Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

CourtFederal Aviation Administration
Record Number2022-05576
Published date16 March 2022
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 51 (Wednesday, March 16, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 51 (Wednesday, March 16, 2022)]
                [Rules and Regulations]
                [Pages 14780-14784]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-05576]
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                DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
                Federal Aviation Administration
                14 CFR Part 39
                [Docket No. FAA-2022-0279; Project Identifier AD-2022-00257-T;
                Amendment 39-21982; AD 2022-06-16]
                RIN 2120-AA64
                Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes
                AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
                ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
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                SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all
                The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B,
                747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, and 747-400F series
                airplanes. This AD was prompted by a determination that radio
                altimeters cannot be relied upon to perform their intended function if
                they experience interference from wireless broadband operations in the
                3.7-3.98 GHz frequency band (5G C-Band), and a recent determination
                that during takeoff, approach, landings, and go-arounds, as a result of
                this interference, certain airplane systems may not properly function,
                resulting in increased flightcrew workload while on approach with the
                flight director, autothrottle, or autopilot engaged, which could result
                in reduced ability of the flightcrew to maintain safe flight and
                landing of the airplane. This AD requires revising the limitations and
                operating procedures sections of the existing airplane flight manual
                (AFM) to incorporate specific operating procedures for takeoff,
                instrument landing system (ILS) approaches, non-precision approaches,
                and go-around and missed approaches, when in the presence of 5G C-Band
                interference as identified by Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs). The FAA
                is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.
                DATES: This AD is effective March 16, 2022.
                 The FAA must receive comments on this AD by May 2, 2022.
                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.
                Examining the AD Docket
                 You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
                searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2022-0279; 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 final rule, any
                comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket
                Operations is listed above.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dean Thompson, Aerospace Engineer,
                Systems and Equipment Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South
                216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3165; email:
                [email protected].
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
                Background
                 In March 2020, the United States Federal Communications Commission
                (FCC) adopted final rules authorizing flexible use of the 3.7-3.98 GHz
                band for next generation services, including 5G and other advanced
                spectrum-based services.\1\ Pursuant to these rules, C-Band wireless
                broadband deployment was permitted to occur in phases with the
                opportunity for operations in the lower 0.1 GHz of the band (3.7-3.8
                GHz) in certain markets beginning on January 19, 2022. This AD refers
                to ``5G C-Band'' interference, but wireless broadband technologies,
                other than 5G, may use the same frequency band.\2\ These other uses of
                the same frequency band are within the scope of this AD since they
                would introduce the same risk of radio altimeter interference as 5G C-
                Band.
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                 \1\ The FCC's rules did not make C-Band wireless broadband
                available in Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories.
                 \2\ The regulatory text of the AD uses the term ``5G C-Band''
                which, for purposes of this AD, has the same meaning as ``5G'', ``C-
                Band'' and ``3.7-3.98 GHz.''
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                 The radio altimeter is an important aircraft instrument, and its
                intended function is to provide direct height-above-terrain/water
                information to a variety of aircraft systems. Commercial aviation radio
                altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band, which is separated by 0.22
                GHz from the C-Band telecommunication systems in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.
                The radio altimeter is more precise than a barometric altimeter and for
                that reason is used where aircraft height over the ground needs to
                [[Page 14781]]
                be precisely measured, such as autoland, manual landings, or other low
                altitude operations. The receiver on the radio altimeter is typically
                highly accurate, however it may deliver erroneous results in the
                presence of out-of-band radio frequency emissions from other frequency
                bands. The radio altimeter must detect faint signals reflected off the
                ground to measure altitude, in a manner similar to radar. Out-of-band
                signals could significantly degrade radio altimeter functions during
                critical phases of flight, if the altimeter is unable to sufficiently
                reject those signals.
                 The FAA issued AD 2021-23-12, Amendment 39-21810 (86 FR 69984,
                December 9, 2021) (AD 2021-23-12) to address the effect of 5G C-Band
                interference on all transport and commuter category airplanes equipped
                with a radio (also known as radar) altimeter. AD 2021-23-12 requires
                revising the limitations section of the existing AFM to incorporate
                limitations prohibiting certain operations, which require radio
                altimeter data to land in low visibility conditions, when in the
                presence of 5G C-Band interference as identified by NOTAM. The FAA
                issued AD 2021-23-12 because radio altimeter anomalies that are
                undetected by the automation or pilot, particularly close to the ground
                (e.g., landing flare), could lead to loss of continued safe flight and
                landing.
                 Since the FAA issued AD 2021-23-12, Boeing has continued to
                evaluate potential 5G C-Band interference on aircraft systems that rely
                on radio altimeter inputs. Boeing issued Boeing Multi Operator Message
                MOM-MOM-22-0034-01B(R2), dated January 28, 2022; Boeing Multi Operator
                Message MOM-MOM-22-0033-01B(R1), dated January 31, 2022; and Boeing
                Flight Crew Operations Manual Bulletin TB1-55, ``Radio Altimeter
                Anomalies due to 5G C-Band Wireless Broadband Interference in the
                United States,'' dated January 29, 2022.
                 Based on Boeing's data, the FAA identified an additional hazard
                presented by 5G C-Band interference on The Boeing Company Model 747-
                100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300,
                747-400, 747-400D, and 747-400F series airplanes. The FAA determined
                anomalies due to 5G C-Band interference may affect multiple other
                airplane systems using radio altimeter data, regardless of the approach
                type or weather. These anomalies may not be evident until very low
                altitudes. Impacted systems include, but are not limited to, autopilot
                flight director system; autothrottle system; engines; flight controls;
                flight instruments; traffic alert and collision avoidance system
                (TCAS); ground proximity warning system (GPWS); and configuration
                warnings.
                 In the event of 5G C-Band interference, landing performance and
                flightcrew workload can be adversely impacted. 5G C-Band interference
                may have multiple effects, including:
                 Autopilot Flight Director System: NO AUTOLAND caution or
                advisory message may be shown; NO AUTOLAND autopilot status
                annunciation may be shown; autopilot may disengage when LAND 2 or LAND
                3 status is shown; the flight directors may provide erroneous guidance
                during ILS approaches; LNAV and VNAV modes may not engage or may engage
                at an erroneous altitude after departure; autoland flare mode and
                runway alignment may not occur or may activate earlier or later than
                expected; or TO/GA mode may not be available.
                 Autothrottle System: Autothrottle can remain in SPD
                (speed) mode and may advance to maintain speed during flare instead of
                reducing the thrust to IDLE at approximately 25 feet radio altitude; or
                autothrottle may retard to IDLE prematurely.
                 Engines: Thrust levers being set to IDLE in-flight may
                result in ground idle.
                 Flight Controls: SPEEDBRAKE EXT Caution message may not be
                available. Automatic speedbrake deployment may not occur after
                touchdown.
                 Flight Instruments: The radio altimeter indication may not
                be shown or may be erroneous; the RADIO minimums indications (flashing
                or turning amber) may not occur; the rising runway symbol may not be
                shown or may be erroneous; the localizer deviation alert amber scale
                and flashing pointer may not be shown (deviation indications are still
                available); the glideslope deviation alert amber scale and flashing
                pointer may not be shown (deviation indications are still available);
                or the Flight Path Vector (FPV) may be biased out of view.
                 TCAS: TCAS alerts may not be available (TCAS alerts that
                do occur will be valid); or TCAS inhibits for resolution advisories may
                be erroneous.
                 GPWS: GPWS alerts may not be available or may be erroneous
                (although look-ahead terrain alerting remains available); radio
                altimeter-based altitude and minimums aural callouts during approach
                may not be available or erroneous; or windshear detection systems
                (predictive and reactive) may be inoperative.
                 Configuration Warnings: Erroneous CONFIG GEAR warning
                alert may occur.
                 Other simultaneous flight deck effects associated with the
                5G C-Band interference could increase pilot workload.
                 These effects may cause erroneous indications and annunciations, as
                well as conflicting information, to be provided to the flightcrew
                during a critical phase of flight. There may also be a lack of cues
                present to elicit prompt go-around or recovery initiation. These
                effects could lead to reduced ability of the flightcrew to maintain
                safe flight and landing of the airplane and is an unsafe condition.
                Thus, the FAA has determined that prompt identification of a potential
                problem and initiation of a go-around are required to ensure the
                capability for continued safe flight and landing.
                 To address this unsafe condition, this AD mandates procedures for
                operators to incorporate specific operating procedures for takeoff, ILS
                approaches, non-precision approaches, and go-around and missed
                approaches, when in the presence of 5G C-Band interference as
                identified by NOTAMs.
                 Finally, the FAA notes that AD 2021-23-12 remains in effect and
                thus prohibits certain ILS approaches. Thus, this AD addresses
                procedures applicable only to those ILS approaches not prohibited by AD
                2021-23-12.
                 The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
                products.
                FAA's Determination
                 The FAA is issuing this AD because the agency has determined the
                unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in
                other products of the same type design.
                AD Requirements
                 This AD requires revising the limitations and operating procedures
                sections of the existing AFM to incorporate specific operating
                procedures for takeoff, instrument landing system (ILS) approaches,
                non-precision approaches, and go-around and missed approaches, when in
                the presence of 5G C-Band interference as identified by NOTAMs.
                Compliance With AFM Revisions
                 Section 91.9 prohibits any person from operating a civil aircraft
                without complying with the operating limitations specified in the AFM.
                FAA regulations also require operators to furnish pilots with any
                changes to the AFM (14 CFR 121.137) and pilots in command to be
                familiar with the AFM (14 CFR 91.505).
                [[Page 14782]]
                Interim Action
                 The FAA considers this AD to be an interim action. If final action
                is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking.
                Justification for Immediate Adoption and Determination of the Effective
                Date
                 Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5
                U.S.C. 551 et seq.) authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and
                comment procedures for rules when the agency, for ``good cause,'' finds
                that those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to
                the public interest.'' Under this section, an agency, upon finding good
                cause, may issue a final rule without providing notice and seeking
                comment prior to issuance. Further, section 553(d) of the APA
                authorizes agencies to make rules effective in less than thirty days,
                upon a finding of good cause.
                 An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
                this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
                adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
                justifies forgoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
                because the FAA determined that radio altimeters cannot be relied upon
                to perform their intended function if they experience interference from
                wireless broadband operations in the 5G C-Band, and a determination
                that during takeoff, approach, landings, and go-arounds, as a result of
                this interference, certain airplane systems may not properly function,
                resulting in increased flightcrew workload while on approach with the
                flight director, autothrottle, or autopilot engaged. This increased
                flightcrew workload could lead to reduced ability of the flightcrew to
                maintain safe flight and landing of the airplane. The urgency is based
                on the hazard presented by 5G C-Band interference, and on C-Band
                wireless broadband deployment, which has been occurring in phases with
                operations beginning on January 19, 2022. Accordingly, notice and
                opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable and contrary to
                the public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).
                 In addition, the FAA finds that good cause exists pursuant to 5
                U.S.C. 553(d) for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days,
                for the same reasons the FAA found good cause to forgo notice and
                comment.
                Comments Invited
                 The FAA invites you to send any written data, views, or arguments
                about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under
                ADDRESSES. Include Docket No. FAA-2022-0279 and Project Identifier AD-
                2022-00257-T at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
                comments reference a specific portion of the final rule, 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 final rule 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 final rule.
                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 AD 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 AD, 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 AD. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Dean
                Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Section, FAA,
                Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone
                and fax: 206-231-3165; email: [email protected]. Any commentary
                that the FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will
                be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.
                Regulatory Flexibility Act
                 The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) do not
                apply when an agency finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt
                a rule without prior notice and comment. Because the FAA has determined
                that it has good cause to adopt this rule without notice and comment,
                RFA analysis is not required.
                Costs of Compliance
                 The FAA estimates that this AD affects 126 airplanes of U.S.
                registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:
                 Estimated Costs
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Cost per Cost on U.S.
                 Action Labor cost Parts cost product operators
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                AFM revision.......................... 1 work-hour x $85 per $0 $85 $10,710
                 hour = $85.
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                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
                 This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order
                13132. This AD will 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 that this AD:
                [[Page 14783]]
                 (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
                Order 12866, and
                 (2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
                List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
                 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
                reference, Safety.
                The Amendment
                 Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
                Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
                PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
                0
                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]
                0
                2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness
                directive:
                2022-06-16 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-21982; Docket No. FAA-
                2022-0279; Project Identifier AD-2022-00257-T.
                (a) Effective Date
                 This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective March 16, 2022.
                (b) Affected ADs
                 None.
                (c) Applicability
                 This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-
                100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400,
                747-400D, and 747-400F series airplanes, certificated in any
                category.
                (d) Subject
                 Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 34, Navigation.
                (e) Unsafe Condition
                 This AD was prompted by prompted by a determination that radio
                altimeters cannot be relied upon to perform their intended function
                if they experience interference from wireless broadband operations
                in the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequency band (5G C-Band), and a recent
                determination that during takeoff, approach, landings, and go-
                arounds, as a result of this interference, certain airplane systems
                may not properly function, resulting in increased flightcrew
                workload while on approach with the flight director, autothrottle,
                or autopilot engaged. The FAA is issuing this AD to address 5G C-
                Band interference that could result in increased flightcrew workload
                and could lead to reduced ability of the flightcrew to maintain safe
                flight and landing of the airplane.
                (f) Compliance
                 Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified,
                unless already done.
                (g) Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) Revision
                 (1) Within 2 days after the effective date of this AD: Revise
                the Limitations section of the existing AFM to include the
                information specified in figure 1 to paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.
                This may be done by inserting a copy of figure 1 to paragraph (g)(1)
                of this AD into the Limitations section of the existing AFM.
                BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
                [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16MR22.035
                 (2) Within 2 days after the effective date of this AD: Revise
                the Operating Procedures section of the existing AFM to include the
                information specified in figure 2 to paragraph (g)(2) of this AD.
                This may be done by inserting a copy of figure 2 to paragraph (g)(2)
                of this AD into the Operating Procedures section of the existing
                AFM.
                [[Page 14784]]
                [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR16MR22.036
                 Note 1 to paragraph (g)(2): Guidance for accomplishing the
                actions required by paragraph (g)(2) of this AD can be found in
                Boeing Multi Operator Message MOM-MOM-22-0034-01B(R2), dated January
                28, 2022; Boeing Multi Operator Message MOM-MOM-22-0033-01B(R1),
                dated January 31, 2022; and Boeing Flight Crew Operations Manual
                Bulletin TB1-55, ``Radio Altimeter Anomalies due to 5G C-Band
                Wireless Broadband Interference in the United States,'' dated
                January 29, 2022.
                (h) 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 paragraph (i)(1) of this AD. Information may be
                emailed to: [email protected].
                 (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) AMOCs approved for AD 2021-23-12, Amendment 39-21810 (86 FR
                69984, December 9, 2021), providing relief for specific radio
                altimeter installations are approved as AMOCs for the provisions of
                this AD.
                (i) Related Information
                 (1) For more information about this AD, contact Dean Thompson,
                Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Section, FAA, Seattle ACO
                Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax:
                206-231-3165; email: [email protected].
                 (2) For service information identified in this AD that is not
                incorporated by reference, 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.
                (j) Material Incorporated by Reference
                 None.
                 Issued on March 9, 2022.
                Lance T. Gant,
                Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification
                Service.
                [FR Doc. 2022-05576 Filed 3-11-22; 4:15 pm]
                BILLING CODE 4910-13-C
                

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