Airworthiness directives: Airbus,

 
CONTENT

[Federal Register: December 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 245)]

[Proposed Rules]

[Page 71696-71698]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr22de99-35]

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 99-NM-331-AD]

RIN 2120-AA64

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 Series Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY: This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. This proposal would require a one-time general visual inspection to determine the part number and serial number of the spoiler servocontrol, and corrective action, if necessary. This proposal is prompted by issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the spoiler servocontrol piston rod, which could result in reduced controllability of the airplane.

DATES: Comments must be received by January 21, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-331-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Norman B. Martenson, Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2110; fax (425) 227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Communications shall identify the Rules Docket number and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments, specified above, will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposals contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this proposal will be filedin the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this notice must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments to Docket Number 99-NM-331-AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Availability of NPRMs

Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request to the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-331-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that several cases of spoiler servocontrol piston rod breakage have been reported. As a result, and in almost every case, the associated hydraulic system did not function correctly and the spoilers were extended in flight to the zero hinge moment position. Analysis determined that the piston rod breakage was due to excessive misalignment of the actuator housing backface. Failure of the spoiler servocontrol piston rod, if not corrected, could result in failure of the associated hydraulic system and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A320-27-1126, dated April 26, 1999 (for Model A320 series airplanes); and A320-27-1127, dated April 26, 1999, and Revision 01, dated October 6, 1999 (for Model A319 and A321 series airplanes). The service bulletins describe procedures to visually inspect the part number and serial number of the installed spoiler servocontrol. For certain serial numbers, the servocontrol must be replaced. For certain other serial numbers, the servocontrol must be re-identified. Revision 01 of Service Bulletin A320-27-1127 is essentially the same as the original issue except that the effectivity has been updated. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 1999-362-139(B), dated September 8, 1999, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same

[[Page 71697]]

type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 210 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed inspection, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $25,200, or $120 per airplane.

Should an operator be required to accomplish the modification, it will take approximately 4 work hours per airplane, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. The cost of required parts would be free of charge. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the modification is estimated to be $240 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations proposed herein would not have substantial direct effects 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. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this proposal would not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed regulation (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ``significant rule'' under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) if promulgated, 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. A copy of the draft regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

  1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    Sec. 39.13 [Amended]

  2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

    Airbus Industrie: Docket 99-NM-331-AD.

    Applicability: The following models, certificated in any category, excluding those on which Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27- 1126, dated April 26, 1999 (for Model A319 and 321 series airplanes); or A320-27-1127, dated April 26, 1999, or Revision 01, dated October 6, 1999 (for Model A320 series airplanes); has been accomplished:

    ‹bullet› Model A319 series airplanes, serial numbers (S/N) 0546 through 0972 inclusive;

    ‹bullet› Model A320 series airplanes, S/N 0002 through 0842 inclusive, 0846 through 0859 inclusive, 0865, 0866, and 0872 through 0960 inclusive; and

    ‹bullet› Model A321 series airplanes, S/N 0364 through 0974 inclusive.

    Note 1: This AD applies to each airplane identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been otherwise modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the requirements of this AD. For airplanes that have been modified, altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is affected, the owner/operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (c) of this AD. The request should include an assessment of the effect of the modification, alteration, or repair on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD; and, if the unsafe condition has not been eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to address it.

    Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

    To prevent failure of the servocontrol piston rod, which could result in reduced controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:

    Inspection

    (a) At the applicable time specified by paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD: Perform a general visual inspection to determine the part number and serial number for the spoiler servocontrols, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1126, dated April 26, 1999 (for Model A319 and A321 series airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1127, dated April 26, 1999, or Revision 1, dated October 6, 1999 (for Model A320 series airplanes); as applicable. If the part number and serial number are identified in paragraph 2.B.(1)(b) of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin, prior to further flight, perform applicable corrective actions (including removal, reidentification of the servocontrol, and replacement of the servocontrol with a modified part) as specified in the applicable service bulletin.

    (1) For Model A319 and A321 series airplanes: Inspect within 2 months after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) For Model A320 series airplanes: Inspect within 28 months after the effective date of this AD.

    Note 2: For the purposes of this AD, a general visual inspection is defined as: ``A visual examination of an interior or exterior area, installation, or assembly to detect obvious damage, failure, or irregularity. This level of inspection is made under normally available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, flashlight, or drop-light, and may require removal or opening of access panels or doors. Stands, ladders, or platforms may be required to gain proximity to the area being checked.''

    (b) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install on any airplane a spoiler servocontrol having part number 31077-050, 31077-060, or 31077-110; and S/N 0001 to 3499, except those serial numbers excluded in paragraph 2.B.(1)(b)1 of the Accomplishment Instructions in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1126, dated April 26, 1999; unless that servocontrol has been inspected, and corrective actions have been performed, in accordance with the requirements of this AD.

    Alternative Methods of Compliance

    (c) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used if approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate. Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.

    Note 3: Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.

    Special Flight Permits

    (d) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the airplane to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

    Note 4: The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 1999-362-139(B), dated September 8, 1999.

    [[Page 71698]]

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 16, 1999. D.L. Riggin, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

    [FR Doc. 99-33169Filed12-21-99; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 4910-13-U