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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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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 all Airbus Model A300 B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes; Model A300 B4-605R and A300 B4-622R airplanes; and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by an in-service detection of cracks in the fuselage skin lap joints. This proposed AD would require an ultrasonic inspection of certain skin lap joints, and repair if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracks in certain skin lap joints. Such cracking could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 14, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR Start Printed Page 5953111.43 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: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this NPRM, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email account.airworth-eas@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.

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-2016-9051; 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:

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; email dan.rodina@faa.gov.

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-2016-9051; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-035-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 Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2016-0557, dated March 18, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A300 B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes; Model A300 B4-605R and A300 B4-622R airplanes; and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. The MCAI states:

Prompted by in-service detection on Airbus A300-600 aeroplanes of cracks in certain fuselage skin lap joints, several studies were launched to understand the phenomenon and provide the corrective actions. More recently, new analyses were performed and the results identified that a new area has to be inspected at the skin lap joint below Stringer (STR) 28 at Frame (FR) 72 to FR 76.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in reduced structure integrity of the aeroplane.

To address this unsafe condition, Airbus published Service Bulletin (SB) A300-53-6184 [dated November 12, 2015] to introduce inspections and applicable corrective actions for the affected areas.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive Special Detail Inspections (SDI) of the affected skin lap joint and, depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s) [repairs].

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-2016-9051.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6184, November 12, 2015. The service information describes procedures for an ultrasonic inspection of the skin lap joint below stringer 28 at FR 72 to FR 76, and repair if necessary. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

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 these same type designs.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 29 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs

ActionLabor costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Ultrasonic inspection6 work-hours × $85 per hour = $510 per inspection cycle$510 per inspection cycle$14,790 per inspection cycle.

We have no way to determine the costs to do any necessary repairs that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection. We have no way of determining the number of airplanes that might need these repairs.

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, Start Printed Page 59532Part 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-2016-9051; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-035-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by October 14, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Airbus Model A300 B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes; Model A300 B4-605R and A300 B4-622R airplanes; and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by an in-service detection of cracks in the fuselage skin lap joints. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the skin lap joint below stringer 28 at frame (FR) 72 to FR 76. Such cracking could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Repetitive Inspections

Before 29,500 flight cycles since the first flight of the airplane or within 2,000 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, do an ultrasonic inspection for cracks of the skin lap joint below stringer 28 at FR 72 to FR 76 and do all applicable repairs before further flight, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instruction of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6184, November 12, 2015, except as required by paragraph (h) of this AD. Repeat the ultrasonic inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 5,400 flight cycles.

(h) Exceptions to Service Information Specified Paragraph (g) of This AD

Where Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6184, November 12, 2015, specifies to contact Airbus for repair instructions, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance), this AD requires repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i) of this AD.

(i) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Brach, 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; email dan.rodina@faa.gov. 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 the EASA; or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(3) Required for Compliance (RC): Except as required by paragraph (h) of this AD: If any service information contains procedures or tests that are identified as RC, those procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC.

(j) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0557, dated March 18, 2016, 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-2016-9051.

(2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email account.airworth-eas@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 August 19, 2016.

Dorr M. Anderson,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-20685 Filed 8-29-16; 8:45 am]

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