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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 certain A330-200 Freighter, -200 and -300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, -300, -500, and -600 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of certain hydraulic reservoirs (HRs) becoming depressurized due to air leakage from the HR pressure relief valve (PRV). This proposed AD would require repetitive inspections of the hydraulic fluid levels and nitrogen gas pressure in the HR for each hydraulic circuit, and if necessary, adjustment of the fluid level(s) and nitrogen pressure in affected HRs. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct air leakage from the HR PRV, which could lead to the loss of one or more hydraulic systems, with the possible result of loss of control of the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by November 17, 2016.

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: 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—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.

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-2016-9117; 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-2016-9117; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-095-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 AD 2016-0107, dated June 7, 2016, to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A330-200 Freighter, -200 and -300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, -300, -500, and -600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

Some events of depressurisation of hydraulic reservoirs have been reported, due to air leakage from the HR PRV [hydraulic reservoir pressure relief valve]. The results of the investigations revealed that the air leakage was due to the extrusion of the O-ring seal from the HR PRV. This may have happened during HR maintenance, testing or during flight, if HR over-filling was performed, as a result of which hydraulic fluid could pass through the PRV, causing [the] PRV seal to migrate from its nominal position, leading to loss of HR pressurisation.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the loss of one or more hydraulic systems, possibly resulting in loss of control of the aeroplane.

Prompted by these findings, Airbus issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16 [dated January 28, 2016] to provide inspection instructions.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive inspections of the HR fluid level of each hydraulic circuit and, depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s). This [EASA] AD also requires actions when maintenance action is accomplished on hydraulic reservoirs.

This [EASA] AD is considered as interim action and further [EASA] AD action may follow.

Required actions include repetitive inspection of the hydraulic fluid levels and nitrogen gas pressure in the HR for each hydraulic circuit, and if necessary, adjustment of the fluid level(s) and nitrogen pressure in affected HRs. 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-2016-9117.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, Revision 01, dated June 28, 2016. This service information describes procedures for inspecting hydraulic fluid levels and nitrogen gas pressure in certain HRs, and adjustment of the fluid level(s) and nitrogen pressure in affected HRs. 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.Start Printed Page 67938

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 101 airplanes of U.S. registry.

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

Estimated Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Inspection1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 per inspection cycle$0$85 per inspection cycle$8,585 per inspection cycle.

We estimate the following costs to do any necessary servicing 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 this servicing:

On-Condition Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per product
Adding or Removing Hydraulic Fluid or Nitrogen Gas1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85$0$85

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-2016-9117; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-095-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by November 17, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342 and -343 airplanes, and Airbus A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, -313, -541, and -642 airplanes, certificated in any category, all airplanes that are fitted with a hydraulic reservoir (HR) pressure relief valve (PRV) part number 42F0026 installed on TECHSPACE HR having part number 42F1005, 42F1203, 42F1304, 42F1412, 42F1512, or 42F1607.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 29, Hydraulic power.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of certain hydraulic reservoirs (HRs) becoming depressurized due to air leakage from the HR pressure relief valve (PRV). We are issuing this AD to detect and correct air leakage from the HR PRV, which could lead to the loss of one or more hydraulic systems, with the possible result of loss of control of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspect Fluid Level and Nitrogen Pressure in Hydraulic Reservoir

Within the compliance time defined in table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD, as applicable, inspect the HR fluid level and nitrogen pressure of each hydraulic circuit in accordance with the instructions of paragraph 4.2.2.1 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, Revision 01, dated June 28, 2016. Repeat the Start Printed Page 67939inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,600 flight hours.

Table 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Initial Inspection Compliance Time

Compliance Time (A or B, whichever occurs later)
ABefore accumulating 1,600 flight hours since first flight of the airplane.
BWithin 1,000 flight hours or 3 months, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD.

(h) Corrective Action

If, during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, any unacceptable pressure or fluid level is identified, before further flight, do the actions in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD, as applicable, for each unacceptable pressure or fluid level that is discovered. Accomplishment of these actions on an airplane does not constitute terminating action for the repetitive inspections as required by paragraph (g) of this AD for that airplane.

(1) Add or remove hydraulic fluid, as applicable, in accordance with the instructions of paragraph 4.2.2.2 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, Revision 01, dated June 28, 2016.

(2) Add or remove nitrogen gas, as applicable, in accordance with the instructions of paragraph 4.2.2.2 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, Revision 01, dated June 28, 2016.

(i) Servicing Hydraulic Reservoir

Concurrent with the initial inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the hydraulic reservoir servicing actions specified in paragraph 4.2.2.2 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, Revision 01, dated June 28, 2016.

(j) No Alternative Actions and Intervals

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

(k) Credit for Previous Actions

This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A29L005-16, dated January 28, 2016.

(l) 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: 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.

(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 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.

(m) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0107, dated June 7, 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-2016-9117.

(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 September 26, 2016.

Dionne Palermo,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-23786 Filed 9-30-16; 8:45 am]

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