[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 26, 2002)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 70678-70680]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-29674]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 2000-NM-406-AD; Amendment 39-12962; AD 2002-23-18]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F 
Airplanes Equipped with Collins LRA-900 Radio Altimeters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This amendment supersedes an existing airworthiness directive 
(AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series 
airplanes equipped with certain Collins LRA-900 radio altimeters, that 
currently requires a revision to the Airplane Flight Manual to prohibit 
autopilot coupled autoland operations in certain conditions; or, for 
certain airplanes, replacement of certain Collins LRA-900 radio 
altimeters with Collins LRA-700 radio altimeters. This amendment also 
requires a one-time inspection to determine whether a Collins LRA-900 
radio altimeter receiver/transmitter with a certain part number is 
installed, and modification of such a radio altimeter. This amendment 
is prompted by reports indicating that a fault in Collins LRA-900 radio 
altimeters having a certain part number could result in an incorrect 
and unbounded output of radio altitude to other airplanes. The actions 
specified by this AD are intended to prevent an undetected anomalous 
radio altitude signal that is passed along to the flare control law of 
the flight control computer, which could cause the airplane to flare 
too high or too low during landing, and consequently result in a hard 
landing. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe 
condition.

DATES: Effective December 31, 2002.
    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in 
the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as 
of December 31, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The service information referenced in this AD may be 
obtained from Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 
3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data 
and Service Management, Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024). This information may 
be examined at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport 
Airplane Directorate, Rules Docket, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, 
Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 
3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California; or at the Office of the 
Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Suite 700, Washington, 
DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Portwood, Aerospace Engineer, 
Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft 
Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 
90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5350; fax (562) 627-5210.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal 
Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) by superseding AD 98-24-51, 
amendment 39-10929 (63 FR 66422, December 2, 1998), which is applicable 
to certain McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 series airplanes equipped with 
certain Collins LRA-900 radio altimeters having certain part numbers, 
was published in the Federal Register on May 15, 2002 (67 FR 34637). 
The action proposed to continue to require a revision to the Airplane 
Flight Manual to prohibit autopilot coupled autoland operations in 
certain conditions; or, for certain airplanes, replacement of certain 
Collins LRA-900 radio altimeters with Collins LRA-700 radio altimeters. 
The action also proposed to require a one-time inspection to determine 
whether a Collins LRA-900 radio altimeter receiver/transmitter with a 
certain part number is installed, and modification of such a radio 
altimeter.

Comments

    Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate 
in the making of this amendment. Due consideration has been given to 
the single comment received.

Request To Change Applicability

    The commenter suggests that the applicability in the proposed AD be 
changed from ``McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F Airplanes 
Equipped with Collins LRA-900 Radio Altimeters,'' to ``McDonnell 
Douglas Model MD-11 and -11F Airplanes Equipped with Collins LRA-900, 
Part Number (P/N) 822-0334-220, Radio Altimeters.'' The commenter 
states that this would prevent operators of MD-11 airplanes with 
Collins radio altimeters having other P/Ns from performing an 
unnecessary inspection to comply with the proposed AD.
    The FAA acknowledges, but does not agree with, the commenter's 
suggestion. The inspection to determine if airplanes have the radio 
altimeter with the P/N specified above is required by paragraph (b) of 
this AD, and the affected P/N is specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this 
AD. Operators can ascertain what the affected P/N is, and if the radio 
altimeters do not have the affected P/N, no further action is required 
by this AD. Therefore, no change to the applicability in this final 
rule is necessary.

Explanation of Change Made to Proposed AD

    The FAA has clarified the inspection requirement contained in the 
proposed AD. Whereas the proposed AD specified a visual inspection, the 
FAA has revised

[[Page 70679]]

this final rule to clarify that its intent is to require a general 
visual inspection. Additionally, a note has been added to the final 
rule to define that inspection.

Conclusion

    After careful review of the available data, including the comment 
noted above, the FAA has determined that air safety and the public 
interest require the adoption of the rule with the change previously 
described. The FAA has determined that this change will neither 
increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of 
the AD.

Cost Impact

    There are approximately 195 Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes of the 
affected design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 64 
airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD.
    The actions that are currently required by AD 98-24-51 take 
approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish, at an average 
labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost 
impact of the currently required actions on U.S. operators is estimated 
to be $3,840, or $60 per airplane.
    The new actions that are required in this AD will take 
approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish, at an average 
labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost 
impact of the new requirements of this AD on U.S. operators is 
estimated to be $3,840, or $60 per airplane.
    The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions 
that no operator has yet accomplished any of the requirements of this 
AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the 
future if this AD were not adopted. The cost impact figures discussed 
in AD rulemaking actions represent only the time necessary to perform 
the specific actions actually required by the AD. These figures 
typically do not include incidental costs, such as the time required to 
gain access and close up, planning time, or time necessitated by other 
administrative actions.

Regulatory Impact

    The regulations adopted herein 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. Therefore, it 
is determined that this final rule does not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action (1) is 
not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866; 
(2) is not a ``significant rule'' under DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action 
and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained 
from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption 
ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.

Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 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 removing amendment 39-10929 (63 FR 
66422, December 2, 1998), and by adding a new airworthiness directive 
(AD), amendment 39-12962, to read as follows:

2002-23-18 Boeing: Amendment 39-12962. Docket 2000-NM-406-AD. 
Supersedes AD 98-24-51, Amendment 39-10929.
    Applicability: Model MD-11 and -11F airplanes equipped with 
certain Rockwell Collins LRA-900 radio altimeters; certificated in 
any category.

    Note 1: This AD applies to each airplane identified in the 
preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been 
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 (d)(1) 
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 an undetected anomalous radio altitude signal that is 
passed along to the flare control law of the flight control 
computer, which could cause the airplane to flare too high or too 
low during landing, and consequently result in a hard landing, 
accomplish the following:

Restatement of Certain Requirements of AD 98-24-51

    (a) Within 24 hours after December 7, 1998 (the effective date 
of AD 98-24-51, amendment 39-10929): accomplish either paragraph 
(a)(1) or (a)(2) of this AD.
    (1) Revise the Limitations Section of the FAA-approved Airplane 
Flight Manual to include the following statement: ``Autopilot 
coupled autoland operations below 100 feet above ground level (AGL) 
are prohibited.''
    (2) For airplanes on which the LRA-700 radio altimeter 
installation has been approved in accordance with Type Certificate 
or Supplemental Type Certificate procedures: Replace both Collins 
LRA-900 radio altimeters having part number (P/N) 822-0334-220, with 
Collins LRA-700 radio altimeters having P/N 622-4542-221.

New Requirements of This AD

    (b) Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD: Perform 
a general visual inspection to determine the P/N of the radio 
altimeter receiver/transmitters, in accordance with McDonnell 
Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-34-091, dated August 19, 1999.

    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 from within 
touching distance unless otherwise specified. A mirror may be 
necessary to enhance visual access to all exposed surfaces in the 
inspection area. This level of inspection is made under normally 
available lighting conditions such as daylight, hangar lighting, 
flashlight, or droplight 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.''

    (1) If the airplane is equipped with Collins LRA-900 radio 
altimeter receiver/transmitters having P/N 822-0334-220: Prior to 
further flight, modify the radio altimeter receiver/transmitter in 
accordance with McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-34-091, 
dated August 19, 1999.
    (2) If the airplane is not equipped with Collins LRA-900 radio 
altimeter receiver/transmitters having P/N 822-0334-220: No further 
action is required by this paragraph.

    Note 3: Upon completion of the actions required by paragraph (b) 
of this AD, the revised limitations in the AFM, as required by 
paragraph (a)(1) of this AD, may be removed.


    Note 4: McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-34-091, dated 
August 19, 1999, refers to Rockwell Avionics Service Bulletin LRA-
900-34-D, Revision 1, dated May 26, 1999, as an additional source of 
service information.

    (c) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install 
on any airplane a Collins

[[Page 70680]]

LRA-900 radio altimeter having P/N 822-0334-220.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

    (d)(1) 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, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office (ACO), FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an 
appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add 
comments and then send it to the Manager, Los Angeles ACO.
    (2) Alternative methods of compliance, approved previously in 
accordance with AD 98-24-51, amendment 39-10929, are approved as 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD.

    Note 5: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Los Angeles ACO.

Special Flight Permits

    (e) 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.

Incorporation by Reference

    (f) The inspection and modification shall be done in accordance 
with McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-34-091, dated August 
19, 1999. This incorporation by reference was approved by the 
Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) 
and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from Boeing Commercial 
Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long 
Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, 
Dept. C1-L5A (D800-0024). Copies may be inspected at the FAA, 
Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, 
Washington; or at the FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California; or at the 
Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Suite 
700, Washington, DC.

Effective Date

    (g) This amendment becomes effective on December 31, 2002.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 15, 2002.
Vi L. Lipski,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 02-29674 Filed 11-25-02; 8:45 am]
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