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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM); reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY:

We are revising an earlier notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for certain Airbus Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes; and Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes. This action revises the NPRM by including new inspection locations for certain airplanes, and removing incorrect part numbers. We are proposing this airworthiness directive (AD) to address the unsafe condition on these products. Since these actions impose an additional burden over those proposed in the NPRM, we are reopening the comment period to allow the public the chance to comment on these proposed changes.

DATES:

The comment period for the NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2016 (81 FR 40201), is reopened.

We must receive comments on this SNPRM by July 3, 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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this SNPRM, 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 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-2016-7264; 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 SNPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket 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-2016-7264; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-185-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this SNPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this SNPRM 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 SNPRM.

Discussion

We issued an NPRM to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Airbus Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes; and Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2016 (81 FR 40201) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by a quality control review on the final assembly line, which determined that the wrong aluminum alloy was used to manufacture several structural parts. The NPRM proposed to require a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of certain cabin and cargo compartment structural parts to determine if an incorrect aluminum alloy was used, and replacement of any affected part with a serviceable part.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0021, dated February 8, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes; and Model A340-500 and -600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

Following an Airbus quality control review on the final assembly line, it was discovered that wrong aluminum alloy was used to manufacture several structural parts.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could reduce the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus published [Service Bulletin] (SB) A330-53-3261, SB A330-53-3262, and SB A340-53-5072, as applicable to aeroplane type/model, to provide instructions to identify the affected parts. Consequently, EASA issued AD 2015-0206 to require a one-time special detailed inspection (SDI) [eddy current conductivity measurements] of certain cabin and/or cargo compartment parts for material identification and, depending on findings, replacement with serviceable parts.Start Printed Page 22908

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, Airbus identified that the list of affected structural parts in SB A330-53-3261 was incorrect. Prompted by these findings, Airbus issued SB A330-53-3261 Revision 01 to introduce the new locations to be inspected and remove other parts not affected.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2015-0206, which is superseded, and expands the locations to be inspected.

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-2016-7264.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed the following service information:

  • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 2016.
  • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3262, including Appendixes 01 and 02, dated June 23, 2015.
  • Airbus Service Bulletin A340-53-5072, including Appendixes 01 and 02, dated June 23, 2015.

The service information describes procedures for a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of certain cabin and cargo compartment structural parts to determine if an incorrect aluminum alloy was used, and replacement of any affected part with a serviceable part. This service information is distinct since it applies to different parts on different airplanes. 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.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing the NPRM. We considered the comments received.

Request To Change Compliance Time

American Airlines (AA) asked that we change the compliance time for the on-condition replacement specified in paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in the NPRM) from “before further flight” to “within 6 years after the effective date of the AD, or within 12 years from the aeroplane date of manufacture, whichever occurs first” to correspond with the compliance time in the EASA AD. AA stated that this would provide more flexibility to operators in order to have a better plan to procure the parts and accomplish the replacement without extended downtime if the replacement parts are not immediately available after doing the inspection.

We agree with the commenter for the reasons provided. We have changed the compliance time specified in paragraph (h) of this proposed AD accordingly.

Request To Correct Typographical Error

AA asked that we correct a typographical error specified in the second box of Figure A-GFAAA, Sheet 02, “Inspection Flowchart,” of the service information identified in paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of the proposed AD (in the NPRM). AA stated that the conductivity measurement should specify Sigma 60 instead of Sigma 480.

We agree that the conductivity measurement specified in the second box of the specified inspection flowchart is incorrect. We have added paragraph (i) to this proposed AD to specify this exception to the inspection flowchart in the service information. We have redesignated subsequent paragraphs accordingly.

Additional Changes to This Proposed AD

As stated previously, we have revised this proposed AD to include new inspection locations for certain airplanes, and to remove incorrect part numbers from table 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this proposed AD.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This SNPRM

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 the same type design.

Certain changes described above expand the scope of the NPRM. As a result, we have determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for the public to comment on this SNPRM.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 37 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it would take about 17 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $53,465, or $1,445 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any on-condition repairs would take about 45 work-hours and would require parts costing $0, for a cost of $3,825 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these repairs.

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 available 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);

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 Start Printed Page 22909

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-2016-7264; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-185-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by July 3, 2017.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes, manufacturer serial numbers identified in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, dated November 10, 2016; and/or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3262, dated June 23, 2015.

(2) Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes, manufacturer serial numbers 1030, 1040, 1079, 1091, 1102, and 1122.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a quality control review on the final assembly line, which determined that the wrong aluminum alloy was used to manufacture several structural parts. We are issuing this AD to detect and replace structural parts made of incorrect aluminum alloy. This condition could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) One-time Measurement

Except as provided by paragraph (i) of this AD: Within 6 years after the effective date of this AD, but not exceeding 12 years since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness; do a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of the cabin and cargo compartment structural parts identified in the “Affected Part Number” column of table 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD to determine if an incorrect aluminum alloy was used, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information identified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD.

(1) For cargo compartment structural parts for Model A330 airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 2016.

(2) For cabin structural parts for Model A330 airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3262, including Appendixes 01 and 02, dated June 23, 2015; except part number F5377004320300, which is located in the “cabin” area, but must be inspected in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 2016.

(3) For cargo compartment structural parts for Model A340 airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A340-53-5072, including Appendixes 01 and 02, dated June 23, 2015.

Table 1 to Paragraphs (g) and (h) of This AD—Parts To Be Inspected/Installed

Affected part numberAcceptable replacement part numberArea
F5347126620600F5347126620000Cabin.
F5347126621000F5347126620400Cabin.
F5377004320300F5377004320351Cabin.
F5347170420400F5347170420400Cargo.
F5347170420600F5347170420600Cargo.
G5367131300000G5367131300000Cargo.
G5367173700000G5367173700000Cargo.
G5367173800000G5367173800000Cargo.

(h) Replacement

If during the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, any affected part having a part number specified in table 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD is found to have a measured value greater than that specified in Figure A-GFAAA, Sheet 02, “Inspection Flowchart,” of the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, except as provided by paragraph (i) of this AD: Within 6 years after the effective date of this AD, but not exceeding 12 years since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, replace the affected part with an acceptable replacement part having a part number specified in table 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information identified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD.

(i) Exception to Certain Service Information

Where Figure A-GFAAA, Sheet 02, “Inspection Flowchart,” of the service information identified in paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this AD specifies to “do the conductivity (σ) measurement with 60kHz (refer to Appendix 01) σ480 = __ MS/m,” the correct conductivity measurement is “σ60 = __ MS/m.”

(j) Additional Inspection for Certain Airplanes

For Model A330 airplanes on which the inspection and replacement, as applicable, specified in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD were done before the effective date of this AD, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, dated June 23, 2015: Within 6 years after the effective date of this AD, but not exceeding 12 years since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, do a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of structural parts having part number (P/N) G5367131300000, P/N G5367173700000, and P/N G5367173800000, located in fuselage section 15, in accordance with the “Additional Work” section of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 2016.

(k) Replacement

If during the inspection required by paragraph (j) of this AD, any affected part having a part number specified in paragraph (j) of this AD is found to have a measured value greater than that specified in Figure A-GFAAA, Sheet 02, “Inspection Flowchart,” of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 2016: Within 6 years after the effective date of this AD, but not exceeding 12 years since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, replace the affected part with an acceptable replacement part having a part number specified in table 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-53-3261, Revision 01, including Appendixes 01, 02, and 03, dated November 10, 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 the person identified in paragraph (m)(2) of this AD. 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 Start Printed Page 22910be 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) Required for Compliance (RC): 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.

(m) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0021, dated February 8, 2017, 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-2016-7264.

(2) For more information about this AD, 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.

(3) 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 May 8, 2017.

Michael Kaszycki,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-10035 Filed 5-18-17; 8:45 am]

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