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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS Airplanes

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-24-07, which applies to certain Airbus SAS Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; A320-211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. AD 2014-24-07 requires repetitive rototest inspections for cracking; corrective actions if necessary; and modification of the torsion box, which terminates the repetitive inspections. Since the FAA issued AD 2014-24-07, the FAA has determined that the compliance times for the repetitive inspections must be revised for certain airplanes. This proposed AD would retain the actions of AD 2014-24-07, with certain revised compliance times, as specified in a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which will be incorporated by reference. This proposed AD would also revise the applicability to include additional airplanes. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 21, 2019.

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 W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For the material identified in this proposed AD that will be incorporated by reference (IBR), contact the EASA, at Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 1000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this IBR material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this IBR material 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 in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

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-2019-0673; 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 NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

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

The FAA invites 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-2019-0673; Product Identifier 2019-NM-101-AD” at the beginning of your comments. The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM based on those comments.

The FAA will post all comments, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The FAA will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact the agency receives about this NPRM.

Discussion

The FAA issued AD 2014-24-07, Amendment 39-18040 (79 FR 72124, December 5, 2014) (“AD 2014-24-07”), for certain Airbus SAS Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; A320-211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, -232 airplanes. AD 2014-24-07 requires repetitive rototest inspections for cracking; corrective actions if necessary; and modification of the torsion box, which terminates the repetitive inspections. AD 2014-24-07 resulted from a report of a crack found in the fuselage during a fatigue test campaign. The FAA issued AD 2014-24-07 to address cracking in the side box beam flange of the fuselage, which could affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

Actions Since AD 2014-24-07 Was Issued

Since the FAA issued AD 2014-24-07, the compliance times for the repetitive inspections have been reduced for airplanes with a retrofit sharklet installation with non-structural reinforcement.

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the Start Printed Page 46901European Union, has issued EASA AD 2019-0122, dated June 4, 2019 (“EASA AD 2019-0122”) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus SAS Model A318 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. The MCAI states:

During the full scale fatigue test campaign of the A320 family type design, a crack was reported in the fuselage side box beam flange at frame (FR) 43 level, both sides.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued SB [service bulletin] A320-53-1258, providing instructions for repetitive inspections, and SB A320-53-1251, later revised, providing modification instructions.

Consequently, EASA issued AD 2013-0261 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2014-24-07], requiring repetitive inspections and, depending on findings, accomplishment of corrective action(s). That [EASA] AD also required a modification, which constitutes terminating action for the required repetitive inspections.

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, Airbus issued SB A320-57-1193 (retrofit mod 160080) to allow retrofit sharklet installation on A320 and A319 aeroplanes with non-structural reinforcement, and revised SB A320-53-1258, including new affected aeroplane configuration and applicable accomplishment timescale.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2013-0261, which is superseded, but requires accomplishment of repetitive inspections and, depending on findings, corrective action(s), at different accomplishment timescale, depending on aeroplane configuration. This [EASA] AD also requires a modification, which constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections.

Explanation of Retained Requirements

Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD 2014-24-07, this proposed AD would retain all of the requirements of AD 2014-24-07. Those requirements are referenced in EASA AD 2019-0122, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of this proposed AD.

Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2019-0122 describes procedures for repetitive rototest inspections for cracking; corrective actions if necessary; and modification of the torsion box, which would terminate the repetitive inspections.

This material 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 the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD because the FAA 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.

Proposed Requirements of This NPRM

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2019-0122 described previously, as incorporated by reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this AD.

Model A320-216 Airplanes

The Airbus SAS Model A320-216 was U.S. type certificated on December 19, 2016. Before that date, any EASA ADs that affected Model A320-216 airplanes were included in the U.S. type certificate as part of the Required Airworthiness Actions List (RAAL). One or more Model A320-216 airplanes have subsequently been placed on the U.S. Register, and will now be included in FAA AD actions. For Model A320-216 airplanes, the requirements that correspond to AD 2014-24-07 were mandated by the MCAI via the RAAL. Although that RAAL requirement is still in effect, for continuity and clarity the agency has identified Model A320-216 airplanes in paragraph (c) of this AD; the restated requirements of this proposed AD would therefore apply to those airplanes.

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD process, the FAA worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. As a result, EASA AD 2019-0122 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with the provisions specified in EASA AD 2019-0122, through that incorporation, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a particular section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD requirement refers to “all required actions and compliance times,” compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section titled “Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)” in the EASA AD. Service information specified in EASA AD 2019-0122 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2019-0122 will be available on the internet http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0673 after the FAA final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 851 airplanes of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Retained actions from AD 2014-24-07178 work-hours × $85 per hour = $15,130$31,334$46,464$39,540,864

The new requirements of this proposed AD add no new economic burden.

The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable the agency to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this proposed AD.Start Printed Page 46902

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 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

The FAA 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) 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

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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-24-07, Amendment 39-18040 ( 79 FR 72124, December 5, 2014), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part

Airbus SAS: Docket No. FAA-2019-0673; Product Identifier 2019-NM-101-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by October 21, 2019.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2014-24-07, Amendment 39-18040 (79 FR 72124, December 5, 2014) (“AD 2014-24-07”).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus SAS Model airplanes specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (4) of this AD, certificated in any category, as identified in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2019-0122, dated June 4, 2019 (“EASA AD 2019-0122”).

(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, and -233 airplanes.

(4) Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of a crack found in the side box beam flange of the fuselage at the frame (FR) 43 level during a fatigue test campaign. The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking in the side box beam flange of the fuselage, which could affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Requirements

Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all required actions and compliance times specified in, and in accordance with, EASA AD 2019-0122.

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2019-0122

(1) For purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this AD: Where EASA AD 2019-0122 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD. However, where Table 1 of EASA AD 2019-0122 provides compliance times for group 1B airplanes as “[w]ithin 3,000 FC or 6,000 FH” after a given date, this AD requires that those compliance times be calculated 3,000 flight cycles or 6,000 flight hours, “whichever occurs first” after January 9, 2015 (the effective date of AD 2014-24-07).

(2) The “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2019-0122 does not apply to this AD.

(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 instructions from a manufacturer, the instructions must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or 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): For any service information referenced in EASA AD 2019-0122 that contains RC procedures and tests: Except as required by paragraph (i)(2) of this AD, RC 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) For information about EASA AD 2019-0122, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 6017; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; Internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this EASA AD at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For Start Printed Page 46903information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. EASA AD 2019-0122 may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0673.

(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.

Start Signature

Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on August 22, 2019.

Suzanne Masterson,

Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-19010 Filed 9-5-19; 8:45 am]

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