[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 117 (Monday, June 18, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 36143-36146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14542]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2011-1415; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-145-AD; 
Amendment 39-17089; AD 2012-12-09]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The 
Boeing Company Model 717-200 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports 
of cracks found on the center section ribs of the horizontal 
stabilizers. This AD requires repetitive inspections for cracking of 
the aft face of the left and right rib hinge bearing lugs of the center

[[Page 36144]]

section of the horizontal stabilizer; and crack measurement, repairs, 
post-repair repetitive inspections, and installation of a new center 
section rib if necessary. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct 
cracking in the left and right bearing lugs of the rib hinge spreading 
at the same time, which could result in failure of both hinge bearing 
lugs. Failure of the hinge bearing lugs could result in the inability 
of the horizontal stabilizer to sustain flight loads and thereby reduce 
the controllability of the airplane.

DATES: This AD is effective July 23, 2012.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of a certain publication listed in the AD as of July 23, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 
3855 Lakewood Boulevard, MC D800-0019, Long Beach, California 90846-
0001; phone: 206-544-5000, extension 2; fax: 206-766-5683; Internet: 
https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may review copies of the referenced 
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.

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 address for the 
Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Management Facility, 
U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George Garrido, Aerospace Engineer, 
Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-
4137; phone: 562-627-5357; fax: 562-627-5210; email: 
George.Garrido@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR 
part 39 to include an AD that would apply to the specified products. 
That NPRM published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2012 (77 FR 
2664). That NPRM proposed to require repetitive eddy current high 
frequency (ETHF) inspections for cracks on the aft face on the left and 
right rib hinge bearing lugs of the center section of the horizontal 
stabilizer; and crack measurement, repairs, post-repair repetitive 
inspections, and installation of a new center section rib if necessary.

Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing 
this AD. The following presents the comments received on the proposal 
(77 FR 2664, January 19, 2012), and the FAA's response to each comment.

Support for NPRM (77 FR 2664, January 19, 2012)

    Boeing stated it supports the NPRM (77 FR 2664, January 19, 2012).

Request To Decrease Inspection Interval

    Kristianna Sciarraa requested we change the repetitive inspection 
interval in the NPRM (77 FR 2664, January 19, 2012) from every 10,500 
flight cycles to every 18 months when no cracking is found after the 
initial inspection. The commenter stated that more frequent inspections 
would increase early detection of fatigue cracking and would be 
workable with operator schedules. The commenter also stated that the 
costs associated with the decreased inspection interval are minimal 
when compared to the cost to an operator if an accident occurs due to 
fatigue cracking.
    We disagree with changing the repetitive inspection interval 
because the repetitive inspection interval is based on damage tolerance 
(crack growth) analysis of the hinge bearing lug of the horizontal 
stabilizer center section. The analysis accounts for the loading and 
stress in the specific location and considers worse case crack growth 
from detectable to critical size and allows for multiple opportunities 
to detect a crack. We have not changed the final rule in this regard.

Request To Require Reporting

    Kristianna Sciarraa requested we include mandatory reporting of 
inspection results in the NPRM (77 FR 2664, January 19, 2012). The 
commenter stated that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated 
May 17, 2011, specifies reporting and that providing the manufacturer 
with such information would foster an important exchange of information 
with an end goal of creating safe and reliable aircraft to ensure 
passenger and operator protection.
    We disagree with requiring mandatory reporting of inspection 
results. Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 2011, 
already specifies submitting information to the manufacturer. This 
final rule does not include that requirement because we understand the 
unsafe condition, and we do not want to add an additional burden on the 
operators. We require reporting of inspection reports if the unsafe 
condition is a result of quality control issues or if we are trying to 
understand the scope of the unsafe condition. We have not changed the 
final rule in this regard.

Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, 
and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting 
the AD as proposed.

Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 129 airplanes of U.S. registry.
    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

                                                 Estimated Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 Cost on U.S.
             Action                    Labor cost         Parts cost      Cost per product        operators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ETHF Inspection.................  6 work-hours x $85               $0   $510 per inspection  $65,790 per
                                   per hour = $510                       cycle.               inspection cycle.
                                   per inspection
                                   cycle.
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     We have received no definitive data that would enable us to 
provide cost estimates for the on-condition labor costs specified in 
this AD. The estimated parts cost for a replacement rib is $16,387.

Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to 
issue

[[Page 36145]]

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),
    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
    (4) 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

    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 airworthiness 
directive (AD):

2012-12-09 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-17089; Docket No. FAA-
2011-1415; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-145-AD.

(a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective July 23, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

    None.

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 717-200 
airplanes, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association 
(ATA) of America Code 5510, Horizontal Stabilizer Structure.

(e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracks found on the center 
section ribs of the horizontal stabilizers. We are issuing this AD 
to detect and correct cracking in the left and right bearing lugs of 
the rib hinge spreading at the same time, which could result in 
failure of both hinge bearing lugs. Failure of the hinge bearing 
lugs could result in the inability of the horizontal stabilizer to 
sustain flight loads and thereby reduce the controllability of the 
airplane.

(f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, 
unless already done.

(g) Repetitive Eddy Current High Frequency (ETHF) Inspections

    Before the accumulation of 35,000 total flight cycles, or within 
8,275 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever 
occurs later: Do an ETHF inspection for cracks of the aft face on 
the left and right rib hinge bearing lugs of the center section of 
the horizontal stabilizer, in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 
17, 2011. If no crack is found, repeat the inspection thereafter at 
intervals not to exceed 10,500 flight cycles.

(h) Crack Measurement

    If any crack is found during any inspection required by 
paragraph (g) of this AD: Before further flight, measure the length 
of the crack, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of 
Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 2011.

(i) Blend Out Repair, ETHF Inspections, and Corrective Action for 
Certain Crack Lengths

    For any crack that meets ``Condition 2A'' of Table 1 of 1.E., 
``Compliance,'' of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated 
May 17, 2011: Do the actions in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this 
AD.
    (1) Before further flight, do a blend out repair, in accordance 
with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service 
Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 2011.
    (2) Within 14,200 flight cycles after accomplishing the blend 
out repair required by paragraph (i)(1) of this AD: Do an ETHF 
inspection of the blend out repair area for cracking, in accordance 
with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service 
Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 2011. If no cracking is found, 
repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 5,400 
flight cycles.
    (i) If any crack is found during the ETHF inspection required by 
paragraph (i)(2) of this AD: Before further flight, remove the 
cracked center section rib of the horizontal stabilizer and install 
a new center section rib, in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 
17, 2011.
    (ii) Within 35,000 flight cycles after the installation of the 
new center section rib, do the actions in paragraph (g) of this AD.

(j) Corrective Action for Certain Crack Lengths

    For any crack that meets ``Condition 2D'' of Table 1 of 1.E., 
``Compliance,'' of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated 
May 17, 2011: Before further flight, remove the cracked center 
section rib of the horizontal stabilizer and install a new center 
section rib, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of 
Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 2011. 
Within 35,000 flight cycles after the installation of the new rib, 
do the actions in paragraph (g) of this AD.

(k) No Reporting Requirement

    Although Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 
17, 2011, specifies to submit certain information to the 
manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement.

 (l) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager Los Angeles 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. 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.
    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be 
used for any repair required by this AD if it is approved by the 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization 
(ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, to 
make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair 
must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval 
must specifically refer to this AD.

 (m) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact George Garrido, 
Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles 
Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Boulevard, 
Lakewood,

[[Page 36146]]

California 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5357; fax: 562-627-5210; 
email: George.Garrido@faa.gov.

 (n) Material Incorporated by Reference

    (1)You must use the following service information to do the 
actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise. The 
Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference (IBR) of the following service information under 5 U.S.C. 
552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.
    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0011, dated May 17, 
2011.
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 
3855 Lakewood Boulevard, MC D800-0019, Long Beach, California 90846-
0001; phone: 206-544-5000, extension 2; fax: 206-766-5683; Internet: 
https://www.myboeingfleet.com.
    (3) You may review copies of the referenced 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.
    (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/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 7, 2012.
Michael Kaszycki,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-14542 Filed 6-15-12; 8:45 am]
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