[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2437-2439]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-798]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2012 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 2437]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0015; Special Conditions No. 25-455-SC]


Special Conditions: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Model GVI 
Airplane; Rechargeable Lithium Batteries and Rechargeable Lithium-
Battery Systems

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 Gulfstream 
Aerospace Corporation (GAC) Model GVI airplane. This airplane will have 
a novel or unusual design feature associated with the installation of 
rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-battery 
systems. 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: The effective date of these special conditions is January 9, 
2012. We must receive your comments by March 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2012-0015 
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, Wahsington, 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 8 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://regulations.gov, including any personal information 
the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket web 
site, 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), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.
    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 the 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 Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, 
Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, 
Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2432; facsimile (425) 227-
1320.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA has determined that notice of, and 
opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are 
impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay 
issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected 
aircraft. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has 
been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances 
with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that 
good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon 
issuance.

Comments Invited

    We invite 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.
    We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for 
comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments 
we receive.

Background

    On March 29, 2005, GAC applied for an FAA type certificate for its 
new Model GVI passenger airplane (hereafter referred to as ``the 
GVI''). On September 28, 2006, GAC re-applied for the GVI type 
certificate to adhere to the application effectivity established by 
Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17(c), and on July 
31, 2011, GAC requested an extension of application in accordance with 
Sec.  21.17(d)(2). The FAA concurred with this request and established 
a new effective application date of September 18, 2007. The GVI 
airplane will be an all-new, two-engine jet transport airplane. The 
maximum takeoff weight will be 99,600 pounds, with a maximum passenger 
count of 19 passengers.

Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 
CFR) 21.17, GAC must show that the GVI meets the applicable provisions 
of 14 CFR part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-120, 25-
122, 25-124, and 25-132 thereto. If the Administrator finds that the 
applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not 
contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the GVI 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, the special conditions would also apply to the 
other model.
    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special 
conditions, the GVI must comply with

[[Page 2438]]

the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and 
the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36; and the FAA 
must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under Sec.  611 of Public 
Law 92-574, the ``Noise Control Act of 1972.''
    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.  21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The GVI will incorporate the following novel or unusual design 
features: Rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-
battery systems.

Discussion

    The current regulations governing installation of batteries in 
large, transport-category airplanes were derived from Civil Air 
Regulations (CAR) Part 4b.625(d) as part of the re-codification of CAR 
4b that established 14 CFR part 25 in February 1965. The new battery 
requirements, Sec.  25.1353(c) (1) through (c)(4), basically reworded 
the CAR requirements.
    Increased use of nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries in small 
airplanes resulted in increased incidents of battery fires and 
failures, which led to additional rulemaking affecting large, 
transport-category airplanes as well as small airplanes. On September 
1, 1977, and March 1, 1978, respectively, the FAA issued Sec.  
25.1353(c)(5) and (c)(6), governing Ni-Cd battery installations on 
large, transport-category airplanes.
    The proposed use of rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable 
lithium-battery systems for equipment and systems on the GVI have 
prompted the FAA to review the adequacy of these existing regulations. 
Our review indicates that the existing regulations do not adequately 
address several failure, operational, and maintenance characteristics 
of rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-battery 
systems that could affect the safety and reliability of the GVI 
rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-battery-system 
installations.
    At present, commercial aviation has limited experience with the use 
of rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-battery 
systems in aviation applications. However, other users of this 
technology, ranging from wireless telephone manufacturers to the 
electric vehicle industry, have noted safety problems with lithium 
batteries. These problems include overcharging, over-discharging, and 
cell-component flammability.

1. Overcharging

    In general, lithium batteries are significantly more susceptible 
than their Ni-Cd or lead-acid counterparts to internal failures that 
can result in self-sustaining increases in temperature and pressure 
(i.e., thermal runaway). This is especially true for overcharging, 
which causes heating and destabilization of the components of the 
lithium-battery cell, which can lead to the formation, by plating, of 
highly unstable metallic lithium. The metallic lithium can ignite, 
resulting in a self-sustaining fire or explosion. The severity of 
thermal runaway due to overcharging increases with increased battery 
capacity due to the higher amount of electrolyte in large batteries.

2. Over-Discharging

    Discharge of some versions of the lithium-battery cell, beyond a 
certain voltage (typically 2.4 volts), can cause corrosion of the 
electrodes in the cell, resulting in loss of battery capacity that 
cannot be reversed by recharging. This loss of capacity may not be 
detected by the simple voltage measurements commonly available to 
flight crewmembers as a means of checking battery status, a problem 
shared with Ni-Cd batteries.

3. Flammability of Cell Components

    Unlike Ni-Cd and lead-acid cells, some types of lithium-battery 
cells use flammable liquid electrolytes. The electrolyte can serve as a 
source of fuel for an external fire if the cell container is breached.
    The problems that lithium-battery users experience raise concerns 
about the use of these batteries in commercial aviation. The intent of 
these special conditions is to establish appropriate airworthiness 
standards for lithium-battery installations in the GVI, and to ensure, 
as required by Sec. Sec.  25.601 and 25.1309, that these battery 
installations will not result in an unsafe condition.
    To address these concerns, these special conditions adopt the 
following requirements:
     Those sections of Sec.  25.1353 that are applicable to 
lithium batteries.
     The flammable-fluid fire-protection requirements of Sec.  
25.863. In the past, this rule was not applied to batteries in 
transport-category airplanes because the electrolytes in lead-acid and 
Ni-Cd batteries are not considered flammable.
     New requirements to address hazards of overcharging and 
over-discharging that are unique to rechargeable lithium batteries.
     Section 25.1529, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, 
must include maintenance requirements to ensure that batteries used as 
spares are maintained in an appropriate state of charge, and installed 
lithium batteries are sufficiently charged at appropriate intervals. 
These instructions must also describe proper repairs, if allowed, and 
battery part-number configuration control.
    In issuing these special conditions, the FAA requires that:
    (1) All characteristics of the lithium batteries and their 
installation that could affect safe operation of the GVI are addressed, 
and
    (2) Appropriate Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, which 
include maintenance requirements, are established to ensure the 
availability of electrical power from the batteries when needed.
    The intent of these proposed special conditions is to establish 
appropriate airworthiness standards for rechargeable lithium-battery 
and rechargeable lithium-battery system installations in the GVI and to 
ensure, as required by Sec. Sec.  25.1309 and 25.601, that these 
battery installations are not hazardous or unreliable.

Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the 
GVI. Should GAC apply at a later date for a change to the type 
certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or 
unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that 
model as well.

Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features 
on the GVI. It is not a rule of general applicability.
    The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the 
notice and comment period in several prior instances and has been 
derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is 
unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change 
from the substance contained herein. Therefore, because a delay would 
significantly affect the certification of the airplane, which is 
imminent, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment 
are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting 
these special conditions upon issuance. The FAA is requesting comments 
to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been 
submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described 
above.

[[Page 2439]]

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions

    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 the GVI.
    In lieu of the requirements of Sec.  25.1353(c)(1) through (c)(4) 
at amendment 25-42, lithium batteries and battery installations on the 
GVI must be designed and installed as follows:
    (1) Safe lithium battery-cell temperatures and pressures must be 
maintained during any charging or discharging condition, and during any 
failure of the battery-charging or battery-monitoring system not shown 
to be extremely remote. The lithium-battery installation must preclude 
explosion in the event of those failures.
    (2) Design of lithium batteries must preclude the occurrence of 
self-sustaining, uncontrolled increases in temperature or pressure.
    (3) No explosive or toxic gases emitted by any lithium battery in 
normal operation, or as the result of any failure of the battery-
charging or battery-monitoring system, or battery installation which is 
not shown to be extremely remote, may accumulate in hazardous 
quantities within the airplane.
    (4) Installations of lithium batteries must meet the requirements 
of 14 CFR 25.863(a) through (d).
    (5) No corrosive fluids or gases that may escape from any lithium 
battery may damage surrounding structure or any adjacent systems, 
equipment, or electrical wiring of the airplane in such a way as to 
cause a major or more-severe failure condition, as determined in 
accordance with 14 CFR 25.1309(b).
    (6) Each lithium-battery installation must have provisions to 
prevent any hazardous effect on structure or essential systems caused 
by the maximum amount of heat the battery can generate during a short 
circuit of the battery or of its individual cells.
    (7) Lithium-battery installations must have a system to control 
automatically the charging rate of the battery to prevent battery 
overheating or overcharging, and
    (i) A battery-temperature-sensing and over-temperature-warning 
system with a means to automatically disconnect the battery from its 
charging source in the event of an over-temperature condition or,
    (ii) A battery-failure sensing-and-warning system with a means to 
automatically disconnect the battery from its charging source in the 
event of battery failure.
    (8) Any lithium-battery installation, the function of which is 
required for safe operation of the airplane, must incorporate a 
monitoring-and-warning feature that will provide an indication to the 
appropriate flight crewmembers whenever the state-of-charge of the 
batteries has fallen below levels considered acceptable for dispatch of 
the airplane.
    (9) The instructions for continued airworthiness required by Sec.  
25.1529 (and Sec.  26.11) must contain maintenance steps to assure that 
the lithium batteries are sufficiently charged at appropriate intervals 
specified by the battery manufacturer. The instructions for continued 
airworthiness must also contain procedures to ensure the integrity of 
lithium batteries in spares storage to prevent the replacement of 
batteries, the function of which are required for safe operation of the 
airplane, with batteries that have experienced degraded charge-
retention ability or other damage due to prolonged storage at a low 
state-of-charge. Precautions should be included in the continued-
airworthiness maintenance instructions to prevent mishandling of 
lithium batteries, which could result in a short circuit or other 
unintentional damage that could result in personal injury or property 
damage.
    GAC must show compliance with the requirements of these special 
conditions by test and/or analysis. The aircraft certification office, 
or its designees, will find compliance in coordination with the FAA 
Transport Standards Staff.

    Note 1:  The term ``sufficiently charged'' means that the 
battery retains enough of a charge, expressed in ampere-hours, to 
ensure that the battery cells are not damaged. A battery cell may be 
damaged by reducing the battery's charge below a point where the 
battery's ability to charge and retain a full charge is reduced. 
This reduced charging and charge-retention capability would be 
greater than the reduction that may result from normal operational 
degradation.


    Note 2:  These special conditions are not intended to replace 
Sec.  25.1353(c) in the certification basis of the GVI. These 
special conditions apply only to lithium batteries and rechargeable 
lithium-battery-system installations. The requirements of Sec.  
25.1353(c) remain in effect for batteries and battery installations 
on the GVI that do not use lithium batteries.


    Issued in Renton, Washington, on January 9, 2012.
K.C. Yanamura,
Assistant Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-798 Filed 1-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P