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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS Airplanes

This document has a comment period that ends in 2 days. (08/14/2020) Submit a formal comment

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus SAS Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, A330-300, A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report that an airplane failed to extend its nose landing gear (NLG) using the free fall method, due to loss of the green hydraulic system. This proposed AD would require repetitive tests of affected free fall actuators (FFA), and replacement of any affected FFA with a serviceable FFA, 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 August 14, 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: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact the EASA, 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, 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-2019-0484.

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-2019-0484; 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:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3229; email vladimir.ulyanov@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-2019-0484; Product Identifier 2020-NM-051-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 the FAA receives, 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 the FAA receives about this NPRM.

Discussion

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0076, dated March 30, 2020 (“EASA AD 2020-0076”) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus SAS Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, A330-300, A340-200, and A340-300 series airplanes; Model A340-541 and -542 airplanes, Start Printed Page 39111and Model A340-642 and -643 airplanes. Airbus SAS Model A340-542 and A340-643 airplanes are not certified by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this proposed AD therefore does not include those airplanes in the applicability.

This proposed AD was prompted by a report that an airplane failed to extend its NLG using the free fall method, due to loss of the green hydraulic system. Investigation results identified that the magnets on certain FFAs were found detached on both electrical motors. The FAA is proposing this AD to address detached magnets on both electrical motors of the FFAs, which could prevent landing gear extension by the free fall method, possibly resulting in loss of control of the airplane after landing. See the MCAI for additional background information.

The FAA issued a related NPRM and supplemental NPRM (SNPRM) that proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Airbus SAS Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, A330-300, A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. The related NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 26, 2019 (84 FR 30055). The related SNPRM published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2020 (85 FR 3279). The related NPRM and SNPRM were also prompted by a report that an airplane failed to extend its NLG using the free fall method, due to loss of the green hydraulic system. Since the related SNPRM was issued, Airbus and the FAA determined that any affected FFA must be replaced. In light of these changes, the FAA has withdrawn the related SNPRM as of June 8, 2020 (85 FR 34655), which intended to also withdraw the proposals in the NPRM published on June 26, 2019 (84 FR 30055). The FAA is now issuing this new NPRM for public comment.

Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2020-0076 describes procedures for repetitive tests of affected FFAs and replacement of any affected FFA that fails a test with a serviceable FFA. EASA AD 2020-0076 also describes procedures for replacement of all affected FFAs, which terminates the repetitive tests. 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 the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2020-0076 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 2020-0076 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0076 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 2020-0076 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-0076 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0484 after the FAA final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 113 airplanes of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

Labor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340$0*$340$38,420
* The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable the agency to provide parts cost estimates for the replacements specified in this proposed AD.

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-condition actions that would be required based on the results of any required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these on-condition actions:

Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions

Labor costParts costCost per product
2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170$0*$170
* The FAA has received no definitive data that would enable the agency to provide parts cost estimates for the on-condition replacements specified in this proposed AD.
Start Printed Page 39112

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 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 adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

End Amendment Part

Airbus SAS: Docket No. FAA-2019-0484; Product Identifier 2020-NM-051-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by August 14, 2020.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Airbus SAS airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (7) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, and -243 airplanes.

(2) Model A330-223F and -243F airplanes.

(3) Model A330-301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

(4) Model A340-211, -212, -213 airplanes.

(5) Model A340-311, -312, and -313 airplanes.

(6) Model A340-541 airplanes.

(7) Model A340-642 airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 32, Landing gear.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report that an airplane failed to extend its nose landing gear (NLG) using the free fall method, due to loss of the green hydraulic system. The FAA is issuing this AD to address detached magnets on both electrical motors of the free fall actuators (FFAs), which could prevent landing gear extension by the free fall method, possibly resulting in loss of control of the airplane after landing.

(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 2020-0076, dated March 30, 2020 (“EASA AD 2020-0076”).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2020-0076

(1) Where EASA AD 2020-0076 refers to its effective date or the effective date of EASA AD 2019-0063 or the effective date of EASA AD 2019-0164, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) The “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2020-0076 does not apply to this AD.

(3) Where paragraph (3) of EASA AD 2020-0076 specifies credit for certain tasks “provided the continuity test specified in A330 AMM [Aircraft Maintenance Manual] task 32-33-00-710-809, or A340 AMM task 32-33-00-710-806, as applicable, is accomplished concurrently,” this AD provides credit “provided the continuity test is accomplished concurrently in accordance with the instructions of an FAA-approved maintenance or inspection program.”

(i) No Reporting Requirement

Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0076 specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement.

(j) 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 (k)(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 2020-0076 that contains RC procedures and tests: Except as required by paragraph (j)(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.

(k) Related Information

(1) For information about EASA AD 2020-0076, 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 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 Start Printed Page 39113the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0484.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3229; email vladimir.ulyanov@faa.gov.

Start Signature

Issued on June 23, 2020.

Gaetano A. Sciortino,

Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-14018 Filed 6-29-20; 8:45 am]

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