Airworthiness Directives; AmSafe Inc. Seatbelts

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 146 (Tuesday, July 30, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 146 (Tuesday, July 30, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36843-36844]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-16127]
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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 146 / Tuesday, July 30, 2019 /
Proposed Rules
[[Page 36843]]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0021; Product Identifier 2018-NM-038-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64
Airworthiness Directives; AmSafe Inc. Seatbelts
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal.
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SUMMARY: The FAA is withdrawing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
that proposed to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) that would
have applied to all AmSafe Inc. seatbelts, as installed in, but not
limited to, various airplanes and rotorcraft. The NPRM was prompted by
reports of multiple failed keepers on seatbelt hook assemblies. The
NPRM would have required an inspection for affected parts, repetitive
general visual inspections of the seatbelt hook assembly for damage,
repetitive functional checks, and replacement of all affected parts.
Since issuance of the NPRM, the FAA has determined that a significant
portion of the affected seatbelt hook assemblies have been replaced.
The FAA has also determined that the majority of the affected parts
have exceeded their typical replacement cycle and are likely no longer
in service. The FAA performed a new risk assessment based on this data
and determined there is now an acceptable level of risk. Accordingly,
the NPRM is withdrawn.
DATES: The FAA is withdrawing the proposed rule published February 22,
2019 (84 FR 5620), as of July 30, 2019.
ADDRESSES:
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-
0021; 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 AD action, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and
other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone
800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations,
M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue
SE, Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Farina, Aerospace Engineer,
Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO
Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-
627-5344; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Discussion
    The FAA issued an NPRM that proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by
adding an AD that would apply to the specified products. The NPRM was
published in the Federal Register on February 22, 2019 (84 FR 5620).
The NPRM was prompted by reports of multiple failed keepers on seatbelt
hook assemblies.
    The NPRM proposed to require an inspection for affected parts,
repetitive general visual inspections of the seatbelt hook assembly for
damage, repetitive functional checks, and replacement of all affected
parts. The proposed actions were intended to address failed keepers on
seatbelt hook assemblies, and remove the risk of future failures by a
timed removal. Failure of keepers on seatbelt hook assemblies, if not
addressed, could result in the seatbelt disengaging from and detaching
from the seat structure under certain conditions, and could result in
injury to passengers or flightcrew.
Actions Since the NPRM Was Issued
    Since issuance of the NPRM, the FAA has determined that at least 31
percent of the affected seatbelt hook assemblies have been replaced.
The FAA has also determined that the majority of the affected parts
have exceeded their typical replacement cycle and are likely no longer
in service. The FAA performed a new risk assessment based on this data
and determined there is now an acceptable level of risk. The FAA has
also determined that the remaining parts will eventually be replaced as
specified in the applicable component maintenance manual (CMM), which
will eliminate the risk. Therefore, the FAA has determined that AD
action is not appropriate.
    Withdrawal of the NPRM constitutes only such action and does not
preclude the FAA from further rulemaking on this issue, nor does it
commit the FAA to any course of action in the future.
Comments
    The FAA gave the public the opportunity to comment on the NPRM. The
following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's
response to each comment.
Support for the NPRM
    The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), Dominic
Savino, and FedEx indicated their support for the NPRM.
Request To Withdraw the NPRM
    AmSafe requested that the FAA withdraw the NPRM. The commenter
suggested that the proposed AD is overly broad and unnecessary based on
the number of affected parts in service. AmSafe stated that it has
confirmed the return or replacement of 67,000 affected parts, or 31
percent of the total affected parts. AmSafe further noted that the
majority of the affected seatbelts not already collected by AmSafe were
placed in service five to eight years ago and are likely no longer in
service, based on an industry average three year replacement cycle for
seatbelts. AmSafe added that it is in the process of replacing almost
4,500 affected parts for Japan Airlines and it has confirmed that all
affected parts on Alaska Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines aircraft
have been replaced. AmSafe further added that American Airlines has
reported having only one airplane with affected parts, and none of
those parts were observed to be damaged. AmSafe observed that these
operators represent the largest users of the affected parts in the
industry. AmSafe stated that the failure of a keeper itself will not
result in injury to passengers or flightcrew. AmSafe added that the
potential for injury exists only under accident conditions where the
hook is not properly restrained. AmSafe also suggested that the data
used to support the proposed AD incorrectly assumes a higher rate of
damaged parts than really
[[Page 36844]]
exist, because the damaged parts have been found only in cases where
the keeper is located above the seat cushion. AmSafe requested that the
FAA perform a new risk analysis based on the data it provided. AmSafe
suggested that it could report additional replacements or findings of
damaged units to the FAA as they become available. AmSafe concluded
that the NPRM was no longer needed and should be withdrawn.
    The FAA agrees with the commenter's request. Based on the data
AmSafe provided, the FAA performed a new risk assessment. This new
assessment has allowed the agency to determine that the unsafe
condition has been reduced to represent an acceptable risk. The FAA
also expects the remaining risk to be eliminated as the affected parts
are replaced.
FAA's Conclusions
    Upon further consideration, the FAA has determined that the NPRM is
unnecessary. Accordingly, the NPRM is withdrawn.
Regulatory Findings
    Since this action only withdraws an NPRM, it is neither a proposed
nor a final rule. This action therefore is not covered under Executive
Order 12866, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, or DOT Regulatory Policies
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979).
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
reference, Safety.
The Withdrawal
0
Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking, Docket No. FAA-2019-
0021, which was published in the Federal Register on February 22, 2019
(84 FR 5620), is withdrawn.
    Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on July 23, 2019.
Dionne Palermo,
Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-16127 Filed 7-29-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P