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Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER series airplanes. This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the skin lap splice is subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). This AD requires repetitive external detailed and surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections of the outer skin for cracking around fastener heads common to the inboard fastener row of the skin lap splice and corrective action. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the skin lap splice, which could grow and result in possible rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

DATES:

This AD is effective November 22, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of November 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P. O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone: 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax: 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.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. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-3703.

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-2016-3703; 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 address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is 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 20590.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Wayne Lockett, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6447; fax: 425-917-6590; email: wayne.lockett@faa.gov.

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 certain The Boeing Company Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 25, 2016 (81 FR 9367) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by an evaluation by the DAH indicating that the skin lap splice is subject to WFD. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive external detailed and surface HFEC inspections of the outer skin for cracking around fastener heads common to the inboard fastener row of the skin lap splice. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the skin lap splice, which could grow and result in possible rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment. Boeing stated that it supports the NPRM.

Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the Proposed Actions

Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing the supplemental type certificate (STC) ST01920SE does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM.

We concur with the commenter. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of this AD as (c)(1) and added new paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01920SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this final rule. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01920SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

Request To Revise the Compliance Time for the Repetitive Inspection Intervals

United Airlines (UAL) requested that we revise the repetitive inspection intervals for any repair accomplished using the structural repair manual (SRM) specified in Part 2 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. UAL commented that a Zone B repair is Category B, and per the SRM inspections, the airplanes would have an initial inspection at 25,000 total flight cycles after airplane delivery. UAL stated that the initial inspection compliance time for the proposed rule is 40,000 total flight cycles, and if a repair is accomplished at this time, it is already over the initial inspection threshold specified in the SRM.

We agree with the commenter's request. There is a conflict between the initial inspection thresholds in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, and the Category B repair specified in the SRM. We are working with Boeing to revise the conflicting compliance times for the SRM repairs. We have added a new paragraph (h) in this AD, which provides clarification that the post-repair damage tolerance inspections are not required by this AD, but are airworthiness limitations (ALIs), and those inspections are required by maintenance and operational rules. Any deviation from the post-repair ALI inspections will need FAA approval, Start Printed Page 71590but will not require an AMOC. We have coordinated this change with Boeing. We redesignated subsequent paragraphs accordingly.

Request To Clarify the Note in the Service Information

UAL requested that we clarify the note in paragraph 3.B.l. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, to state that inspections for any repair accomplished as a result of Part 1 findings are to be inspected per the Part 1 inspection requirements and that these supersede the SRM inspection requirements. UAL stated that the note in Paragraph 3.B.1. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, currently states that it is not necessary to repeat the Part 1 inspections in areas covered by a previously approved repair.

We disagree with the commenter's request. Note (a) in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” and the note in paragraph 3.B.1. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, specify terminating action for the AD-mandated inspections for the area under an approved repair. The repairs are evaluated under their own damage tolerance inspection program. The post-repair inspection program is different from the baseline inspections specified in Part 1 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. Post-repair damage tolerance inspections for any approved repair are ALIs, and these inspections are required by maintenance and operational rules. It is therefore unnecessary to mandate them in this AD. Deviations from these inspections require FAA approval, but do not require an AMOC. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, 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 for correcting the unsafe condition; and
  • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM.

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. The service information describes procedures for a detailed inspection and a surface HFEC inspection at section 41, stringer S-2R skin lap splice from body station (STA) 368 to STA 434, for any cracking, and repair. 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.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 356 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Inspections3 work-hours × $85 per hour = $255 per inspection cycle$0$255 per inspection cycle$90,780 per inspection cycle.

We have received no definitive data that will enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this 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

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 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

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:

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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

2016-20-03 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18669; Docket No. FAA-2016-3703; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-115-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD is effective November 22, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

None.Start Printed Page 71591

(c) Applicability

(1) This AD applies to the Boeing Company Model 767-200, -300, and -400ER series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014.

(2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01920SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/​Regulatory_​and_​Guidance_​Library/​rgstc.nsf/​0/​59027F43B9A7486E86257B1D006591EE?​OpenDocument&​Highlight=​st01920se) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01920SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder indicating that the skin lap splice is subject to widespread fatigue damage. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of this skin lap splice, which could grow and result in possible rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspection and Corrective Actions

At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, except as required by paragraph (i) of this AD: Do a detailed inspection and a surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection at section 41, stringer S-2R skin lap splice from body station (STA) 368 to STA 434, for any cracking, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the inspections thereafter at the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. If any existing external repair is found in the inspection area, then the inspections in Part 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, are not required in the area hidden by the repair, provided that the repair was previously approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), or by the Authorized Representative of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), or installed as specified in Part 2 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014. Inspections in Part 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, remain applicable in areas not hidden by the repair.

(h) Post-Repair Inspections

Repairs identified in Part 2 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, specify post-repair airworthiness limitation inspections for compliance with 14 CFR 25.57l(a)(3) at the repaired locations, which support compliance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or 129.109(b)(2). As airworthiness limitations, these inspections are required by maintenance and operational rules. It is therefore unnecessary to mandate them in this AD. Deviations from these inspections require FAA approval, but do not require an AMOC.

(i) Exception to the Service Information

Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014, specifies a compliance time “after the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

(j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Seattle ACO, 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 manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-Seattle-ACO-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(2) 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.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes ODA that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

(4) Except as required by paragraph (i) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (j)(4)(i) and (j)(4)(ii) apply.

(i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. If a step or substep is labeled “RC Exempt,” then the RC requirement is removed from that step or substep. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

(ii) Steps not labeled 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 RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

(k) Related Information

For more information about this AD, contact Wayne Lockett, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle ACO, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6447; fax: 425-917-6590; email: wayne.lockett@faa.gov.

(l) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767-53A0260, dated August 26, 2014.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone: 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax: 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

(4) 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.

(5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 16, 2016.

Suzanne Masterson,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-23076 Filed 10-17-16; 8:45 am]

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