[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 13 (Friday, January 18, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4038-4042]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01041]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 35

[Docket No.: FAA-2010-0940-0001; Amdt. No. 35-9]
RIN 2120-AJ88


Critical Parts for Airplane Propellers

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is amending the 
airworthiness standards for airplane propellers. This action would 
require a safety analysis to identify a propeller critical part. 
Manufacturers would identify propeller critical parts, and establish 
engineering, manufacturing, and maintenance processes for propeller 
critical parts. These new requirements provide an added margin of 
safety for the continued airworthiness of propeller critical parts by 
requiring a system of processes to identify and manage these parts 
throughout their service life. This rule would eliminate regulatory 
differences between part 35 and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) 
propeller critical parts requirements, thereby simplifying 
airworthiness approvals for exports.

DATES: Effective March 19, 2013.
    Affected parties, however, are not required to comply with the 
information collection requirement[s] in Sec.  35.16 until the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) approves the collection and assigns a 
control number under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The FAA will 
publish in the Federal Register a notice of the control number[s] 
assigned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for this [these] 
information collection requirement[s].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this action, contact Jay Turnberg, Engine and Propeller Directorate 
Standards Staff, ANE-111, Federal Aviation Administration, 12 New 
England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts, 01803-5299; 
telephone (781) 238-7116; facsimile (781) 238-7199, email: 
jay.turnberg@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this action, 
contact Vincent Bennett, FAA Office of the Regional Counsel, ANE-7, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 12 New England Executive Park, 
Burlington, Massachusetts, 01803-5299; telephone (781) 238-7044; 
facsimile (781) 238-7055, email: vincent.bennett@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code. 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.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, section 44701, ``General 
requirements.'' Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing 
regulations 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, including 
minimum safety standards for airplane propellers. This regulation is 
within the scope of that authority because it updates the existing 
regulations for airplane propellers.

I. Overview of Final Rule

    Part 35 does not specifically define the term propeller critical 
part. Consequently, there are no requirements for design, manufacture, 
maintenance, or management of propeller critical parts. This rule 
defines and requires the identification of propeller critical parts, 
and establishes requirements to ensure the integrity of those parts.

II. Background

    On December 20, 2006, the FAA tasked the Aviation Rulemaking 
Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop recommendations that would address 
the integrity of propeller critical parts, as well as be in harmony 
with similar European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. This 
rule addresses those recommendations, a copy of which can be found in 
the docket of this rulemaking.

A. Statement of the Problem

    Propeller critical parts are not adequately addressed by current 
regulations. Presently, the FAA does not--
    [rtarr8] Have a specific definition for a propeller critical part, 
or
    [rtarr8] Require type certificate holders to identify propeller 
critical parts.
    Consequently, propeller manufacturers are not required to provide 
information concerning propeller critical part design, manufacture, or 
maintenance.

B. Summary of the NPRM

    Primary failure of certain single propeller elements (for example, 
blades) can result in a hazardous propeller effect. Part 35 does not 
specifically identify these elements as propeller critical parts. 
Consequently, there are no requirements for design, manufacture, 
maintenance, or management of propeller critical parts. EASA, however, 
has regulations that identify a specific definition for propeller 
critical part, and regulations to reduce the likelihood of propeller 
critical part failures. These regulations, EASA Certification 
Specifications for Propellers (CS-P), are CS-P 150, Propeller Safety 
Analysis and CS-P 160 Propeller Critical Parts Integrity. The EASA 
regulations specifically require propeller manufacturers to identify 
propeller critical parts and provide adequate information for the 
design, manufacture, and maintenance of those parts to ensure their 
integrity throughout their service life. This FAA action establishes 
standards equivalent to the EASA regulations, thereby simplifying 
airworthiness approvals for export of these parts.
Safety Analysis (Sec.  35.15)
    We proposed to revise Sec.  35.15(c) to require the identification 
of propeller critical parts, and that applicants establish the 
integrity of these parts using the standards in proposed Sec.  35.16. 
Section 35.15(c) refers to the failure of

[[Page 4039]]

these parts as primary failures of ``certain single elements''. We 
recognize that a meaningful numerical estimate of the reliability of 
these parts is not possible, since over 100 million hours of service 
history on a part design would be needed to directly meet the 
probability requirements of the regulation. Current regulations 
accommodate this inability to provide a meaningful estimate by stating 
that these failures cannot be ``sensibly'' estimated in numerical 
terms.
Propeller Critical Parts (New Sec.  35.16)
    Our proposed Sec.  35.16 would require the development and 
execution of an engineering process, a manufacturing process, and a 
service management process for propeller critical parts. These three 
processes form a closed loop system that links the design intent, as 
defined by the engineering process, to how the part is manufactured and 
to how the part is maintained in service. Engineering, manufacturing, 
and service management function as an integrated system. This 
integrated systems approach recognizes that the effects of an action in 
one area would have an impact on the entire system. The proposed Sec.  
35.16 clarifies the wording of the EASA propeller critical parts 
requirement. Since the CS-P 160 use of the term ``plan'' might imply a 
requirement that a ``part-specific'' document would be required, the 
term ``process'' is used instead of ``plan''. In this context 
compliance will consist of a procedures manual that describes the 
manufacturer's method(s) to control propeller critical parts.
    The engineering, manufacturing, and service management processes 
should provide clear information for propeller critical part 
management. ``Process'' in the context of the proposed requirement does 
not mean that all the required technical information is within a single 
document. When relevant information exists elsewhere, the process 
documents may reference, for example, drawings, material 
specifications, and process specifications, as appropriate. These 
references should be clear enough to sufficiently identify the 
referenced document so as to allow the design history of an individual 
part to be traced.
    The FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking on December 1, 
2011, requesting pubic comments [76 FR 74749]. The comment period 
closed on January 30, 2012.

C. General Overview of Comments

    The FAA received three comments. One was from a repair station, 
Sensenich Propeller Service, and the others were from propeller 
manufacturers, Hamilton Sundstrand and Hartzell Propeller. The comments 
requested clarification on how the rule would be applied to propeller 
parts being serviced, old (legacy) propellers and part 45 
Identification and Registration and Marking requirements. The comments 
did not suggest changes to the proposal.

III. Discussion of Public Comments and Final Rule

    Sensenich Propeller Service asked would this rule require the 
replacement of airworthy parts that were found to have no defects. This 
rule would not. Nor does it require propeller manufacturers to revise 
manuals for existing certified propellers. This rule will result in 
manuals that are more informative with respect to propeller critical 
parts, when manuals are revised or developed for amended or new 
propeller certification programs.
    Hamilton Sundstrand wanted to know if some sort of grandfather 
clause for legacy propellers was contemplated. This rule is applicable 
to propellers based on the propeller certification basis. Therefore, 
the rule will be applicable to new propellers, and may be applicable to 
propellers certified to earlier amendments, if the type design is 
changed sufficiently. See 14 CFR Sec.  21.101 Designation of applicable 
regulations. The current regulations accommodate older propellers as 
needed.
    Hartzell Propeller, Inc., requested clarification on the 
applicability of paragraph (c) of Sec.  45.15 Identification and 
registration marking for a propeller critical part. The propeller 
critical parts rule does address part marking. Propellers, propeller 
blades, and hubs are subject to the marking requirements of Sec. Sec.  
45.11 and 45.13. Section 45.15 (c) is not applicable to critical 
propeller parts that do not have a replacement time, inspection 
interval, or related procedure specified in the Airworthiness 
Limitations Section of a manufacturer's maintenance manual or 
Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. 
L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of 
regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act 
(Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create 
unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In 
developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires agencies to consider 
international standards and, where appropriate, they be the basis of 
U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. 
L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the 
costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that 
include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, 
local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with 
base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's 
analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule.
    Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect, and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if 
a full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning 
for this determination follows.
    Presently, airplane propeller part manufacturers must satisfy both 
the code of federal regulations (CFR) and the European Aviation Safety 
Agency (EASA) certification requirements to market their products in 
both the United States and Europe. Meeting two sets of certification 
requirements raises the cost of developing new airplane propeller 
parts, often with no increase in safety. In the interest of fostering 
international trade, lowering the cost of airplane propeller parts 
development, and making the certification process more efficient, the 
FAA, EASA, and airplane propeller part manufacturers worked to create 
to the maximum extent possible a single set of certification 
requirements accepted in both the United States and Europe. These 
efforts are referred to as harmonization.
    Propellers contain critical parts whose primary failure can result 
in a hazardous propeller effect. 14 CFR part 35 does not currently 
identify what a propeller critical part is, and consequently, has no 
specific requirement(s) for their design, manufacture, maintenance, or

[[Page 4040]]

management. EASA however, has regulations that identify what propeller 
critical parts are, and regulations to reduce the likelihood of 
propeller critical part failures.
    This rule will revise Sec.  35.15 and add a new Sec.  35.16 to part 
35 with EASA's ``more stringent'' CS-P 150 Propeller Safety Analysis 
and CS-P 160 Propeller Critical Parts Integrity requirements. The FAA 
has concluded for the reasons previously discussed in the preamble, the 
adoption of these EASA requirements into the CFR is the most efficient 
way to harmonize these sections, and in so doing, enhance the existing 
level of safety.
    A review of current manufacturers of airplane propeller parts 
certificated under part 35 has revealed that all manufacturers of such 
future airplane propeller parts are expected to continue their current 
practice of compliance under part 35 of the CFR and the EASA 
certification requirements. Since future certificated airplane 
propeller parts are expected to meet EASA's existing CS-P 150 Propeller 
Safety Analysis and CS-P 160 Propeller Critical Parts Integrity 
requirements, and this rule simply adopts the same EASA requirement, 
manufacturers will incur no additional cost resulting from this rule. 
Therefore, the FAA estimates that there are no more than minimal costs 
associated with this final rule.
    The FAA, however, has not attempted to quantify the cost savings 
that may accrue from this rule, beyond noting that while it may be 
minimal, it contributes to a potential harmonization savings. 
Furthermore, we did not receive comments regarding this determination 
that this rule will have minimal cost with a possible cost savings to 
the industry.
    The FAA has therefore determined this final rule is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' as defined in section 3(f) of 
Executive Order 12866, and is not ``significant'' as defined in DOT's 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities 
for profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.
    However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the 
agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. The certification must include a statement providing the 
factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be 
clear.
    The FAA believes that this rule would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the 
following reason. The net effect of the rule is minimum regulatory cost 
relief. The rule requires that new propeller manufacturers meet the 
``more stringent'' European certification requirement, CS-P 150, 
Propeller Safety Analysis and CS-P 160, Propeller Critical Parts, 
rather than both the U.S. and European standards. Propeller 
manufacturers already meet or expect to meet this standard as well as 
the existing CFR requirement.
    Given that this rule has minimal to no costs, could be cost-
relieving, and as we received no comments on this determination for the 
NPRM, as the Administrator, I certify that this final rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic 
objective, such the protection of safety, and does not operate in a 
manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also 
requires consideration of international standards, and where 
appropriate, be the basis for U. S. standards. The FAA has assessed the 
potential effect of this final rule and determined that it is in accord 
with the Trade Agreements Act as the rule uses European standards as 
the basis for United States regulation.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $143.1 million in lieu of $100 
million. This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, 
the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. According to the 1995 
amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act (5 CFR 1320.8(b)(2)(vi)), an 
agency may not collect or sponsor the collection of information, nor 
may it impose an information collection requirement unless it displays 
a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.
    This final rule will impose the following new information 
collection requirements. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), the FAA has submitted these information 
collection amendments to OMB for its review. Notice of OMB approval for 
this information collection will be published in a future Federal 
Register document.
    Summary: On December 1, 2011, FAA published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking titled ``Critical Parts for Airplane Propellers'' (76 FR 
74749). This activity contains new Paperwork Reduction Act 
recordkeeping requirements that were not addressed in that notice of 
proposed rulemaking, and which are addressed here. The rule will 
require that U.S. companies who manufacture critical parts for airplane 
propellers update their manuals to record engineering, manufacture, and 
maintenance processes for propeller critical parts. There are currently 
three U.S. companies who will be required to create or revise their 
manuals to include these processes.

[[Page 4041]]

    Public comments: We received no comments on information collection
    Use: This information will be used by the propeller manufacturer to 
show compliance with the propeller critical parts requirements. This 
action would define what a propeller critical part is, require the 
identification of propeller critical parts by the manufacturer, and 
establish engineering, manufacture, and maintenance processes for those 
parts. The need and use of the information is to ensure the continued 
airworthiness of propeller critical parts by requiring a system of 
processes to identify and manage these parts throughout their service 
life.
    Respondents: There are five propeller manufacturers that will be 
affected by the new requirement. Responses were provided by two of the 
manufacturers who have already prepared propeller critical parts 
manuals and are compliant with the final rule. The information provided 
by the two manufacturers was used to establish the paperwork required 
to show compliance with the propeller critical parts requirements for 
the remaining three propeller manufacturers.
    Frequency: The information will only need to be collected once to 
show compliance with the FAA propeller critical part rule Sec.  35.16. 
If the information is not collected, the propeller manufacturer will 
not be able to obtain a type certificate for the propeller.
    Annual Burden Estimate: There will be no annualized cost to the 
Federal Government. Industry has informed the FAA that the one-time 
paperwork requirement will take approximately 40 hours and consist of 
18 pages per manufacturer. The FAA estimated 120 hours as the total 
hourly burden by taking the product of the number of affected U.S. 
manufacturers with the hourly burden. There will be a one-time cost of 
$3,555.60 per respondent which will occur on the effective date of the 
rule. The total cost for the three respondents is $10,666.80.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform our 
regulations to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 
Standards to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined 
that there are no ICAO Standards that correspond to these regulations.
    Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation, promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet 
shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent 
unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609 and has determined that this action would have no 
effect on international regulatory cooperation.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical 
exclusion identified in paragraph Chapter 3, paragraph 312f and 
involves no extraordinary circumstances.

V. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency determined 
that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on the 
States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government, and, therefore, does not have Federalism 
implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
is not a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order and it 
is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy.

VI. How To Obtain Additional Information

A. Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of a rulemaking document my be obtained by using 
the Internet--
    1. Search the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visit the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/ or
    3. Access the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by 
notice, amendment, or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680.

B. Comments Submitted to the Docket

    Comments received may be viewed by going to http://www.regulations.gov and following the online instructions to search the 
docket number for this action. Anyone is able to search the electronic 
form of all comments received into any of the FAA's dockets by the name 
of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.).

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 
1996 requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information 
or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its 
jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document, 
may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble. 
To find out more about SBREFA on the Internet, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects 14 CFR Part 35

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

PART 35--AIRWORTHINESS STANDARDS: PROPELLERS

0
1. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. Amend Sec.  35.15 by revising paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  35.15  Safety Analysis.

* * * * *
    (c) The primary failures of certain single propeller elements (for 
example, blades) cannot be sensibly estimated in numerical terms. If 
the failure of such elements is likely to result in hazardous propeller 
effects, those elements must be identified as propeller critical parts.

[[Page 4042]]

    (d) For propeller critical parts, applicants must meet the 
prescribed integrity specifications of Sec.  35.16. These instances 
must be stated in the safety analysis.
* * * * *

0
3. Add Sec.  35.16 to subpart B to read as follows:


Sec.  35.16  Propeller Critical Parts.

    The integrity of each propeller critical part identified by the 
safety analysis required by Sec.  35.15 must be established by:
    (a) A defined engineering process for ensuring the integrity of the 
propeller critical part throughout its service life,
    (b) A defined manufacturing process that identifies the 
requirements to consistently produce the propeller critical part as 
required by the engineering process, and
    (c) A defined service management process that identifies the 
continued airworthiness requirements of the propeller critical part as 
required by the engineering process.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2013.
Michael P. Huerta,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-01041 Filed 1-17-13; 8:45 am]
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