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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

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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 The Boeing Company Model 777 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report that an operator found solid rivets with missing heads at the left buttock line 25 on the sloping pressure deck web. This proposed AD would require doing a detailed inspection of the left and right side sloping pressure deck at certain stations for any damaged solid rivets, and applicable on-condition actions. 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 May 24, 2021.

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 service information identified in this NPRM, 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 referenced service information 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 on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0263.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0263; 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Luis Cortez, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: (206) 231-3958; email: Luis.A.Cortez-Muniz@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 ADDRESSES. Include “Docket No. FAA-2021-0263; Project Identifier AD-2020-01702-T” at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposal because of those comments.

Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this NPRM.

Confidential Business Information

CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as “PROPIN.” The FAA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI Start Printed Page 18480should be sent to Luis Cortez, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: (206) 231-3958; email: Luis.A.Cortez-Muniz@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Background

The FAA has received a report indicating that an operator found solid rivets with missing heads at the left buttock line 25 on the sloping pressure deck web. The Model 777-300 airplane had 23 solid rivet locations with missing manufactured heads; the airplane had accumulated 21,343 total flight cycles and 53,979 total flight hours at time of discovery. A fleet-wide multiple operator message (MOM) request found four more Model 777-300 airplanes and one retired Model 777-200 airplane with missing solid rivet heads. Boeing analysis showed the root cause to be the 7050 aluminum solid rivets used on the sloping pressure deck web, which were inadequate for the complex tension loading environment, and led to premature fatigue cracking of the solid rivets. This condition, if not addressed, could result in undetected damaged or missing rivet heads on the sloping pressure deck web, which could result in loss of sloping pressure deck panels, causing decompression and pressure loss, and loss of the hydraulic systems in the area for wheel brakes (both normal and alternate) and steering, and potentially leading to runway departure and adversely affecting the structural integrity of the airplane.

FAA's Determination

The FAA is issuing this NPRM after determining that the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

The FAA reviewed Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020. This service information specifies procedures for doing a detailed inspection of the left and right side sloping pressure deck from station (STA) 1245 to STA 1287 for any damaged (i.e. missing solid rivet heads, cracking or deformation of the solid rivet, or gaps between the solid rivet head and the sloping pressure deck surface) solid rivets, and applicable on-condition actions. On-condition actions include repeating the detailed inspection of the left and right side sloping pressure deck from STA 1245 to STA 1287 for any damaged solid rivet; repetitive detailed inspections of two rows of blind fasteners and solid rivets common to the affected stiffener for any damaged solid rivet or damaged blind fastener; replacing solid rivets or blind fasteners; and repair.

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 ADDRESSES.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information already described, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD. For information on the procedures and compliance times, see this service information at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0263.

Explanation of Requirements Bulletin

The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (AD ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement is a process for annotating which steps in the service information are “required for compliance” (RC) with an AD. Boeing has implemented this RC concept into Boeing service bulletins.

In an effort to further improve the quality of ADs and AD-related Boeing service information, a joint process improvement initiative was worked between the FAA and Boeing. The initiative resulted in the development of a new process in which the service information more clearly identifies the actions needed to address the unsafe condition in the “Accomplishment Instructions.” The new process results in a Boeing Requirements Bulletin, which contains only the actions needed to address the unsafe condition (i.e., only the RC actions).

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would affect 224 airplanes of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
Detailed inspectionsUp to 384 work-hours × $85 per hour = Up to $32,640$0Up to $32,640Up to $7,311,360.

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary replacements or inspections that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection. The agency has no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these replacements or inspections:

On-Condition Costs

ActionLabor costParts costCost per product
Replacement (solid fastener)338 work-hours × $85 per hour = $28,730Up to $3,200Up to $31,930.
Replacement (blind fastener)328 work-hour × $85 per hour = $27,880Up to $450Up to $28,330.
Repetitive inspections of fastener rows326 work-hours × $85 per hour = $27,710 per inspection cycle$0 per inspection cycle$27,710 per inspection cycle.
Start Printed Page 18481

The FAA has received no definitive data on which to base the 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 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) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(3) Would 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:

End Amendment Part

The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2021-0263; Project Identifier AD-2020-01702-T.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive (AD) by May 24, 2021.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and 777F airplanes, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a report that an operator found solid rivets with missing heads at the left buttock line 25 on the sloping pressure deck web. The FAA is issuing this AD to address damaged or missing solid rivet heads on the sloping pressure deck web, which could result in loss of sloping pressure deck panels, causing decompression and pressure loss, and loss of the hydraulic systems in the area for wheel brakes (both normal and alternate) and steering, and potentially leading to runway departure and adversely affecting the 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 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020, do all applicable actions identified in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020.

Note 1 to paragraph (g): Guidance for accomplishing the actions required by this AD can be found in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-53A0093, dated November 24, 2020, which is referred to in Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020.

(h) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

(1) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of 777-53A0093 RB” or “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB,” this AD requires using “the effective date of this AD,” except where Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB” in a note or flag note.

(2) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin 777-53A0093 RB, dated November 24, 2020, specifies contacting Boeing for repair instructions: This AD requires doing the repair 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, Seattle 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 responsible Flight Standards Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in Related Information. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-Seattle-ACO-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the responsible Flight Standards 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, Seattle 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

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Luis Cortez, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: (206) 231-3958; email: Luis.A.Cortez-Muniz@faa.gov.

(2) 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. You may view this referenced service information 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.

Start Signature

Issued on March 30, 2021.

Gaetano A. Sciortino,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-07328 Filed 4-8-21; 8:45 am]

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