[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 57 (Friday, March 23, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16907-16910]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6956]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 16907]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 23

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0315; Special Conditions No. 23-257-SC]


Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Model EMB 505; Inflatable Side-
Facing Seat Three-Point Restraint Safety Belt With an Integrated Airbag 
Device in the Side-Facing Divan Aft Position

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 installation of an 
inflatable three-point restraint safety belt with an integrated airbag 
device at the aft position in two-place side-facing divan seats on the 
Embraer S.A. aircraft model EMB-505. These airplanes, as modified by 
the installation of these inflatable safety belts, will have novel and 
unusual design features associated with the upper-torso restraint 
portions of the three-point safety belts, which contain an integrated 
airbag device. 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 March 16, 
2012.
    Comments must be received on or before April 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2012-0315 
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 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: Mr. Bob Stegeman, Federal Aviation 
Administration, Aircraft Certification Service, Small Airplane 
Directorate, ACE-111, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri, 816-329-4140, 
fax 816-329-4090, email Robert.Stegeman@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to submit such written data, views, 
or arguments, as they may desire. Communications should identify the 
regulatory docket or special condition number and be submitted in 
duplicate to the address specified above. All communications received 
on or before the closing date for comments will be considered by the 
Administrator. The special conditions may be changed in light of the 
comments received. All comments received will be available in the Rules 
Docket for examination by interested persons, both before and after the 
closing date for comments. A report summarizing each substantive public 
contact with FAA personnel concerning this rulemaking will be filed in 
the docket. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their 
comments submitted in response to this notice must include a self-
addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: 
``Comments to Docket No. FAA-2012-0315.'' The postcard will be date 
stamped and returned to the commenter.

Background

    On December 13, 2010, Embraer S.A. applied for a Design Change 
Application, for the installation of a two-place side-facing divan on 
aircraft model EMB-505. Embraer S.A. applied for, and was granted, 
Exemption No. 10321 to Sec.  23.562 for the two-place divan due to its 
unique installation and safety requirements for the occupants. The 
exemption included additional testing requirements. Embraer opted to 
use a three-point safety belt restraint system for the aft occupant 
seat to meet the exemption safety requirements.
    The inflatable restraint systems are three-point safety belt 
restraint systems consisting of a lap belt and shoulder harness with an 
inflatable airbag attached to the shoulder harness belt. The inflatable 
portion of the restraint system will rely on sensors to electronically 
activate the inflator for deployment.
    If an emergency landing occurs, the airbag will inflate, limit 
forward translation and prevent contact with the forward occupant or 
other interior structure due to flailing. This will reduce the 
potential for head and torso injury and protect the forward occupant as 
well. The inflatable restraint behaves in a manner similar to an 
automotive airbag; however, in this case, the airbag is integrated into 
the shoulder belt. While airbags and inflatable restraints are standard 
in the automotive industry, the use of an inflatable restraint system 
is novel for general aviation operations.
    The FAA has determined that this project will be accomplished on 
the basis of providing the same current level of safety as the 
conventional

[[Page 16908]]

certification basis airplane occupant restraint systems. The FAA has 
two primary safety concerns with the installation of airbags or 
inflatable restraints:
     That they perform properly under foreseeable operating 
conditions; and
     That they do not perform in a manner or at such times as 
to impede the pilot's ability to maintain control of the airplane or 
constitute a hazard to the airplane or occupants.
    The latter point has the potential to be the more rigorous of the 
requirements. An unexpected deployment while conducting the takeoff or 
landing phases of flight may result in an unsafe condition. The 
unexpected deployment may either startle the pilot or generate a force 
sufficient to cause a sudden movement of the control yoke. Either 
action could result in a loss of control of the airplane, the 
consequences of which are magnified due to the low operating altitudes 
during these phases of flight. This concern is of lesser consequence in 
this application because it is not installed in a cockpit position. The 
FAA has considered this when establishing these special conditions.
    The inflatable restraint system relies on sensors to electronically 
activate the inflator for deployment. These sensors could be 
susceptible to inadvertent activation, causing deployment in a 
potentially unsafe manner. The consequences of an inadvertent 
deployment must be considered in establishing the reliability of the 
system. Embraer S.A. must show that the effects of an inadvertent 
deployment in flight are not a hazard to the airplane or that an 
inadvertent deployment is extremely improbable. In addition, general 
aviation aircraft are susceptible to a large amount of cumulative wear 
and tear on a restraint system. The potential for inadvertent 
deployment may increase as a result of this cumulative damage. 
Therefore, the impact of wear and tear on inadvertent deployment must 
be considered. The effect of this cumulative damage means a life limit 
must be established for the appropriate system components in the 
restraint system design.
    There are additional factors to be considered to minimize the 
chances of inadvertent deployment. General aviation airplanes are 
exposed to a unique operating environment. The effect of this 
environment on inadvertent deployment must be understood. Therefore, 
qualification testing of the firing hardware/software must consider the 
following:
     The airplane vibration levels appropriate for a general 
aviation airplane; and
     The inertial loads that result from typical flight or 
ground maneuvers, including gusts and hard landings.

Any tendency for the firing mechanism to activate as a result of these 
loads or acceleration levels is unacceptable.
    Other influences on inadvertent deployment include high intensity 
electromagnetic fields (HIRF) and lightning. Since the sensors that 
trigger deployment are electronic, they must be protected from the 
effects of these threats. To comply with HIRF and lightning 
requirements, the AmSafe, Inc., inflatable restraint system is 
considered a critical system, since its inadvertent deployment could 
have a hazardous effect on the airplane.
    Given the level of safety of the occupant restraints currently 
installed, the inflatable restraint system must show that it will offer 
an equivalent level of protection for an emergency landing. If an 
inadvertent deployment occurs, the restraint must still be at least as 
strong as a Technical Standard Order approved belt and shoulder 
harnesses. There is no requirement for the inflatable portion of the 
restraint to offer protection during multiple impacts, where more than 
one impact would require protection.
    The inflatable restraint system must deploy and provide protection 
for each occupant under an emergency landing condition. The side-facing 
seats of EMB-505 model airplanes are certificated to the structural 
requirements of Sec.  23.562 and Exemption 10321; therefore, the test 
emergency landing pulses identified must be used to satisfy this 
requirement.
    A wide range of occupants may use the inflatable restraint; 
therefore, the protection offered by this restraint should be effective 
for occupants that range from the fifth percentile female to the 
ninety-fifth percentile male. Energy absorption must be performed in a 
consistent manner for this occupant range.
    In support of this operational capability, there must be a means to 
verify the integrity of this system before each flight. Embraer S.A. 
may establish inspection intervals where they have demonstrated the 
system to be reliable between these intervals.
    An inflatable restraint may be ``armed'' even though no occupant is 
using the seat. While there will be means to verify the integrity of 
the system before flight, it is also prudent to require unoccupied 
seats with active restraints not constitute a hazard to any occupant. 
This will protect any individual performing maintenance inside the 
cockpit while the aircraft is on the ground. The restraint must also 
provide suitable visual warnings that would alert rescue personnel to 
the presence of an inflatable restraint system.
    In addition, the design must prevent the inflatable seatbelt from 
being incorrectly buckled and/or installed such that the airbag would 
not properly deploy. Embraer S.A., may show that such deployment is not 
hazardous to the occupant and will still provide the required 
protection.
    The cabins of the Embraer S.A. model airplane identified in these 
special conditions are confined areas, and the FAA is concerned that 
noxious gasses may accumulate if the airbag deploys. When deployment 
occurs, either by design or inadvertently, there must not be a release 
of hazardous quantities of gas or particulate matter into the cockpit.
    An inflatable restraint should not increase the risk already 
associated with fire. Therefore, the inflatable restraint should be 
protected from the effects of fire to avoid creating an additional 
hazard by, for example, a rupture of the inflator.
    Finally, the airbag is likely to have a large volume displacement, 
and possibly impede the egress of an occupant. Since the bag deflates 
to absorb energy, it is likely that the inflatable restraint would be 
deflated at the time an occupant would attempt egress. However, it is 
appropriate to specify a time interval after which the inflatable 
restraint may not impede rapid egress. Ten seconds has been chosen as 
reasonable time. This time limit will offer a level of protection 
throughout the impact event.

Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of Sec.  21.101, Embraer S.A. must show that 
the EMB-505 model airplane continues to meet the applicable provisions 
of the applicable regulations in effect on the date of application for 
the type certificate. The regulations incorporated by reference in the 
type certificate are commonly referred to as the ``original type 
certification basis.'' The following model is covered by this special 
condition:

Embraer S.A. Model EMB-505

    For the model listed above, the certification basis also includes 
all exemptions, if any; equivalent level of safety findings, if any; 
and special conditions not relevant to the special conditions adopted 
by this rulemaking action.
    If the Administrator determines that the applicable airworthiness 
regulations

[[Page 16909]]

(i.e., part 23 as amended) do not contain adequate or appropriate 
safety standards for the AmSafe, Inc., inflatable restraint as 
installed on this Embraer S.A. model because of a novel or unusual 
design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions 
of Sec.  21.16.
    Special conditions, as appropriate, as defined in Sec.  11.19, are 
issued in accordance with Sec.  11.38, and become part of the type 
certification basis in accordance with Sec.  21.101.
    Special conditions are initially applicable to the models for which 
they are issued. Should the applicant apply for a supplemental type 
certificate to modify any other model included on the same type 
certificate to incorporate the same novel or unusual design feature, 
the special conditions would also apply to that model under the 
provisions of Sec.  21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The Embraer S.A. EMB-505 model airplane will incorporate the 
following novel or unusual design feature:
    A three-point safety belt restraint system incorporating an 
inflatable airbag at the aft position in the two-place side-facing 
divan.
    The purpose of the airbag is to reduce the potential for injury in 
the event of an accident. In a severe impact, an airbag will deploy 
from the shoulder harness, in a manner similar to an automotive airbag. 
The airbag will deploy between the head of the occupant and airplane 
interior structure and forward adjacent occupant, which will provide 
some protection to the head of the occupant and significantly limit 
forward flailing of the upper torso and head. The restraint will rely 
on sensors to electronically activate the inflator for deployment.
    The Code of Federal Regulations states performance criteria for 
seats and restraints in an objective manner. However, none of these 
criteria are adequate to address the specific issues raised concerning 
inflatable restraints. Therefore, the FAA has determined that, in 
addition to the requirements of part 21 and part 23, special conditions 
are needed to address the installation of this inflatable restraint.
    Accordingly, these special conditions are adopted for the Embraer 
S.A. EMB-505 model airplane equipped with three-point inflatable 
restraints. Other conditions may be developed, as needed, based on 
further FAA review and discussions with the manufacturer and civil 
aviation authorities.

Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the 
Embraer S.A. EMB-505 model airplane equipped with the three-point 
inflatable restraint systems.

Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features 
on the previously identified Embraer S.A. airplane model. It is not a 
rule of general applicability, and it affects only the applicant who 
applied to the FAA for approval of these features on the airplane.
    Under standard practice, the effective date of final special 
conditions would be 30 days after the date of publication in the 
Federal Register; however, 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. For 
this reason, and because a delay would significantly affect the 
delivery of the airplane(s), 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 23

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Signs and symbols.

Citation

    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113 and 44701; 14 CFR 21.16 and 
21.101; and 14 CFR 11.38 and 11.19.

The Special Conditions

    The FAA has determined that this project will be accomplished on 
the basis of not lowering the current level of safety of the Embraer 
S.A. EMB-505 model airplane occupant restraint systems. 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 this model. Embraer S.A., Model EMB 505; 
Inflatable Side-Facing Seat Three-Point Restraint Safety Belt with an 
Integrated Airbag Device in the Side-Facing Divan Aft Position of the 
Embraer S.A. EMB-505 model airplanes.
    In addition to the provisions of 14 CFR 23.562 and 23.785, the 
minimum acceptable standards for certification of multiple place side-
facing divans equipped with an airbag system in the shoulder harnesses 
are as follows:
    1. It must be shown that the inflatable restraint will deploy and 
provide protection under the dynamic test conditions specified in Title 
14 CFR 23.562. It is not necessary to account for floor warpage, as 
required by Sec.  23.562(b)(3) or vertical dynamic loads, as required 
by Sec.  23.562(b)(1). The means of protection must take into 
consideration a range of stature from a 5th percentile female to a 95th 
percentile male. The inflatable restraint must provide a consistent 
approach to energy absorption throughout that range.
    2. The inflatable restraint must provide adequate protection for 
each occupant. In addition, unoccupied seats that have an active 
restraint must not constitute a hazard to any occupant.
    3. The design must prevent the inflatable restraint from being 
incorrectly buckled and/or incorrectly installed such that the airbag 
would not properly deploy. Alternatively, it must be shown that such 
deployment is not hazardous to the occupant and will provide the 
required protection.
    4. It must be shown that the inflatable restraint system is not 
susceptible to inadvertent deployment as a result of wear and tear or 
the inertial loads resulting from in-flight or ground maneuvers 
(including gusts and hard landings) that are likely to be experienced 
in service.
    5. It must be extremely improbable for an inadvertent deployment of 
the restraint system to occur, or an inadvertent deployment must not 
impede the pilot's ability to maintain control of the airplane or cause 
an unsafe condition (or hazard to the airplane). In addition, a 
deployed inflatable restraint must be at least as strong as a Technical 
Standard Order (C114) certificated belt and shoulder harness.
    6. It must be shown that deployment of the inflatable restraint 
system is not hazardous to the occupant or result in injuries that 
could impede rapid egress. This assessment should include occupants 
whose restraint is loosely fastened.
    7. It must be shown that an inadvertent deployment that could cause 
injury to a sitting person is improbable. In addition, the restraint 
must also provide suitable visual warnings that would alert rescue

[[Page 16910]]

personnel to the presence of an inflatable restraint system.
    8. It must be shown that the inflatable restraint will not impede 
rapid egress of the occupants 10 seconds after its deployment.
    9. The system must be protected from lightning and HIRF. The 
threats specified in existing regulations regarding lighting and HIRF, 
are incorporated by reference for the purpose of measuring lightning 
and HIRF protection. Also, for purposes of complying with these 
requirements, the airbag system is considered a critical system at 
pilot/co-pilot positions only.
    10. It must be shown that the inflatable restraints will not 
release hazardous quantities of gas or particulate matter into the 
cabin.
    11. The inflatable restraint system installation must be protected 
from the effects of fire such that no hazard to occupants will result.
    12. There must be a means to verify the integrity of the inflatable 
restraint activation system before each flight or it must be 
demonstrated to reliably operate between inspection intervals.
    13. A life limit must be established for appropriate system 
components.
    14. Qualification testing of the internal firing mechanism must be 
performed at vibration levels appropriate for a general aviation 
airplane.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 16, 2012.
James E. Jackson,
Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-6956 Filed 3-22-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P