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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A300 F4-600R series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of two adjacent frame forks that were found cracked on the aft lower deck cargo door (LDCD) of two Model A300-600F4 airplanes during scheduled maintenance. This AD requires repetitive high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections of the aft LDCD frame forks; a one-time check of the LDCD clearances; and a one-time detailed visual inspection of hooks, eccentric bushes, and x-stops; and corrective actions if necessary. We are issuing this AD to prevent the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 26, 2017.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 26, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, 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. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-6894.

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-2016-6894; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. Start Printed Page 93802and 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 Office (telephone 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:

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 certain Airbus Model A300 F4-600R series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2016 (81 FR 34285) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by a report of two adjacent frame forks that were found cracked on the aft LDCD of two Model A300-600F4 airplanes during scheduled maintenance. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive HFEC inspections of the aft LDCD frame forks; a one-time check of the LDCD clearances; and a one-time detailed visual inspection of hooks, eccentric bushes, and x-stops; and corrective actions if necessary. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracked or ruptured aft LDCD frames, which could allow loads to be transferred to the remaining structural elements.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0152, dated July 24, 2015 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A300 F4-605R and A300 F4-622R airplanes. The MCAI states:

During scheduled maintenance at frames (FR) 61 and FR61A on the aft lower deck cargo door (LDCD) of two A300-600F4 aeroplanes, two adjacent frame forks were found cracked.

Subsequent analysis determined that, in case of cracked or ruptured aft cargo door frame(s), loads will be transferred to the remaining structural elements. However, these secondary load paths will be able to sustain the loads for a limited number of flight cycles only.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the rupture of one or more vertical aft cargo door frame(s), resulting in reduced structural integrity of the aft cargo door.

To address this unsafe condition, Airbus issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A52W011-15 to provide inspection instructions.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive inspections [for cracking] of the aft LDCD frame forks and, depending on findings, the accomplishment of corrective action(s).

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

Required actions include a one-time check of the LDCD clearances and a one-time detailed visual inspection of hooks, eccentric bushes, and x-stops; and corrective actions if necessary. 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-2016-6894.

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.

Request To Remove Requirements

United Parcel Service (UPS) requested that we remove the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of the proposed AD because the identified work does not contribute to the detection of crack formation.

We do not agree with the request. At this time, Airbus is uncertain of the cause of the cracking; it is possible that the affected aircraft were incorrectly rigged. Incorrect rigging could lead to an improper gap, which could lead to uneven loading on the door frame, thus contributing to the cracking. The actions required by paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD are performed only one time and are not repeated. No changes have been made to this AD regarding this issue.

Request To Revise Reporting Requirement

UPS requested that we revise the reporting requirement specified in paragraph (i) of the proposed AD. UPS suggested an alternative method for submitting inspection results and indicated the alternative would add flexibility in the reporting method and maintain the intent of the requirement.

We agree, and have revised paragraph (i) of this AD accordingly.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comment received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the change 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.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A52W011-15, Revision 00, including Appendices 1, 2, 3, and 4, dated July 23, 2015. The service information describes procedures for repetitive HFEC inspections for cracking of the aft LDCD frame forks; a one-time check of the LDCD clearances; and a one-time detailed visual inspection of hooks, eccentric bushes, and x-stops; and corrective actions 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.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 58 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
Inspections4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340$0$340 per inspection cycle$19,720 per inspection cycle.
Reporting1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $850$85 per inspection cycle$4,930 per inspection cycle.
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We estimate the following costs to do any necessary repairs that will be required based on the results of the required inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these repairs:

On-Condition Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per product
RepairUp to 15 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,275Up to $10,000Up to $11,275.

Paperwork Reduction Act

A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

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, 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:

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

2016-25-03 Airbus: Amendment 39-18729; Docket No. FAA-2016-6894; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-120-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD is effective January 26, 2017.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A300 F4-605R and A300 F4-622R airplanes, certificated in any category, on which Airbus Modification 12046 has been embodied in production. Modification 12046 has been embodied in production on manufacturer serial numbers (MSNs) 0805 and above, except MSNs 0836, 0837, and 0838.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 52, Doors.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of two adjacent frame forks that were found cracked on the aft lower deck cargo door (LDCD) of two Model A300-600F4 airplanes during scheduled maintenance. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracked or ruptured aft LDCD frames, which could allow loads to be transferred to the remaining structural elements. This condition could lead to the rupture of one or more vertical aft LDCD frames, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the aft LDCD.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspection Requirements

At the applicable time specified in paragraph (h) of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, in accordance with Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A52W011-15, Revision 00, dated July 23, 2015.

(1) Do a one-time check of the aft LDCD clearances “U” and “V” between the latching hooks and the eccentric bush at FR60 through FR64A. If any value outside tolerance is found, adjust the latching hook before further flight.

(2) Do a one-time detailed inspection to detect signs of wear of the hooks, eccentric bushes, and x-stops. If any wear is found, do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

(3) Do a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection to detect cracking at all frame fork stations of the aft LDCD. If any crack is found, replace the cracked frame fork before further flight. Repeat the HFEC inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 600 flight cycles.

(h) Compliance Times

At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD, do the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

(1) Before the accumulation of 4,500 total flight cycles.

(2) At the applicable time specified by paragraph (h)(2)(i) or (h)(2)(ii) of this AD.

(i) For airplanes that have accumulated 8,000 or more total flight cycles as of the effective date this AD: Within 100 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.

(ii) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 8,000 total flight cycles as of the effective date of this AD: Within 400 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.Start Printed Page 93804

(i) Reporting

At the applicable time specified in paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD, report the findings (both positive and negative) of the clearance check and detailed inspection required by paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD, and each HFEC inspection required by paragraph (g)(3) of this AD. Send the report to Airbus at Airbus Service Bulletin Reporting Online Application on Airbus World (https://w3.airbus.com/​), or in accordance with paragraph 7 of Airbus AOT A52W011-15, Revision 00, dated July 23, 2015. The report must include the applicable information specified in Appendix 2 of Airbus AOT A52W011-15, Revision 00, dated July 23, 2015.

(1) If the inspection was done on or after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 60 days after the inspection.

(2) If the inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 60 days after the effective date of this AD.

(j) Post-Repair Provisions

(1) Accomplishment of corrective actions required by this AD does not terminate the repetitive HFEC inspections required by paragraph (g)(3) of this AD.

(2) If all frame forks are replaced at the same time on the aft LDCD of an airplane, the next HFEC inspection required by paragraph (g)(3) of this AD can be deferred up to 4,500 flight cycles after the frame fork replacement.

(k) 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.

(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.

(3) Reporting Requirements: A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

(l) Related Information

Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Airworthiness Directive 2015-0152, dated July 24, 2015, 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-2016-6894.

(m) 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 this AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Airbus Alert Operators Transmission A52W011-15, Revision 00, dated July 23, 2015, including the following appendices:

(A) Appendix 1—Flowchart, undated.

(B) Appendix 2—Reporting Sheet, undated. (None of the pages of Appendix 2 are numbered.)

(C) Appendix 3—titled “Technical Disposition,” Ref. TD/K12/L3/02978/2015, Issue B, dated July 21, 2015. (Appendix 3 is identified with an appendix number only on page 1 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission A52W011-15, Revision 00, dated July 23, 2015.)

(D) Appendix 4—P/N identification for frame forks and bushings, undated.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(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.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 7, 2016.

Dionne Palermo,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-30031 Filed 12-21-16; 8:45 am]

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