[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 41 (Monday, March 3, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11679-11681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04559]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 41 / Monday, March 3, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 11679]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA-2014-0078; Special Conditions No. 25-543-SC]


Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Model ERJ-170 Airplanes; Seats 
With Large, Non-Traditional, Non-Metallic Panels

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: These special conditions are issued for Embraer Model ERJ-170 
airplanes. This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature 
associated with interior arrangements that include passenger seats that 
incorporate non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of the 
traditional metal frame covered by fabric. 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 3, 2014. 
We must receive your comments by April 17, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, identified by docket number FAA-2014-0078, 
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://www.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: Jayson Claar, FAA, Airframe/Cabin 
Safety Branch, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington, 98057-
3356; telephone 425-227-2194; facsimile 425-227-1232.

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

Comments Invited

    We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by 
sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments 
reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.
    We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing 
date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the 
comments we receive.

Background

    On July 2, 2013, Embraer applied for a change to Type Certificate 
No. A57NM to include seats with large, non-traditional, non-metallic 
panels in Embraer Model ERJ-170 airplanes. The Embraer ERJ-170 
airplanes are low-wing, conventional tail, twin turbofan, transport-
category airplanes. They can seat up to 88 passengers.
    The applicable regulations to airplanes currently approved under 
Type Certificate No. A57NM do not require seats to meet the more-
stringent flammability standards required of large, non-metallic panels 
in the cabin interior. At the time the applicable rules were written, 
seats were designed with a metal frame covered by fabric, not with 
large, non-metallic panels. Seats also met the then-recently adopted 
standards for flammability of seat cushions. With the seat design being 
mostly fabric and metal, their contribution to a fire in the cabin had 
been minimized and was not considered a threat. For these reasons, 
seats did not need to be tested to heat-release and smoke-emission 
requirements.
    Seat designs have now evolved to occasionally include large, non-
traditional, non-metallic panels. Taken in total, the surface area of 
these panels is on the same order as the sidewall and overhead-stowage-
bin interior panels. To provide the level of passenger protection 
established by the airworthiness standards, these large, non-
traditional, non-metallic panels in the cabin must meet the standards 
of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 25, Appendix F, 
parts IV and V, heat-release and smoke-emission requirements.

[[Page 11680]]

Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of Sec.  21.101, Embraer must show that the 
ERJ-170, as changed, continues to meet the applicable provisions of the 
regulations incorporated by reference in A57NM or the applicable 
regulations in effect on the date of application for the change. The 
regulations incorporated by reference in the type certificate are 
commonly referred to as the ``original type-certification basis.'' The 
regulations incorporated by reference in A57NM are as follows:
    14 CFR part 25, Amdts. 25-1 through 25-101 in entirety. In 
addition, the certification basis includes certain special conditions, 
exemptions, or later amended sections of the applicable part that are 
not relevant to these special conditions.
    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness 
regulations (e.g., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or 
appropriate safety standards for Embraer Model ERJ-170 airplanes 
because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are 
prescribed under the provisions of Sec.  21.16.
    Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which 
they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended 
later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or 
unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on 
the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or 
unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the 
other model.
    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special 
conditions, ERJ-170 airplanes must comply with the fuel-vent and 
exhaust-emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise-
certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36.
    The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in 
accordance with Sec.  11.38, and they become part of the type-
certification basis under Sec.  21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The ERJ-170 will incorporate the following novel or unusual design 
features:
    These models offer interior arrangements that include passenger 
seats that incorporate large, non-traditional, non-metallic panels in 
lieu of the traditional metal frame covered by fabric. The flammability 
properties of these panels have been shown to significantly affect the 
survivability of cabin occupants in the event of fire. These seats are 
considered a novel design for transport-category airplanes that include 
Amendment 25-61 and Amendment 25-66 in the certification basis, and 
were not considered when those airworthiness standards were 
established.
    The existing regulations do not provide adequate or appropriate 
safety standards for seat designs that incorporate large, non-
traditional, non-metallic panels in their designs. To provide a level 
of safety that is equivalent to that afforded to the balance of the 
cabin, additional airworthiness standards, in the form of special 
conditions, are necessary. These special conditions supplement Sec.  
25.853. The requirements contained in these special conditions consist 
of applying the identical test conditions, required of all other large 
panels in the cabin, to seats with large, non-traditional, non-metallic 
panels.

Discussion

    In the early 1980s, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 
conducted extensive research on the effects of post-crash flammability 
in the passenger cabin. As a result of this research and service 
experience, the FAA adopted new standards for interior surfaces 
associated with larger surface-area parts. Specifically, the rules 
require measurement of heat release and smoke emission (part 25, 
Appendix F, parts IV and V) for the affected parts. Heat release has 
been shown to have a direct correlation to post-crash fire-survival 
time. The materials that comply with the standards (e.g., Sec.  25.853, 
``Compartment Interiors,'' as amended by Amendments 25-61 and 25-66) 
were found to extend survival time by approximately two minutes over 
materials that do not comply.
    At the time Amendment 25-61 was written, the potential application 
of the requirement to seats was explored. The seat frame itself was not 
a concern because it was primarily made of aluminum and incorporated 
only small amounts of non-metallic materials (for example, a food-tray 
table and armrest closeout). The FAA determined that the overall effect 
on survivability was negligible, whether or not these panels met the 
heat-release and smoke-emission requirements. The requirements 
therefore did not address seats, and the preambles to both Notice of 
Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) 85-10 and the final rule (Amendment 25-61) 
specifically note that they were excluded ``. . . because the recently 
adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions will greatly 
inhibit involvement of the seats'' in their post-crash fire.
    In the late 1990s, when it became clear that seat designs were 
evolving to include large non-metallic panels with surface area that 
would impact survivability during a cabin-fire event compared to 
partitions or galleys, the FAA issued Policy Memorandum 97-112-39. This 
memo noted that large surface-area panels must comply with heat-release 
and smoke-emission requirements, even if they were attached to a seat. 
If the FAA had not issued such policy, seat designs would have been an 
exception to the airworthiness standards, which could result in an 
unacceptable decrease in survivability during a cabin-fire event.

Definition of ``Large, Non-Traditional, Non-Metallic Panel''

    A large, non-traditional panel, in this case, is defined as a panel 
with exposed-surface areas greater than 1.5 square feet installed per 
seat place. The panel may consist of either a single component or 
multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of non-traditional 
areas include, but are not limited to, seat backs, bottoms and leg/foot 
rests, kick panels, back shells, and associated furniture. Examples of 
traditional, exempted areas include, but are not limited to, arm caps, 
armrest close-outs, and items such as end-bays and center consoles, 
food trays, video monitors, and shrouds.

Clarification of ``Exposed''

    ``Exposed'' is considered to include those panels directly exposed 
to the passenger cabin in the traditional sense, plus those panels 
enveloped, such as by a dress cover. Traditional fabrics or leathers 
currently used on seats are excluded from the special conditions. These 
materials must still comply with Sec.  25.853(a) and (c) if used as a 
covering for a seat cushion, or Sec.  25.853(a) if installed elsewhere 
on the seat. Large, non-metallic panels covered with traditional 
fabrics or leathers will be tested without their coverings or covering 
attachments.

Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to 
Embraer Model ERJ-170 airplanes. Should Embraer apply at a later date 
for a change to the type certificate to include another model 
incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special 
conditions would apply to that model as well.

[[Page 11681]]

Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features 
on one model of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability.
    The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the 
notice and comment period in several prior instances and has been 
derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is 
unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change 
from the substance contained herein. Therefore, because a delay would 
significantly affect the certification of the airplane, the FAA has 
determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and 
impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special 
conditions upon publication in the Federal Register. 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 25

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

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

The Special Conditions

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of 
the type-certification basis for Embraer Model ERJ-170 airplanes:
    1. Compliance with part 25, Appendix F, parts IV and V, heat 
release and smoke emission, is required for seats that incorporate 
large, non-traditional, non-metallic panels that may either be a single 
component or multiple components in a concentrated area in their 
design.
    2. The applicant may designate up to and including 1.5 square feet 
of non-traditional, non-metallic panel material per seat place that 
does not have to comply with No. 1. A triple seat assembly may have a 
total of 4.5 square feet excluded on any portion of the assembly (e.g., 
outboard seat place 1 sq. ft., middle 1 sq. ft., and inboard 2.5 sq. 
ft.)
    3. Seats need not meet the test requirements of Title 14 CFR part 
25 Appendix F, parts IV and V when installed in compartments that are 
not otherwise required to meet these requirements. Examples include:
    a. Airplanes with passenger capacities of 19 or fewer.
    b. Airplanes that do not have smoke emission and heat release in 
their certification basis and do not need to comply with the 
requirements of Sec.  121.312.
    c. Airplanes exempted from heat-release and smoke-emission 
requirements.
    4. Only airplanes associated with new-seat certification programs 
approved after the effective date of these special conditions will be 
affected by the requirements in these special conditions. Previously 
certificated interiors on the existing airplane fleet and follow-on 
deliveries of airplanes with previously certificated interiors are not 
affected.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 21, 2014.
John P. Piccola, Jr.,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04559 Filed 2-28-14; 8:45 am]
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