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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) 2017-18-17, which applies to all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-603, A300 B4-620, A300 B4-622, A300 B4-605R, A300 B4-622R, A300 F4-605R, A300 F4-622R, and A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. AD 2017-18-17 requires modifying certain fuselage frames and a repair on certain modified airplanes. Since AD 2017-18-17 was issued, the FAA has determined that, for certain airplanes, a rotating probe inspection must be performed prior to oversizing of the open-holes, and consequently more work is necessary for airplanes that have previously been modified. This proposed AD would continue to require the actions in AD 2017-18-17. This proposed AD would also require, for certain airplanes, an inspection to determine if rotating probe inspections were performed prior to oversizing of the open-holes, and repair if necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which will be incorporated by reference. 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 July 23, 2020.

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 https://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, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +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, Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety 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 https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0464.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0464; 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, 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:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3225; email: dan.rodina@faa.gov.

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-2020-0464; Product Identifier 2020-NM-040-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 received, without change, to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The FAA will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this NPRM.

Discussion

The FAA issued AD 2017-18-17, Amendment 39-19026 (82 FR 43160, September 14, 2017) (“AD 2017-18-17”), which applies to all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-603, A300 B4-620, A300 B4-622, A300 B4-605R, A300 B4-622R, A300 F4-605R, A300 F4-622R, and A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. AD 2017-18-17 requires modifying certain fuselage frames and a repair on certain modified airplanes. The FAA issued AD 2017-18-17 to address cracking of the center section of the fuselage, which could result in a ruptured frame foot and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

Actions Since AD 2017-18-17 Was Issued

Since AD 2017-18-17 was issued, the FAA has determined that, for certain airplanes, a rotating probe inspection must be performed prior to oversizing of the open-holes, and consequently more work is necessary for airplanes that have previously been modified.

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0051, dated March 11, 2020 (“EASA AD 2020-0051”) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus SAS Model A300 B4-603, A300 B4-620, A300 B4-622, A300 B4-605R, A300 B4-622R, A300 F4-605R, A300 F4-622R, A300C4-620, and A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. EASA AD 2020-0051 supersedes EASA AD 2016-0249, dated December 14, 2016; corrected January 10, 2017 (which corresponds to FAA AD 2017-18-17). Model A300C4-620 airplanes are not certificated by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this AD therefore does not include those airplanes in the applicability.

This proposed AD was prompted by a report indicating that the material used to manufacture the upper frame feet was changed and negatively affected the fatigue life of the frame feet, and a determination that more work is required for certain airplanes that were previously modified. The FAA is proposing this AD to address cracking of Start Printed Page 35017the center section of the fuselage, which could result in a ruptured frame foot and reduced structural integrity of the airplane. See the MCAI for additional background information.

Explanation of Retained Requirements

Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD 2017-18-17, this proposed AD would retain all of the requirements of AD 2017-18-17. Those requirements are referenced in EASA AD 2020-0051, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of this proposed AD.

Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2020-0051 describes procedures for modifying certain fuselage frames; a repair on certain modified airplanes; and, for certain airplanes, an inspection to determine if a rotating probe inspection was performed prior to oversizing of the open-holes, contacting the manufacturer for post-modification work instructions, and repair. 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 our 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 agency has 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 AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2020-0051 described previously, as incorporated by reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this AD.

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD process, the FAA initially 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. The FAA has since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2020-0051 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0051 in its entirety, 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 2020-0051 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-0051 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0464 after the FAA final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 65 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 2017-18-17Up to 235 work-hours × $85 per hour = $19,975$23,000Up to $42,975Up to $2,793,375.
New proposed actions1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $850$85$5,525.

The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition repairs specified in this proposed 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.

Regulatory Findings

The FAA has 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 Start Printed Page 35018

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) 2017-18-17, Amendment 39-19026 ( 82 FR 43160, September 14, 2017), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part

Airbus SAS: Docket No. FAA-2020-0464; Product Identifier 2020-NM-040-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by July 23, 2020.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2017-18-17, Amendment 39-19026 (82 FR 43160, September 14, 2017) (“AD 2017-18-17”).

(c) Applicability

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

(d) Subject

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

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report indicating that the material used to manufacture the upper frame feet was changed and negatively affected the fatigue life of the frame feet, and a determination that more work is required for certain airplanes that were previously modified. The FAA is issuing this AD to address cracking of the center section of the fuselage, which could result in a ruptured frame foot and reduced 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, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2020-0051, dated March 11, 2020 (“EASA AD 2020-0051”).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2020-0051

(1) Where EASA AD 2020-0051 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) The “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2020-0051 does not apply to this AD.

(3) For airplanes on which the modification specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6178 has been done: Where paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2020-0051 specifies to do certain actions “no later than 6 months (estimated by projection of airplane usage) prior to exceeding 24,500 flight cycles or 42,700 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6178 embodiment (at any revision),” this AD requires doing those actions prior to exceeding 24,100 total flight cycles or 42,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first after doing the modification.

(i) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation 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 Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, 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, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation 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 2020-0051 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 2020-0051, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +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 material at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. This material may be found in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0464.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3225; email: dan.rodina@faa.gov.

Start Signature

Issued on June 1, 2020.

Lance T. Gant,

Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-12225 Filed 6-5-20; 8:45 am]

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