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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 all Airbus Model A310 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a revision of certain airworthiness limitation items (ALI) documents, which require more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. This proposed AD would require revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate the maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 14, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:Start Printed Page 29790

  • 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—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.

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-2017-0628; 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:

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:

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-2017-0628; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-207-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 Airworthiness Directive 2016-0217, dated November 2, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A310 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

The airworthiness limitations for Airbus A310 aeroplanes, which are approved by EASA, are currently defined and published in the Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) document(s). These instructions have been identified as mandatory actions for continued airworthiness.

Failure to accomplish these instructions could result in an unsafe condition.

EASA previously issued [EASA] AD 2014-0124 (later revised) [which includes actions for Airbus A310 series airplanes; those actions are included in FAA AD 2013-13-13, Amendment 39-17501 (79 FR 48957, August 19, 2014) (“AD 2013-13-13”)], to require the actions as specified in Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitation Item (ALI) Document at issue 08.

Since EASA AD 2014-0124R1 was issued, Airbus replaced ALI Document issue 08 with A310 ALS Part 2 Revision 01 and then published the A310 ALS Part 2 Variation 1.1 and Variation 1.2, to introduce more restrictive maintenance requirements and/or airworthiness limitations.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains part of the requirements of EASA AD 2014-0124R1, which will be superseded, and requires accomplishment of the actions specified in Airbus A310 ALS Part 2 Revision 01, ALS Part 2 Variation 1.1 and ALS Part 2 Variation 1.2 (hereafter collectively referred to as `the ALS' in this [EASA] AD). The remaining requirements of EASA AD 2014-0124R1 are retained in [EASA] AD 2016-0218, applicable to A300-600 aeroplanes, published at the same time as this [EASA] AD.

This NPRM would not supersede AD 2013-13-13. Rather, we have determined that a stand-alone AD would be more appropriate to address the changes in the MCAI. This NPRM would require revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate the maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. Accomplishment of the proposed actions would then terminate all requirements of AD 2013-13-13.

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-2017-0628.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed the following service information:

  • Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT—ALI),” Revision 01, dated August 7, 2015.
  • Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT—ALI),” Variation 1.1, dated January 25, 2016.
  • Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT—ALI),” Variation 1.2, dated July 22, 2016.

The service information describes airworthiness limitations applicable to the DT—ALIs. These documents are distinct because they contain different tasks at different revision levels. 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 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 the same type design.

This AD requires revisions to certain operator maintenance documents to include new actions (e.g., inspections). Compliance with these actions is required by 14 CFR 91.403(c). For airplanes that have been previously modified, altered, or repaired in the areas addressed by this proposed AD, the operator may not be able to accomplish the actions described in the revisions. In this situation, to comply with 14 CFR 91.403(c), the operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance according to paragraph (j)(1) of this proposed AD. The request should include a description of changes to the required Start Printed Page 29791actions that will ensure the continued damage tolerance of the affected structure.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 8 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
Maintenance Program Revision1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85None$85$680

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-2017-0628; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-207-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by August 14, 2017.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD affects AD 2013-13-13, Amendment 39-17501 (79 FR 48957, August 19, 2014) (“AD 2013-13-13”).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Airbus Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 05.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a revision of certain airworthiness limitation items (ALI) documents, which require more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking, damage, or corrosion in principal structural elements, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Revision of Maintenance or Inspection Program

Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the information specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD. The initial compliance times for doing the tasks is at the time specified in the service information identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, or within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

(1) Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT—ALI),” Revision 01, dated August 7, 2015.

(2) Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT—ALI),” Variation 1.1, dated January 25, 2016.

(3) Airbus A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT-ALI),” Variation 1.2, dated July 22, 2016.

(h) No Alternative Actions, and Intervals

After the maintenance or inspection program has been revised as required by paragraph (g) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections), or intervals, may be used unless the actions and/or intervals are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

(i) Terminating Action for AD 2013-13-13

Accomplishing the actions required by this AD terminates all requirements of AD 2013-13-13 for that airplane only.

(j) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, 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 International Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(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 be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-Start Printed Page 29792116, 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.

(k) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0217, dated November 2, 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-2017-0628.

(2) For more information about this AD, 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.

(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. 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 June 22, 2017.

John P. Piccola, Jr.,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-13755 Filed 6-29-17; 8:45 am]

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