants of Boeing Model 767 airplanes. In addition, the certification basis includes certain special conditions and exemptions that are not relevant to these special conditions.

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 Boeing Model 767-300F airplane 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 applicant apply for a supplemental type certificate to modify any other model included on the same type certificate to incorporate the same novel or unusual design feature, these special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model 767-300F airplane 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.

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 § 21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The Boeing Model 767-300F airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature: An EFVS that projects a video image derived from a FLIR camera through the HUD. The EFVS image is projected in the center of Start Printed Page 51094the “pilot compartment view,” which is governed by § 25.773. The image is displayed with HUD symbology and overlays the forward outside view. Therefore, § 25.773 does not contain appropriate safety standards for the EFVS display.

Discussion

Video display on the HUD constitutes new and unusual technology for which the FAA has no certification criteria. Section 25.773 does not permit visual distortions and reflections in the pilot's view out the airplane windshield that could interfere with the pilot's normal duties, and was not written in anticipation of such technology. Special conditions are therefore issued as prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

For many years, the FAA has approved, on transport-category airplanes, the use of HUD that display flight symbols without a significant visual obstruction of the outside view. When the FAA began to evaluate the display of enhanced vision-system (EVS) imagery on the HUD, significant potential to obscure the outside view became apparent, contrary to the requirements of 14 CFR 25.773. This rule does not permit distortions and reflections in the pilot-compartment view, through the airplane windshield, that interfere with normal duties, and the rule was not written in anticipation of such technology. The video image potentially interferes with the pilot's ability to see the natural scene in the center of the forward field of view. Therefore, the FAA issued special conditions for such HUD/EVS installations to ensure that the level of safety required by § 25.773 would be met even when the image might partially obscure the outside view. EVS video has the potential for causing interference with the outside view through the airplane windshield.

Although the pilot may be able to see around and through small, individual, stroke-written symbols on the HUD, the pilot may not be able to see around or through the image that fills the display without some interference of the outside view. Nevertheless, the EVS video may be capable of meeting the required level of safety when considering the combined view of the image and the outside scene visible to the pilot through the image. It is essential that the pilot can use this combination of image and natural view of the outside scene as safely and effectively as the pilot-compartment view currently available without the vision-system image.

Because § 25.773 does not provide for any alternatives or considerations for such a new and novel system, the FAA establishes safety requirements that assure an equivalent level of safety and effectiveness of the pilot-compartment view as intended by that rule. The purpose of these special conditions is to provide the unique pilot-compartment-view requirements for the EFVS installation.

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.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Boeing Model 767-300F airplane. Should FedEx apply at a later date for a supplemental type certificate to modify any other model included on type certificate no. A1NM to incorporate 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 Boeing 767-300F airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability and it affects only the applicant who applied to the FAA for approval of these features on the airplane.

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, which is imminent, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon issuance. 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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

Start Authority

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

End Authority

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 Boeing Model 767-300F airplanes modified by FedEx.

1. Enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) imagery on the head-up display (HUD) must not degrade the safety of flight or interfere with the effective use of outside visual references for required pilot tasks during any phase of flight in which it is to be used.

2. To avoid unacceptable interference with the safe and effective use of the pilot compartment view, the EFVS device must meet the following requirements:

a. The EFVS design must minimize unacceptable display characteristics or artifacts (e.g., noise, “burlap” overlay, running water droplets) that obscure the desired image of the scene, impair the pilot's ability to detect and identify visual references, mask flight hazards, distract the pilot, or otherwise degrade task performance or safety.

b. Automatic control of EFVS display brightness must be sufficiently effective, in dynamically changing background (ambient) lighting conditions, to prevent full or partial blooming of the display that would distract the pilot, impair the pilot's ability to detect and identify visual references, mask flight hazards, or otherwise degrade task performance or safety. If automatic control for image brightness is not provided, it must be shown that a single manual setting is satisfactory for the range of lighting conditions encountered during a time-critical, high-workload phase of flight (e.g., low visibility instrument approach).

c. A readily accessible control must be provided that permits the pilot to immediately deactivate and reactivate display of the EFVS image on demand without removing the pilot's hands from the primary flight controls (yoke or equivalent) or thrust control.

d. The EFVS image on the HUD must not impair the pilot's use of guidance information, or degrade the presentation and pilot awareness of essential flight information displayed on the HUD, such as alerts, airspeed, attitude, altitude and direction, approach guidance, windshear guidance, traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) resolution advisories, or unusual attitude recovery cues.

e. The EFVS image and the HUD symbols, which are spatially referenced to the pitch scale, outside view, and image, must be scaled and aligned (i.e., conformal) to the external scene. In addition, the EFVS image and the HUD symbols, when considered singly or in combination, must not be misleading, cause pilot confusion or increase Start Printed Page 51095workload. Airplane attitudes or crosswind conditions may cause certain symbols (e.g., the zero-pitch line or flight path vector) to reach field-of-view limits such that they cannot be positioned conformally with the image and external scene. In such cases, these symbols may be displayed but with an altered appearance, which makes the pilot aware that they are no longer displayed conformally (for example, “ghosting”).

f. A HUD system used to display EFVS images must, if previously certified, continue to meet all of the requirements of the original approval.

3. The safety and performance of the pilot tasks associated with the use of the pilot compartment view must not be degraded by the display of the EFVS image. Pilot tasks that must not be degraded by the EFVS image include:

a. Detection, accurate identification, and maneuvering, as necessary, to avoid traffic, terrain, obstacles, and other hazards of flight.

b. Accurate identification and utilization of visual references required for every task relevant to the phase of flight.

4. Use of EFVS for instrument approach operations must be in accordance with the provisions of § 91.175(l) and (m), and § 121.651, where applicable. Appropriate limitations must be stated in the operating limitations section of the airplane flight manual to prohibit the use of the EFVS for functions that have not been found to be acceptable.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 27, 2016.

Victor Wicklund,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-18445 Filed 8-2-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P