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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS 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 all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes). This AD was prompted by a determination that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary. This AD requires revising the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate new or more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective November 2, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of November 2, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, Rond-Point Emile Dewoitine No: 2, 31700 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 Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0360.

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-2018-0360; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is 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 Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3225.

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 all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes). The Start Printed Page 48933NPRM published in the Federal Register on April 30, 2018 (83 FR 18756). The NPRM was prompted by a determination that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary. The NPRM proposed to require revising the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate new or 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.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD EASA AD 2017-0205, dated October 12, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes). The MCAI states:

The airworthiness limitations for the Airbus A300-600 aeroplanes, which are approved by EASA, are currently defined and published in the Airbus A300-600 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) documents. The Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items are specified in the A300-600 ALS Part 2. These instructions have been identified as mandatory for continuing airworthiness.

Failure to accomplish these instructions could result in an unsafe condition [i.e., to prevent fatigue cracking, damage, or corrosion in principal structural elements, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane].

EASA previously issued [EASA] AD 2016-0218 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2018-01-07, Amendment 39-19148 (83 FR 2042, January 16, 2018) (“AD 2018-01-07”)] to require compliance with the maintenance requirements and associated airworthiness limitations defined in Airbus A300-600 ALS Part 2 Revision 01, Variation 1.1 and Variation 1.2.

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, new or more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations were approved by the EASA. Consequently, Airbus published Revision 02 of the A300-600 ALS Part 2, compiling all ALS Part 2 changes approved since previous Revision 01.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2016-0218, which is superseded, and requires accomplishment of the actions specified in Airbus A300-600 ALS Part 2 Revision 02.

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-2018-0360.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this final rule. The following presents the comment received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to the comment.

Request

United Parcel Service (UPS) requested that we provide approval for alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) that were previously approved for AD 2013-13-13, Amendment 39-17501 (79 FR 48957, August 19, 2014) (“AD 2013-13-13”); and AD 2018-01-07, Amendment 39-19148 (83 FR 2042, January 16, 2018) (“AD 2018-01-07”).

We agree that AMOCs previously approved for AD 2018-01-07 and AD 2013-13-13 should be approved for this AD. The FAA has reviewed the related AMOCs, and it is acceptable to give credit for previous AMOCs approved for AD 2018-01-07, which will be terminated by this AD. AD 2018-01-07 approved the use of AMOCs for AD 2013-13-13, and those AMOCs remain in force. As a result, we have revised paragraph (j)(1) 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 final rule 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 addressing the unsafe condition; and
  • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM.

We also determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this final rule.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus SAS has issued A300-600 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT-ALI),” Revision 02, dated August 28, 2017. This service information describes airworthiness limitations applicable to the DT-ALIs. 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 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 issuing 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 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 AMOC according to paragraph (j)(1) of this AD. The request should include a description of changes to the required actions that will ensure the continued damage tolerance of the affected structure.

Difference Between the MCAI and This AD

The MCAI specifies that if there are findings from the ALS inspection tasks, corrective actions must be accomplished in accordance with Airbus SAS maintenance documentation. However, this AD does not include that requirement. Operators of U.S.-registered airplanes are required by general airworthiness and operational regulations to perform maintenance using methods that are acceptable to the FAA. We consider those methods to be adequate to address any corrective actions necessitated by the findings of ALS inspections required by this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 125 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

We have determined that revising the maintenance or inspection program takes an average of 90 work-hours per operator, although we recognize that this number may vary from operator to operator. In the past, we have estimated that this action takes 1 work-hour per airplane. Since operators incorporate maintenance or inspection program changes for their affected fleet(s), we Start Printed Page 48934have determined that a per-operator estimate is more accurate than a per-airplane estimate. Therefore, we estimate the total cost per operator to be $7,650 (90 work-hours × $85 per work-hour).

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 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 and associated appliances to the Director of the System Oversight Division.

Regulatory Findings

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 .

2018-19-33 Airbus SAS: Amendment 39-19434; Docket No. FAA-2018-0360; Product Identifier 2018-NM-009-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD is effective November 2, 2018.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD affects AD 2018-01-07, Amendment 39-19148 (83 FR 2042, January 16, 2018) (“AD 2018-01-07”).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, B4-622, B4-605R, B4-622R, F4-605R, F4-622R, and C4-605R Variant F airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 05, Time limits/maintenance checks.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a determination that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary. We are issuing this AD to address fatigue cracking, damage, and 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 90 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the information specified in Airbus A300-600 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT-ALI),” Revision 02, dated August 28, 2017. The initial compliance times for doing the tasks are at the applicable times specified in Airbus A300-600 ALS, Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT-ALI),” Revision 02, dated August 28, 2017, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

(h) No Alternative Actions or 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 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 Actions for AD 2018-01-07

Accomplishing the actions required by this AD terminates all requirements of AD 2018-01-07.

(j) 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 (k)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-116-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov.

(i) 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.

(ii) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2018-01-07 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

(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 the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus SAS'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.Start Printed Page 48935

(k) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2017-0205, dated October 12, 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-2018-0360.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3225.

(l) 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 A300-600 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS), Part 2, “Damage Tolerant Airworthiness Limitation Items (DT-ALI),” Revision 02, dated August 28, 2017.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, Rond-Point Emile Dewoitine No: 2, 31700 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 Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

(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.

Start Signature

Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on September 17, 2018.

John P. Piccola,

Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-20921 Filed 9-27-18; 8:45 am]

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