[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 97 (Thursday, May 19, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28914-28915]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-12309]



[[Page 28914]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2011-0518; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-150-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and 
F4-600R Series Airplanes, and Model C4-605R Variant F Airplanes 
(Collectively Called A300-600 Series Airplanes); and Model A310 Series 
Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the 
products listed above. This proposed AD was prompted by events of 
excessive rudder pedal inputs and consequent high loads on the vertical 
stabilizer on several airplanes. High loads on the vertical stabilizer 
that exceed ultimate design loads could cause failure of the vertical 
stabilizer and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. The 
proposed AD would require actions that are intended to address this 
unsafe condition.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 5, 2011.

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.

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 proposed 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: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, 
International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 
1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-
227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or 
arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address 
listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2011-0518; 
Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-150-AD'' at the beginning of your 
comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We 
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend 
this proposed 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 proposed AD.

Discussion

    We have received reports of events of excessive rudder pedal inputs 
that resulted in high vertical stabilizer loads on Airbus Model A300-
600 and A310 series airplanes. In one case, the in-flight separation of 
the vertical stabilizer resulted from loads beyond ultimate design that 
were created by the pilot making excessive rudder pedal reversals. In 
another incident, during stall recovery, the airplane accelerations 
were so high that the rudder travel limiter was not capable of 
appropriately limiting rudder travel. Rudder pedal inputs in this case 
also resulted in high vertical stabilizer loads. Contributing to these 
rudder pedal inputs were characteristics of the rudder system design. 
Rudder pedal sensitivity on Model A300-600 and A310 series airplanes is 
greater than that of other transport category airplane designs. Such 
rudder control sensitivity could result in rudder over-control and 
contribute to hazardous rudder pedal inputs such as rudder reversals. 
Hazardous rudder pedal inputs could result in loads that exceed 
ultimate design loads, potentially causing failure of the vertical 
stabilizer and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.
    Currently, there are no service instructions to address this unsafe 
condition. However, one option under consideration consists of a 
modification to the rudder control system that is called the pedal 
travel limiter unit (PTLU). The PTLU limits rudder pedal stroke and 
allows the yaw damper to decrease the rudder deflection. The PTLU also 
provides limiting rates that ensure that rudder travel is appropriately 
limited during high acceleration maneuvers. Other potential design 
changes are also under review. We anticipate that one of these design 
changes will be approved within three years and will meet the 
requirements of this proposed AD.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    These airplanes are manufactured in France and are type 
certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 
section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and 
the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement.
    We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all relevant 
information and determined that the unsafe condition described 
previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same 
type design.
    The proposed AD would require actions to address this unsafe 
condition.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 215 airplanes of 
U.S. registry.
    One way, but not the only way, to modify the rudder control system 
is to install a PTLU. The following table provides the estimated costs 
for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD if a PTLU is 
installed based on preliminary information provided by the 
manufacturer.

[[Page 28915]]



                                      Estimated Costs for PTLU Installation
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                                                   Average labor                     Cost per
                   Work hours                      rate per hour       Parts          product       Fleet cost
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100.............................................             $85        $190,000        $198,500     $42,677,500
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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.
    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

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would 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 this proposed 
regulation:
    1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 
12866,
    2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under the 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, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2011-0518; Directorate Identifier 2010-NM-
150-AD.

Comments Due Date

    (a) We must receive comments by July 5, 2011.

Affected ADs

    (b) None.

Applicability

    (c) This AD applies to all Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-
620, and B4-622 airplanes; A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes; A300 
F4-605R and F4-622R airplanes; A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes; and 
A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes; 
certificated in any category.

Subject

    (d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 27: Flight 
controls.

Unsafe Condition

    (e) This AD was prompted by events of excessive rudder pedal 
inputs and consequent loads on the vertical stabilizer that exceed 
ultimate design loads. Such events could lead to failure of the 
vertical stabilizer and consequent reduced controllability 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 48 months after the effective date of this AD, 
incorporate a design change to the rudder control system and/or 
other systems to address the unsafe condition identified in 
paragraph (e) of this AD, in accordance with a method approved by 
the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane 
Directorate, FAA.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (h)(1) The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, 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 local Flight 
Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information 
directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the 
person identified in the Related Information section of this AD.
    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate 
principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager 
of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding 
district office.

Related Information

    (i) For more information about this AD, contact Dan Rodina, 
Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport 
Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 
98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 26, 2011.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-12309 Filed 5-18-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P