Special Conditions: Airbus Defense and Space Model No. C-295 Airplane; Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 4 (Tuesday, January 7, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 4 (Tuesday, January 7, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 640-642]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-28013]
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 25
[Docket No. FAA-2019-1103; Special Conditions No. 25-764-SC]
Special Conditions: Airbus Defense and Space Model No. C-295
Airplane; Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments.
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SUMMARY: These special conditions are issued for the Airbus Defense and
Space (Airbus) Model C-295 airplane. This airplane will have novel or
unusual design features when compared to the state of technology
envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category
airplanes. The Airbus Model C-295 airplane will have non-rechargeable
lithium battery installations. The applicable airworthiness regulations
do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design
feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety
standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a
level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing
airworthiness standards.
DATES: This action is effective on Airbus on January 7, 2020. Send
comments on or before February 21, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by Docket No. FAA-2019-1103 using
any of the following methods:
     Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending
your comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S.
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without
change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal
information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the
docket website, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all
comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the
individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an
association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act
Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11,
2000 (65 FR 19477-19478).
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at
http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions
for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of
the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nazih Khaouly, Airplane and Flight
Crew Interface Section, AIR-671, Transport Standards Branch, Policy and
Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation
Administration, 2200 South 216th Street, Des Moines, Washington 98198;
telephone and fax 206-231-3160; email [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Emergency Locator Transmitters on Airplanes Operating in Alaska
    Section 1205 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996 requires the
FAA to consider the extent to which Alaska is not served by
transportation modes other than aviation and to establish appropriate
regulatory distinctions when modifying airworthiness regulations that
affect intrastate aviation in Alaska. In consideration of this
requirement and the overall impact on safety, the FAA does not intend
to require non-rechargeable lithium battery special conditions for
design changes that only replace a 121.5 megahertz (MHz) emergency
locator transmitter (ELT) with a 406 MHz ELT that meets Technical
Standard Order C126b, or later revision, on transport airplanes
operating only in Alaska. This will support our efforts of encouraging
operators in Alaska to upgrade to a 406 MHz ELT. These ELTs provide
significantly improved accuracy for lifesaving services to locate an
accident site in Alaskan terrain. The FAA considers that the safety
benefits from upgrading to a 406 MHz ELT for
[[Page 641]]
Alaskan operations will outweigh the battery fire risk.
Comments Invited
    The substance of these special conditions has been published in the
Federal Register for public comment in several prior instances with no
substantive comments received. Therefore, the FAA has determined that
prior public notice and comment are unnecessary, and finds that, for
the same reason, good cause exists for adopting these special
conditions upon publication in the Federal Register.
    The FAA invites interested people to take part in this rulemaking
by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments
reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.
    The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date for
comments. The FAA may change these special conditions based on the
comments received.
Background
    On September 19, 2014, Airbus applied to the European Union
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for a change to EASA Type Certificate No.
EASA.A.186 to install non-rechargeable lithium batteries in the Airbus
Model C-295 airplane. On December 18, 2018, EASA forwarded an Airbus
application to the FAA to validate this same change in the Model C-295
airplane for FAA Type Certificate No. A21NM. On November 22, 2019,
Airbus filed for an extension to their original EASA application, which
resulted in an agreement that December 20, 2014 be the new application
date. The Airbus Model C-295 airplane is a twin engine, transport
category airplane configured for freighter use, with a maximum takeoff
weight of 46,300 pounds.
    The FAA is issuing these special conditions for non-rechargeable
lithium battery installations on the Airbus Model C-295 airplane. The
current battery requirements in title 14, Code of Federal Regulations
(14 CFR) part 25 are inadequate for addressing an airplane with non-
rechargeable lithium batteries.
Type Certification Basis
    Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.101, Airbus must show that the
Model C-295 airplane, as changed, continues to meet the applicable
provisions of the regulations listed in Type Certificate No. A21NM, or
the applicable regulations in effect on the date of application for the
change, except for earlier amendments as agreed upon by the FAA.
    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness
regulations (e.g., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or
appropriate safety standards for the Airbus Model C-295 airplane
because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are
prescribed under the provisions of Sec.  21.16.
    Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which
they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended
later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or
unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on
the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or
unusual design feature, these special conditions would also apply to
the other model under Sec.  21.101.
    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special
conditions, the Airbus Model C-295 airplane must comply with the fuel
vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise
certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36.
    The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in
accordance with Sec.  11.38, and they become part of the type
certification basis under Sec.  21.101.
Novel or Unusual Design Features
    The Airbus Model C-295 airplane will incorporate the following
novel or unusual design features:
    The Airbus C-295 airplane will have non-rechargeable lithium
battery installations.
Discussion
    The FAA derived the current regulations governing installation of
batteries in transport category airplanes from Civil Air Regulations
(CAR) 4b.625(d) as part of the recodification of CAR 4b that
established 14 CFR part 25 in February 1965. This recodification
basically reworded the CAR 4b battery requirements, which are currently
in Sec.  25.1353(b)(1) through (4). Non-rechargeable lithium batteries
are novel and unusual with respect to the state of technology
considered when these requirements were codified. These batteries
introduce higher energy levels into airplane systems through new
chemical compositions in various battery cell sizes and construction.
Interconnection of these cells in battery packs introduces failure
modes that require unique design considerations, such as provisions for
thermal management.
    Recent events involving rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium
batteries prompted the FAA to initiate a broad evaluation of these
energy storage technologies. In January 2013, two independent events
involving rechargeable lithium-ion batteries revealed unanticipated
failure modes. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) letter to
the FAA, dated May 22, 2014, which is available at http://www.ntsb.gov,
filename A-14-032-036.pdf, describes these events.
    On July 12, 2013, an event involving a non-rechargeable lithium
battery in an ELT installation demonstrated unanticipated failure
modes. The United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigation Branch Bulletin
S5/2013 describes this event.
    Some known uses of rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium
batteries on airplanes include:
     Flight deck and avionics systems such as displays, global
positioning systems, cockpit voice recorders, flight data recorders,
underwater locator beacons, navigation computers, integrated avionics
computers, satellite network and communication systems, communication
management units, and remote-monitor electronic line-replaceable units;
     Cabin safety, entertainment, and communications equipment,
including emergency locator transmitters, life rafts, escape slides,
seatbelt air bags, cabin management systems, Ethernet switches, routers
and media servers, wireless systems, internet and in-flight
entertainment systems, satellite televisions, remotes, and handsets;
     Systems in cargo areas including door controls, sensors,
video surveillance equipment, and security systems.
    Some known potential hazards and failure modes associated with non-
rechargeable lithium batteries are:
     Internal failures: In general, these batteries are
significantly more susceptible to internal failures that can result in
self-sustaining increases in temperature and pressure (i.e., thermal
runaway) than their nickel-cadmium or lead-acid counterparts. The
metallic lithium can ignite, resulting in a self-sustaining fire or
explosion.
     Fast or imbalanced discharging: Fast discharging or an
imbalanced discharge of one cell of a multi-cell battery may create an
overheating condition that results in an uncontrollable venting
condition, which in turn leads to a thermal event or an explosion.
[[Page 642]]
     Flammability: Unlike nickel-cadmium and lead-acid
batteries, lithium batteries use higher energy and current in an
electrochemical system that can be configured to maximize energy
storage of lithium. They also use liquid electrolytes that can be
extremely flammable. The electrolyte, as well as the electrodes, can
serve as a source of fuel for an external fire if the battery casing is
breached.
    Special condition no. 1 of these special conditions requires that
each individual cell within a non-rechargeable lithium battery be
designed to maintain safe temperatures and pressures. Special condition
no. 2 addresses these same issues but for the entire battery. Special
condition no. 2 also requires the battery be designed to prevent
propagation of a thermal event, such as self-sustained, uncontrollable
increases in temperature or pressure from one cell to adjacent cells.
    Special condition nos. 1 and 2 are intended to ensure that the non-
rechargeable lithium battery and its cells are designed to eliminate
the potential for uncontrollable failures. However, a certain number of
failures will occur due to various factors beyond the control of the
battery designer. Therefore, other special conditions are intended to
protect the airplane and its occupants if failure occurs.
    Special condition nos. 3, 7, and 8 are self-explanatory.
    Special condition no. 4 makes it clear that the flammable-fluid
fire protection requirements of Sec.  25.863 apply to non-rechargeable
lithium battery installations. Section 25.863 is applicable to areas of
the airplane that could be exposed to flammable fluid leakage from
airplane systems. Non-rechargeable lithium batteries contain an
electrolyte that is a flammable fluid.
    Special condition no. 5 requires that each non-rechargeable lithium
battery installation not damage surrounding structure or adjacent
systems, equipment, or electrical wiring from corrosive fluids or gases
that may escape in such a way as to cause a major or more-severe
failure condition.
    While special condition no. 5 addresses corrosive fluids and gases,
special condition no. 6 addresses heat. Special condition no. 6
requires that each non-rechargeable lithium battery installation have
provisions to prevent any hazardous effect on airplane structure or
systems caused by the maximum amount of heat the battery installation
can generate, due to any failure of it or its individual cells. The
means of meeting special condition nos. 5 and 6 may be the same, but
the requirements are independent and address different hazards.
    These special conditions apply to all non-rechargeable lithium
battery installations in lieu of Sec.  25.1353(b)(1) through (4) at
Amendment 25-123, or Sec.  [thinsp]25.1353(c)(1) through (4) at earlier
amendments. Those regulations remain in effect for other battery
installations.
    These special conditions contain the additional safety standards
that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of
safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness
standards.
Applicability
    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the
Airbus Model C-295 airplane. Should Airbus apply at a later date for a
change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating
the same novel or unusual design feature, these special conditions
would apply to that model as well.
    These special conditions are not applicable to changes to
previously certified non-rechargeable lithium battery installations
where the only change is either cosmetic or to relocate the
installation to improve the safety of the airplane and occupants.
Previously certified non-rechargeable lithium battery installations, as
used in this paragraph, are those installations approved for
certification projects applied for on or before the effective date of
these special conditions. A cosmetic change is a change in appearance
only, and does not change any function or safety characteristic of the
battery installation. These special conditions are also not applicable
to unchanged, previously certified non-rechargeable lithium battery
installations that are affected by a change in a manner that improves
the safety of its installation. The FAA determined that these
exclusions are in the public interest because the need to meet all of
the special conditions might otherwise deter these design changes that
improve safety.
Conclusion
    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features
on one model of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25
    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements.
Authority Citation
    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:
    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.
The Special Conditions
0
Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of
the type certification basis for Airbus Defense and Space Model C-295
airplanes.
Non-Rechargeable Lithium Battery Installations
    In lieu of Sec.  [thinsp]25.1353(b)(1) through (4) at Amendment 25-
123, or Sec.  [thinsp]25.1353(c)(1) through (4) at earlier amendments,
each non-rechargeable lithium battery installation must:
    1. Be designed to maintain safe cell temperatures and pressures
under all foreseeable operating conditions to prevent fire and
explosion.
    2. Be designed to prevent the occurrence of self-sustaining,
uncontrollable increases in temperature or pressure.
    3. Not emit explosive or toxic gases, either in normal operation or
as a result of its failure that may accumulate in hazardous quantities
within the airplane.
    4. Meet the requirements of Sec.  25.863.
    5. Not damage surrounding structure or adjacent systems, equipment,
or electrical wiring from corrosive fluids or gases that may escape in
such a way as to cause a major or more-severe failure condition.
    6. Have provisions to prevent any hazardous effect on airplane
structure or systems caused by the maximum amount of heat it can
generate due to any failure of it or its individual cells.
    7. Have a failure-sensing and warning system to alert the
flightcrew if its failure affects safe operation of the airplane.
    8. Have a means for the flightcrew or maintenance personnel to
determine the battery charge state if the battery's function is
required for safe operation of the airplane.
    Note: A battery system consists of the battery and any
protective, monitoring, and alerting circuitry or hardware inside or
outside of the battery. It also includes vents (where necessary) and
packaging. For the purpose of these special conditions, a
``battery'' and ``battery system'' are referred to as a battery.
    Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on December 20, 2019.
Mary A. Schooley,
Acting Manager, Transport Standards Branch, Policy and Innovation
Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-28013 Filed 1-6-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P