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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 certain Airbus Model A330-200 Freighter, A330-200, A330-300, A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a determination that a functional test to ensure that there is no blockage of vent pipes was not done on the trim tank of certain airplanes during production. This proposed AD would require doing a trim tank functional test, and corrective actions if necessary. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 31, 2018.

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 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 Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

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-2018-0270; 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 NPRM, 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:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3229.

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-2018-0270; Product Identifier 2017-NM-133-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM 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 NPRM.

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Start Printed Page 16246Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0152, dated August 17, 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 Freighter, A330-200, A330-300, A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

It was discovered that the production functional test to verify the “Tank Pressures during Refuel Overflow” was not performed on the Trim Tank (TT) of A330 and A340 aeroplanes up to MSN [manufacturer serial number] 1711. This test ensures that there is no blockage of the vent pipes.

This condition, if not corrected, could lead, in combination with a high level sensor failure, to an over-pressurisation of the TT during refueling or during aft fuel transfer, possibly resulting in a TT rupture and consequent reduced control of the aeroplane

To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus published Service Bulletin (SB) A330-28-3130, SB A340-28-4140 and SB A340-28-5061, to provide functional test instructions.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires a one-time functional test of the TT overflow and, depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s).

Corrective actions include a general visual inspection of the aperture leading to the flame arrestors (NACA duct), a detailed inspection of the flame arrestor, and blockage removal or repair of any discrepant NACA duct.

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-2018-0270.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued the following service information:

  • Service Bulletin A330-28-3130, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.
  • Service Bulletin A340-28-4140, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.
  • Service Bulletin A340-28-5061, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.

The service information describes procedures for doing a trim tank overflow functional test, a general visual inspection of the aperture leading to the flame arrestors (NACA duct), a detailed inspection of the flame arrestor, and blockage removal or repair of discrepant NACA ducts. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models. 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 these same type designs.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 97 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
Functional test16 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,360$0$1,360$131,920

We estimate the following costs to do any necessary inspections that would be required based on the results of the proposed test. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these inspections:

On-Condition Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per product
Inspections2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170$0$170

We have received no definitive data that would allow us to provide cost estimates for the blockage removal or repair of a discrepant NACA duct 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.

This proposed AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the authority to issue ADs applicable to transport category airplanes to the Director of the System Oversight Division.

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.Start Printed Page 16247

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-2018-0270; Product Identifier 2017-NM-133-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by May 31, 2018.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(7) of this AD, certificated in any category, manufacturer serial numbers 1 through 1711 inclusive.

(1) Airbus Model A330-223F and -243F airplanes.

(2) Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, and -243 airplanes.

(3) Airbus Model A330-301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

(4) Airbus Model A340-211, -212, -213 airplanes.

(5) Airbus Model A340-311, -312, and -313 airplanes.

(6) Airbus Model A340-541 airplanes.

(7) Airbus Model A340-642 airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a determination that a functional test to ensure that there is no blockage of vent pipes was not done on the trim tank of certain airplanes during production. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct blocked vent pipes, which, in combination with a high level sensor failure, could lead to over-pressurization of the trim tank during refueling or aft fuel transfer. This could lead to trim tank rupture and consequent reduced control of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Functional Test

Within 42 months after the effective date of this AD, do a trim tank overflow functional test in accordance with the instructions of the service information specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3), as applicable.

(1) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3130, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.

(2) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-4140, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.

(3) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-5061, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017.

(h) Corrective Actions

(1) If, during the functional test required by paragraph (g) of this AD, the trim tank maximum allowable pressure is exceeded: Before further flight, contact the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's Design Organization Approval (DOA) to obtain instructions for corrective actions, and within the compliance time indicated in those instructions accomplish the corrective actions accordingly.

(2) If, during the functional test required by paragraph (g) of this AD, the trim surge tank maximum allowable pressure is exceeded: Before further flight, do a general visual inspection of the aperture leading to the flame arrestors (NACA duct) and do a detailed inspection of the flame arrestor in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3130, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-4140, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-5061, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; as applicable.

(3) If, during any inspection required by paragraph (h)(2) of this AD, any discrepancy (blockage or damage of the NACA duct) is found: Before further flight, accomplish the applicable corrective actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-28-3130, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-4140, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-28-5061, Revision 00, dated May 18, 2017; as applicable.

(i) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, 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 Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(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 Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA 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.

(j) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0152, dated August 17, 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-2018-0270.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3229.

(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 Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

Start Signature

Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on March 30, 2018.

Chris Spangenberg,

Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-07647 Filed 4-13-18; 8:45 am]

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