[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 5707-5710]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01695]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 18 / Monday, January 28, 2013 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 5707]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 121

[Docket No. FAA-2011-0186; Amendment Nos. 121-362]
RIN 2120-AK14


Lavatory Oxygen Systems

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action adds termination criteria and an expiration date 
to Special Federal Aviation Regulation 111, which temporarily 
authorizes variances from existing standards related to the 
provisioning of supplemental oxygen inside lavatories. This action is 
necessitated by the publication of Airworthiness Directive 2012-11-09, 
which mandates actions that restore supplemental oxygen to lavatories.

DATES: This final rule is effective March 29, 2013.

ADDRESSES: For information on where to obtain copies of rulemaking 
documents and other information related to this final rule, see ``How 
To Obtain Additional Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Gardlin, Airframe and Cabin 
Safety Branch, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Northwest 
Mountain Region, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; 
telephone: (425) 227-2136; email: jeff.gardlin@faa.gov.
    For legal questions concerning this action, contact Douglas 
Anderson, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of the Regional 
Counsel, ANM-7, Northwest Mountain Region, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., 
Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: (425) 227-2166; email: 
douglas.anderson@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Good Cause

    The FAA finds that notice and public comment to this final rule are 
unnecessary, since this amendment is a conforming change in light of 
the rulemaking activity that led to AD 2012-11-09.\1\ Interested 
parties have been offered an opportunity to comment on the issues 
covered by this SFAR, and the FAA has considered all comments. See 
Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-11-09; 77 FR 38000, June 26, 2012.
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    \1\ AD 2012-11-09, Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport 
Category Airplanes (Docket No. FAA-2012-0102), 77 FR 38000, June 26, 
2012.
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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 promoting 
safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing minimum 
standards required in the interest of safety for the design and 
performance of aircraft; regulations and minimum standards in the 
interest of safety for inspecting, servicing, and overhauling aircraft; 
and regulations for other practices, methods, and procedures the 
Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This 
regulation is within the scope of that authority because it revises the 
safety standards for design and operation of transport category 
airplanes.

I. Overview of Final Rule

    The FAA issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 111 to 
address the noncompliance with the regulations created by compliance 
with AD 2011-04-09.\2\ Because no solution was available at that time 
that would both comply with the AD and provide oxygen to occupants of 
lavatories, the SFAR was intended to be in effect until superseded by 
further action.
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    \2\ AD 2011-04-09, Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport 
Category Airplanes Equipped with Chemical Oxygen Generators 
Installed in a Lavatory (Docket No. FAA-2011-0157). 76 FR 12556, 
March 8, 2011.
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    As discussed in the preambles to the notice of proposed rulemaking 
(NPRM) \3\ and final rule adopting AD 2012-11-09, the FAA chartered an 
Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to identify methods of restoring 
oxygen in lavatories without creating security vulnerabilities. The FAA 
is in the process of developing rulemaking to adopt new standards for 
chemical oxygen generator system installations, based on the ARC 
recommendations, and has issued Policy Statement PS-ANM-25-04, Chemical 
Oxygen Generator Installations. Applicants may use the guidance in that 
policy statement for approval of chemical oxygen generator systems. 
Further, the FAA has issued AD 2012-11-09, which mandates installation 
of a supplemental oxygen system in all airplanes affected by AD 2011-
04-09.
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    \3\ 77 FR 11418, February 27, 2012.
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    The FAA is now establishing an expiration date for SFAR 111 that 
coincides with the compliance date of AD 2012-11-09. While we fully 
expect that the compliance time specified in the AD is sufficient to 
enable all affected operators to comply within that time, it is 
possible there will be circumstances beyond an operator's control under 
which the operator's compliance will be delayed. If the delay is 
adequately justified, per Sec.  39.19, the FAA may approve an 
alternative method of compliance (AMOC) or extension of compliance 
time. To avoid having to initiate additional rulemaking or to grant a 
separate exemption from the regulations referenced in SFAR 111, 
paragraph (e) would allow for an extension of the expiration of the 
SFAR corresponding to the duration of any such extension of compliance 
time.

Provisions of SFAR 111

    The applicability of the SFAR has been amended to conform to AD 
2012-11-09. The amended SFAR applies to persons required to comply with 
AD 2012-11-09, but only for airplanes on which the actions required by 
the AD have not yet been accomplished. The effect of this limitation is 
that, once those actions are accomplished on an airplane, it is no 
longer eligible for the relief or subject to the requirements provided 
by this SFAR, and the operator

[[Page 5708]]

is again required to comply with the applicable rules specified in 
paragraph (b) of the SFAR.
    Until compliance with AD 2012-11-09 is accomplished, the amended 
SFAR allows all air carriers that were required to comply with AD 2011-
04-09 to continue to operate without complying with specific 
regulations pertaining to supplemental oxygen systems. The amended SFAR 
also permits manufacturers and modifiers of transport category 
airplanes to deliver or return to service airplanes affected by the FAA 
directive with the same relief. In addition, the amended SFAR requires 
certain procedural and configuration enhancements to reduce the safety 
risk to passengers in the unlikely event that they should need oxygen 
while in a lavatory. Paragraph (c) of the amended SFAR requires that 
when a person described in paragraph (a) of this section has modified 
airplanes as required by Airworthiness Directive 2011-04-09, the 
affected airplanes must be returned to service with a note in the 
airplane maintenance records that the modification was done under the 
provisions of this SFAR.
    Paragraph (h) of AD 2011-04-09 also contains a provision for 
regulatory relief that is in effect until superseded by other 
rulemaking. AD 2012-11-09 superseded AD 2011-04-09 and contains a 
similar provision for superseding future rulemaking to allow for the 
progressive retrofit of the affected fleet. As such, the amended SFAR 
is only needed to allow for deliveries, modifications and other entries 
into service that might otherwise not be allowed due to noncompliance 
with supplemental oxygen requirements, until the compliance date of AD 
2012-11-09.

II. Background

    On March 8, 2011, the FAA published an interim final rule, request 
for comments (Amendment Nos. 21-94, 25-133, 121-354, 129-50; SFAR 111), 
on security considerations for lavatory oxygen systems in the Federal 
Register (76 FR 12550). The FAA had become aware of security 
vulnerability with certain types of oxygen systems installed inside the 
lavatories of most transport category airplanes. As a result, the FAA 
mandated that these oxygen systems be rendered inoperative until the 
vulnerability could be eliminated. However, by rendering the oxygen 
systems inoperative to comply with that mandatory action, operators 
were out of compliance with the requirements of Title 14, Code of 
Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 25.1447, 121.329, and 121.333.
    In addition to the fleet of in-service airplanes, newly 
manufactured airplanes and airplanes undergoing other modification also 
needed to render the oxygen systems in the lavatories inoperative. SFAR 
111 was needed so the affected airplanes could continue operating until 
the issue was resolved.
    The FAA then chartered an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to 
make recommendations regarding new standards for the oxygen system 
installation, as well as how to implement those standards. The ARC 
submitted its recommendations to the FAA, and the FAA intends to use 
those recommendations as the basis for new standards and new 
installation approvals.

III. Discussion of Public Comments and Final Rule

    The FAA received comments from ten commenters regarding SFAR 111. 
Those commenters were: Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems, Inc., The Boeing 
Company, and eight individual commenters. The FAA's disposition of 
those comments was published in the Federal Register on February 27, 
2012 (77 FR 11385.) The FAA determined that no revisions to SFAR 111 
were necessary based off comments received.

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, that 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:
    This final rule adds an expiration date to SFAR 111 that coincides 
with the compliance date for AD 2012-11-09.
    The FAA has, therefore, determined that 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, including small businesses, not-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 costs to small airline operators to install lavatory oxygen 
generating

[[Page 5709]]

systems have been addressed in the economic analysis associated with 
the rulemaking for AD-2012-11-09. This final rule ensures that the 
expiration date of SFAR 111 will coincide with the compliance date of 
AD-2012-11-09, but also allows for an extension of compliance time if 
the delay is adequately justified.
    Therefore as the FAA Acting Administrator, I certify that this 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 as 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, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has 
assessed the potential effect of this final rule and determined that it 
responds to a domestic safety objective and is not considered an 
unnecessary obstacle to international trade.

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. The FAA has determined that 
there is no new requirement for information collection associated with 
this final rule.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
reviewed the corresponding ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and 
has identified no differences with 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 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 
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 in 14 CFR Part 121

    Air carriers, Aircraft, Airmen, Aviation safety, Charter flights, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Safety, Transportation.

The Amendments

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration

[[Page 5710]]

amends chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 121--OPERATING REQUIREMENTS: DOMESTIC, FLAG, AND SUPPLEMENTAL 
OPERATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 121 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 1153, 40113, 40119, 41706, 44101, 
44701-44702, 44705, 44709-44711, 44713, 44716-44717, 44722, 44901, 
44903-44904, 44912, 46105.

Subpart DD--Special Federal Aviation Regulations

0
2. Revise Sec.  121.1500 to read as follows:


Sec.  121.1500  SFAR No. 111--Lavatory Oxygen Systems.

    (a) Applicability. This SFAR applies to the following persons:
    (1) All operators of transport category airplanes that are required 
to comply with AD 2012-11-09, but only for airplanes on which the 
actions required by that AD have not been accomplished.
    (2) Applicants for airworthiness certificates.
    (3) Holders of production certificates.
    (4) Applicants for type certificates, including changes to type 
certificates.
    (b) Regulatory relief. Except as noted in paragraph (d) of this 
section and contrary provisions of 14 CFR part 21, and 14 CFR 25.1447, 
119.51, 121.329, 121.333 and 129.13, notwithstanding, for the duration 
of this SFAR:
    (1) A person described in paragraph (a) of this section may conduct 
flight operations and add airplanes to operations specifications with 
disabled lavatory oxygen systems, modified in accordance with FAA 
Airworthiness Directive 2011-04-09, subject to the following 
limitations:
    (i) This relief is limited to regulatory compliance of lavatory 
oxygen systems.
    (ii) Within 30 days of March 29, 2013, all oxygen masks must be 
removed from affected lavatories, and the mask stowage location must be 
reclosed.
    (iii) Within 60 days of March 29, 2013 each affected operator must 
verify that crew emergency procedures specifically include a visual 
check of the lavatory as a priority when checking the cabin following 
any event where oxygen masks were deployed in the cabin.
    (2) An applicant for an airworthiness certificate may obtain an 
airworthiness certificate for airplanes to be operated by a person 
described in paragraph (a) of this section, although the airplane 
lavatory oxygen system is disabled.
    (3) A holder of a production certificate may apply for an 
airworthiness certificate or approval for airplanes to be operated by a 
person described in paragraph (a) of this section.
    (4) An applicant for a type certificate or change to a type 
certificate may obtain a design approval without showing compliance 
with Sec.  25.1447(c)(1) of this chapter for lavatory oxygen systems, 
in accordance with this SFAR.
    (5) Each person covered by paragraph (a) of this section may inform 
passengers that the lavatories are not equipped with supplemental 
oxygen.
    (c) Return to service documentation. When a person described in 
paragraph (a) of this section has modified airplanes as required by 
Airworthiness Directive 2011-04-09, the affected airplanes must be 
returned to service with a note in the airplane maintenance records 
that the modification was done under the provisions of this SFAR.
    (d) Expiration. This SFAR expires on September 10, 2015, except 
this SFAR will continue to apply to any airplane for which the FAA 
approves an extension of the AD compliance time for the duration of the 
extension.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 18, 2013.
Michael P. Huerta,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-01695 Filed 1-25-13; 8:45 am]
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