Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS

Comments on this document are being accepted at Regulations.gov. Submit a formal comment

Read the 2 public comments

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Document Statistics
Document page views are updated periodically throughout the day and are cumulative counts for this document including its time on Public Inspection. Counts are subject to sampling, reprocessing and revision (up or down) throughout the day.
Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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 proposal, which would have applied to certain Airbus SAS Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; Model A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, -232, -251N, -253N, and -271N airplanes. This action revises the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by including revised restrictive requirements and adding airplanes to the applicability. 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 July 17, 2018 (83 FR 33159), is reopened.

We must receive comments on this SNPRM by December 24, 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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room Start Printed Page 55831W12-140, 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 NPRM, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 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 referenced 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-2018-0554; 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 SNPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

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-2018-0554; Product Identifier 2018-NM-064-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 SAS Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; Model A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, -232, -251N, -253N, and -271N airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 17, 2018 (83 FR 33159). The NPRM was prompted by a revision of an airworthiness limitation item (ALI) document, which requires more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. The NPRM proposed to require revising the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate new maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations.

Actions Since the NPRM Was Issued

Since we issued the NPRM, we have determined that new or more restrictive requirements in revised service information are necessary, and that the identified unsafe condition also exists or may develop on Airbus SAS Model A321-251NX, -252N, -252NX, -253NX, -271NX, -272N, and -272NX airplanes.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2018-0180, dated August 27, 2018 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus SAS Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; Model A320 series airplanes; and Model A321 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

The airworthiness limitations for the Airbus A320 family aeroplanes, which are approved by EASA, are currently defined and published in the A318/A319/A320/A321 ALS [Airworthiness Limitations Section] document(s). The airworthiness limitations applicable to the Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR), which are approved by EASA, are published in ALS Part 3.

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

Previously, EASA issued AD 2017-0168 to require accomplishment of all maintenance tasks as described in ALS Part 3 at Revision 05.

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, Airbus published the ALS, including new and/or more restrictive requirements, and new A321 models were certified and added to the Applicability of the ALS.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2017-0168, which is superseded, expands the Applicability and requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the ALS.

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-2018-0554.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus SAS has issued Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 3, Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR), Revision 06, dated June 13, 2018. The service information describes maintenance instructions and airworthiness limitations, including updated inspections and intervals, to be incorporated into the maintenance or inspection program. 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.

Request To Revise Language Regarding Previously Approved Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

Delta Air Lines (DAL) contended that the language used in paragraph (j)(ii) of the proposed AD is inaccurate. DAL pointed out that the phrase “that require incorporation” in paragraph (j)(ii) of the proposed AD should be revised to “that allow incorporation,” on the basis that AMOCs do not require alternative actions, but instead allow them.

We agree with the commenter's request based on the reasons stated. We have revised paragraph (j)(ii) of this AD to use the word “allow” instead of “require.”

Request To Use Later Revisions of Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 3, Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR)

DAL proposed revising paragraph (j)(ii) of the proposed AD to add a provision that allows the use of corresponding later approved EASA revisions and variations of the Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 3, Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR).

We disagree with the commenters' requests. We cannot use the phrase, “or later approved revisions,” in an AD when referring to the service information because doing so violates Office of the Federal Register (OFR) regulations for approval of materials “incorporated by reference” in rules. In general terms, we are required by these OFR regulations to either publish the service document contents as part of the actual AD language; or submit the service document to the OFR for approval as “referenced” material, in which case we may only refer to such material in the text of an AD. The AD may refer to the service document only Start Printed Page 55832if the OFR approved it for “incorporation by reference.” To allow operators to use later revisions of the referenced document (issued after publication of the AD), either we must revise the AD to reference specific later revisions, or operators must request approval to use later revisions as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) with this AD under the provisions of paragraph (j)(1) of this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

FAA's Determination and Proposed 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.

This proposed AD would require revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate new or revised airworthiness limitation requirements, as specified in Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 3, Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR), Revision 06, dated June 13, 2018. The applicability of this proposed AD would also include Airbus SAS Model A321-251NX, -252N, -252NX, -253NX, -271NX, -272N, and -272NX airplanes.

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 1,250 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed 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 have 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 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 and associated appliances 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.

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 SAS: Docket No. FAA-2018-0554; Product Identifier 2018-NM-064-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by December 24, 2018.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD affects AD 2017-25-04, Amendment 39-19118 (82 FR 58098, December 11, 2017) (“AD 2017-25-04”).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the Airbus SAS airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4) of this AD, certificated in any category, with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before June 13, 2018.

(1) Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 airplanes.

(2) Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes.

(3) Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, -233, -251N, and -271N airplanes.

(4) Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, -232, -251N, -251NX, -252N, -252NX, -253N, -253NX, -271N, -271NX, -272N, and -272NX airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 05, Time Limits/Maintenance Checks.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a revision of an airworthiness limitation item (ALI) document, which requires more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are issuing this AD to address a safety-significant latent failure (that is not annunciated), which, in combination with one or more other specific failures or events, could result in a hazardous or catastrophic failure condition.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.Start Printed Page 55833

(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 A318/A319/A320/A321 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 3, Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR), Revision 06, dated June 13, 2018 (“ALS Part 3, CMR, R6”). The initial compliance time for accomplishing the tasks specified in ALS Part 3, CMR, R6, is at the applicable time specified in ALS Part 3, CMR, R6, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

(h) Terminating Actions for AD 2017-25-04

Accomplishing the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD terminates all of the requirements of AD 2017-25-04.

(i) No Alternative Actions or Intervals

After the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, 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.

(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 2017-25-04, or AD 2014-22-08, Amendment 39-18013 (79 FR 67042, November 12, 2014), that allow incorporation of ALS Part 3, CMR, R6, are considered 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.

(k) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2018-0180, dated August 27, 2018, 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-2018-0554.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

(3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 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.

Start Signature

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

Dionne Palermo,

Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-24393 Filed 11-7-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P