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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company 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 The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a manufacturer's review that showed that the tank access door at a certain wing buttock line did not have an engineered ground path with the mating wing structure. This proposed AD would require replacing the tank access door, doing a check of the electrical bond, doing related investigative and corrective actions if necessary, and revising the maintenance or inspection program by incorporating an airworthiness limitation (AWL). We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 24, 2017.

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 Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; 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. Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0128.

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-2017-0128; 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 Office (phone: 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:

Christopher Baker, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6498; fax: 425-917-6590; email: christopher.r.baker@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 proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2017-0128; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-194-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 because of those comments.Start Printed Page 13080

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 manufacturer has reported that the tank access door at wing buttock line 191.00 did not have an engineered ground path with the mating wing structure. The current installation could become a potential ignition source in the event of a lightning strike. To date, there have been no reports of ignition in the fuel tank at this tank access door location that were caused by a lightning strike. An ungrounded path between the door and the mating wing structure, if not corrected, could result in an increased risk of ignition and subsequent fuel tank explosion in the event of a lightning strike.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed the following service information.

  • Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, which describes procedures for replacing the tank access door with a new installation that has two engineered ground paths between the new door assembly and the mating wing structure, doing a check of the electrical bond, and related investigative and corrective actions.
  • Boeing 737-12345 Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs) D6-38278-CMR, dated May 2016. The AWL required by this AD is AWL 28-AWL-30 “Upper Wing Fuel Tank Access Panel—Lightning Protection Electrical Design Features,” which describes features to verify during installation of the upper fuel tank access panel.

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

We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously, except as discussed under “Differences Between this Proposed AD and the Service Information.” For information on the procedures and compliance times, see Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0128.

The phrase “related investigative actions” is used in this proposed AD. Related investigative actions are follow-on actions that (1) are related to the primary action, and (2) further investigate the nature of any condition found. Related investigative actions in an AD could include, for example, inspections.

The phrase “corrective actions” is used in this proposed AD. Corrective actions correct or address any condition found. Corrective actions in an AD could include, for example, repairs.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, specifies to contact the manufacturer for certain instructions, but this proposed AD would require using repair methods, modification deviations, and alteration deviations in one of the following ways:

  • In accordance with a method that we approve; or
  • Using data that meet the certification basis of the airplane, and that have been approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) whom we have authorized to make those findings.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 381 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
Install new door assembly and check electrical bond12 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,020$2,237$3,257$1,240,917
Revise maintenance or inspection program1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $8508532,385

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

According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

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),Start Printed Page 13081

(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

The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2017-0128; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-194-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by April 24, 2017.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57, Wings.

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a manufacturer's review that showed that the tank access door at wing buttock line 191.00 did not have an engineered ground path with the mating wing structure. We are issuing this AD to prevent an ungrounded path that could result in an increased risk of ignition and subsequent fuel tank explosion in the event of a lightning strike.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) New Door Assembly, Electrical Bond Check, and Related Corrective Actions

At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, except as required by paragraph (i)(1) of this AD: Install a new door assembly, do a check of the electrical bond, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, except as required by paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight.

(h) Revise the Maintenance or Inspection Program

Prior to or concurrently with accomplishment of the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, or within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate Airworthiness Limitation 28-AWL-30, “Upper Wing Fuel Tank Access Panel—Lightning Protection Electrical Design Features,” as specified in Boeing 737-12345 Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs) D6-38278-CMR, dated May 2016.

(i) Service Information Exceptions

(1) Where Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, 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.

(2) Where Boeing Service Bulletin 737-57-1320, dated October 7, 2016, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions, and specifies that action as Required for Compliance (RC), this AD requires repair using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j) of this AD.

(j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 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)(1) 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 Organization Designation Authorization (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)(2) 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) of this AD 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

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Christopher Baker, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6498; fax: 425-917-6590; email: christopher.r.baker@faa.gov.

(2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; 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.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 2, 2017.

Michael Kaszycki,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-04598 Filed 3-8-17; 8:45 am]

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