[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 124 (Tuesday, June 30, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31169-31171]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-15255]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2009-0556; Directorate Identifier 2009-NM-112-AD; 
Amendment 39-15942; AD 2009-13-03]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 747-400 and -400F Series 
Airplanes Powered by Rolls-Royce RB211 Series Engines

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain 
Boeing Model 747-400 and -400F series airplanes. This AD requires 
modifying certain thrust reverser control system wiring to the flap 
control unit (FCU). This AD results from a report of automatic 
retraction of the leading edge flaps during takeoff due to indications 
transmitted to the FCU from the thrust reverser control system. We are 
issuing this AD to prevent automatic retraction of the leading edge 
flaps during takeoff, which could result in reduced climb performance 
and consequent collision with terrain and obstacles or forced landing 
of the airplane.

DATES: This AD is effective July 6, 2009.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of a certain publication listed in the AD as of July 6, 2009.
    We must receive comments on this AD by August 31, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing 
Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 
3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, 
extension 1, fax 206-766-5680; e-mail me.boecom@boeing.com; Internet 
https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Management Facility 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, 
any comments received, and other information. The street address for 
the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. 
Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Bryant, Aerospace Engineer, 
Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification 
Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 
(425) 917-6505; fax (425) 917-6590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

    We received a report of automatic retraction of the leading edge 
flaps during takeoff on a Boeing Model 747-400 airplane powered by 
Rolls-Royce RB211-524G/H engines. The automatic retraction was due to 
indications transmitted to the flap control unit (FCU) from the thrust 
reverser control system. In order to prevent impingement of efflux air 
from the thrust reversers during landing rollout, the FCU is designed 
to automatically retract the Group A leading edge flaps when a REV 
Amber signal is received from either both inboard or both outboard 
thrust reversers, and the airplane is on the ground. In this event, the 
first REV amber signal was received prior to V1 (takeoff decision 
speed). The second REV amber signal was received several seconds later, 
after takeoff decision speed. At that time, the FCU performed as 
designed and retracted the Group A leading edge flaps. At rotation the 
flight crew reported buffeting and stick shaker activation. After 
liftoff, a signal from the air/ground logic system caused the FCU to 
send a command to the Group A leading edge flaps to re-deploy after a 
five-second time delay. Re-deployment of the flaps takes approximately 
ten to fifteen additional seconds; during re-deployment, the flightcrew 
again reported buffeting and momentary stick shaker activation. The 
airplane jettisoned fuel and was landed safely; all four of the thrust 
reversers deployed and stowed normally after landing.
    In addition, one operator reported 12 single-engine REV indications 
during

[[Page 31170]]

takeoff over the past three years, leading to seven rejected takeoffs. 
The incident described above was the first known simultaneous two-
engine event.
    These conditions, if not corrected, could result in reduced climb 
performance during takeoff and consequent collision with terrain and 
obstacles or forced landing of the airplane.

Relevant Service Information

    We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-78A2181, dated June 
8, 2009. The service information describes procedures for modifying 
certain thrust reverser control system wiring to the FCU in the P414 
and P415 panels. The modification includes re-routing and re-
terminating one wire for each engine, and replacing the wire if 
necessary.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

    No airplanes affected by this AD are on the U.S. Register. We are 
issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and 
determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist 
or develop on other products of the same type design. This AD requires 
accomplishing the actions specified in the service information 
described previously, except as described under ``Difference Between 
the AD and the Service Information.''

Difference Between the AD and the Service Information

    Operators should note that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-
78A2181, dated June 8, 2009, recommends that the modification be 
completed within 90 days (after the issue date of the service 
bulletin). This AD specifies a compliance time of 60 days. In 
developing this compliance time, we considered the manufacturer's 
recommended 90-day compliance time (after June 8, 2009, which is the 
service bulletin issue date), a risk assessment of the unsafe 
condition, the scope of work required, and the number of affected 
airplanes, as well as the time normally required for the rulemaking 
process to be completed (approximately 30 days). In consideration of 
both of these factors, we find that a compliance time of 60 days after 
the effective date of this AD will fall approximately at the same time 
(calendar date) as the compliance time recommended by the manufacturer, 
and represents an appropriate interval of time for affected airplanes 
to continue to operate without compromising safety. By adjusting the 
compliance time interval in this way:
    1. Operators will get a full 60 days in which to complete the 
modification; and
    2. The modification can be done within an interval of time that 
parallels normal scheduled maintenance for most affected operators.
    This difference has been coordinated with Boeing.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    Automatic retraction of the leading edge flaps could result in 
reduced climb performance during takeoff. Such a restriction could 
result in failure to achieve a minimum rate of climb, and consequent 
collision with terrain or obstacles or forced landing of the airplane. 
Because of our requirement to promote safe flight of civil aircraft and 
thus, the critical need to assure the proper functioning of the FCU and 
the short compliance time involved with this action, this AD must be 
issued immediately.
    Because an unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate 
adoption of this AD, and because no airplanes affected by this AD are 
on the U.S. Register, we find that notice and opportunity for prior 
public comment hereon are both impracticable and unnecessary and that 
good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 
days.

Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight 
safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to 
provide your comments before it becomes effective. However, we invite 
you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send 
your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include 
``Docket No. FAA-2009-0556; Directorate Identifier 2009-NM-112-AD'' at 
the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the 
overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this 
AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may 
amend this AD because of those comments.
    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We 
will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we 
receive about this AD.

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.
    We are 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:
    (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.
    You can find our regulatory evaluation and the estimated costs of 
compliance in the AD Docket.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

0
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 AD:


[[Page 31171]]


2009-13-03 Boeing: Amendment 39-15942. Docket No. FAA-2009-0556; 
Directorate Identifier 2009-NM-112-AD.

Effective Date

    (a) This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective July 6, 2009.

Affected ADs

    (b) None.

Applicability

    (c) This AD applies to Boeing Model 747-400 and -400F series 
airplanes, certificated in any category; Powered by Rolls-Royce 
RB211 series engines.

Subject

    (d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 78: Engine.

Unsafe Condition

    (e) This AD results from a report of automatic retraction of the 
leading edge flaps during takeoff due to indications transmitted to 
the flap control unit (FCU) from the thrust reverser control system. 
The Federal Aviation Administration is issuing this AD to prevent 
automatic retraction of the leading edge flaps during takeoff, which 
could result in reduced climb performance and consequent collision 
with terrain and obstacles or forced landing of the airplane.

Compliance

    (f) You are responsible for having the actions required by this 
AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the 
actions have already been done.

Modification

    (g) Within 60 days after the effective date of this AD: Modify 
the thrust reverser control system wiring to the FCU in the P414 and 
P415 panels in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of 
Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-78A2181, dated June 8, 2009.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (h)(1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 
FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested 
using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to 
ATTN: Douglas Bryant, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-
140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, 
SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 917-6505; fax 
(425) 917-6590. Or, e-mail information to 9-ANM-Seattle-ACO-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.
    (2) To request a different method of compliance or a different 
compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. 
Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC 
applies, notify your principal maintenance inspector (PMI) or 
principal avionics inspector (PAI), as appropriate, or lacking a 
principal inspector, your local Flight Standards District Office. 
The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

Material Incorporated by Reference

    (i) You must use Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-78A2181, 
dated June 8, 2009, to do the actions required by this AD, unless 
the AD specifies otherwise.
    (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the 
incorporation by reference of this service information under 5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 
P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207; telephone 
206-544-5000, extension 1, fax 206-766-5680; e-mail 
me.boecom@boeing.com; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.
    (3) You may review copies of the service information at the FAA, 
Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind, Avenue SW., Renton, 
Washington. For information on the availability of this material at 
the FAA, call 425-227-1221 or 425-227-1152.
    (4) You may also review copies of the service information that 
is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 12, 2009.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. E9-15255 Filed 6-29-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P