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Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 737-200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracking in the lower lobe skin panel assemblies of the fuselage and an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that these assemblies are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). This AD requires replacement of lower lobe skin panel assemblies, detailed inspections for scribe lines, and applicable on-Start Printed Page 34770condition actions. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective August 23, 2019.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of August 23, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.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-2019-0022.

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-2019-0022; 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 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:

James Guo, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5357; fax: 562-627-5210; email: james.guo@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain The Boeing Company Model 737-200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 22, 2019 (84 FR 5614). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracking in the lower lobe skin panel assemblies of the fuselage. The NPRM proposed to require replacement of lower lobe skin panel assemblies, detailed inspections for scribe lines, and applicable on-condition actions.

The FAA is issuing this AD to address the possibility of skin crack growth and multiple adjacent cracks at chem-milled steps in the fuselage skin linking up with each other, which could lead to decompression or loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

Comments

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

Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the Proposed Actions

Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM.

The FAA concurs with the commenter. The FAA has redesignated paragraph (c) of the proposed AD as paragraph (c)(1) of this AD and added paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01219SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

Request To Revise What Prompted the NPRM

Boeing requested that the FAA change the SUMMARY section of the NPRM and paragraph (e) of the proposed AD to indicate that the proposed AD was prompted by the DAH indication that the lower skin panel assemblies of the fuselage are subject to WFD. Boeing asserted that this kind of language was used to address a similar issue in a previous AD and in the associated service information.

The FAA partially agrees that this AD was prompted by the DAH evaluation of WFD in this area, because the DAH did perform the evaluation. However, the FAA disagrees that this is the only reason for the creation of the proposed AD. The FAA has revised the SUMMARY section in this final rule and paragraph (e) of this AD to state that the AD was prompted by reports of cracking in the lower lobe skin panel assemblies and by a DAH evaluation that lower lobe skin panel assemblies of the fuselage are subject to WFD.

Request To Change Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) Name

Boeing requested that the FAA change “the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA)” to “The Boeing Company Organization Designation Authorization (ODA),” because the name of the ODA has changed.

The FAA agrees with the request. The FAA has made the requested change in this AD.

Conclusion

The FAA reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this final rule with the changes described previously and minor editorial changes. The FAA has 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.

The FAA 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

The FAA reviewed Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018. The service information describes procedures for replacement of lower lobe skin panel assemblies, detailed inspections for scribe lines, and applicable on-condition actions.

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.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD affects 171 airplanes of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:Start Printed Page 34771

Estimated Costs for Required Actions *

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Inspection and replacement688 work-hours × $85 per hour = $58,480(*)* $58,480* $10,000,080
* Parts cost unavailable.

The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable the agency to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions 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.

The FAA is 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) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(3) 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

2019-13-02 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19675; Docket No. FAA-2019-0022; Product Identifier 2018-NM-162-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD is effective August 23, 2019.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

(1) This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 737-200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018.

(2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by reports of cracking in the lower lobe skin panel assemblies of the fuselage and an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the lower lobe skin panel assemblies of the fuselage are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). The FAA is issuing this AD to address the possibility of skin crack growth and multiple adjacent cracks at chem-milled steps in the fuselage skin linking up with each other, which could lead to decompression or loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Required Actions

Except as specified by paragraph (h) of this AD: At the applicable times specified in the “Compliance” paragraph of Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018, do all applicable actions identified in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018.

Note 1 to paragraph (g):

Guidance for accomplishing the actions required by this AD can be found in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1379, dated September 4, 2018, which is referred to in Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018.

(h) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

(1) For purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this AD: Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB,” this AD requires using “the effective date of this AD.”

(2) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018, specifies contacting Boeing for work instructions or for scribe line repair and skin panel replacement instructions: This AD requires doing the work and the scribe line repair and skin panel replacement before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i) of this AD.

(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO 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 manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j) of this Start Printed Page 34772AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-LAACO-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(2) 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.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by The Boeing Company Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

(j) Related Information

For more information about this AD, contact James Guo, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5357; fax: 562-627-5210; email: james.guo@faa.gov.

(k) 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 the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 737-53A1379 RB, dated September 4, 2018.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.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 June 28, 2019.

Michael Kaszycki,

Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-15358 Filed 7-18-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P