[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 113 (Thursday, June 12, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 33669-33673]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13663]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA-2014-0248; Special Conditions No. 25-553-SC]


Special Conditions: Gulfstream Model GVI Airplanes; Airbag-
Equipped Shoulder Belt

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: These special conditions are issued for the Gulfstream Model 
GVI airplane. This airplane, as modified by Gulfstream, will have a 
novel or unusual design feature associated with airbag-equipped 
shoulder belts. 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 June 12, 2014. 
We must receive your comments by July 28, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2014-0248 
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 9 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: Dan Jacquet, Airframe and Cabin 
Safety, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 
425-227-2676; facsimile 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA has determined that notice of, and 
opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are

[[Page 33670]]

impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay 
issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected 
airplane. 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 by the closing date for 
comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments 
we receive.

Background

    On October 23, 2012, Gulfstream applied for a supplemental type 
certificate for airbag-equipped shoulder belts in the Gulfstream Model 
GVI airplane. The Gulfstream Model GVI is a two-engine jet transport 
airplane with an executive cabin interior. The maximum takeoff weight 
is 99,600 pounds, with a maximum passenger capacity of 19.

Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of Sec.  21.101 Gulfstream must show that the 
GVI, as changed, continues to meet the applicable provisions of the 
regulations incorporated by reference in type certificate no. T00015AT 
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 
T00015AT are as follows:
    The certification basis is 14 CFR part 25, Airworthiness Standards: 
Transport Category Airplanes, effective February 1, 1965, including 
Amendments 25-1 through 25-120 and 25-122, 25-124, and 25-132.
    Amendment 25-118 was not published and therefore does not apply.
    Optional Design Regulations:
     The Model GVI has been shown to comply with the 
requirements for ditching: Sec.  25.801, 25.563, 25.807(e), and 
25.1585(a). When the operating rules require emergency-ditching 
equipment, compliance with Sec. Sec.  25.1411 and 25.1415 must be 
shown. Gulfstream Report GVI-GER-1709, titled ``Design Requirements 
Document for Ditching Equipment,'' provides an acceptable means for 
showing compliance with Sec. Sec.  25.1411 and 25.1415.
     The Model GVI is approved for flight into known icing 
conditions and has demonstrated compliance to Sec.  25.1419.
    Exemption No. 9761, Sec. Sec.  25.562(a) and 25.785(b) for side-
facing divans also applies.
    The certification basis includes certain special conditions, 
exemptions, and equivalent-safety findings that are not relevant to 
these proposed special conditions.
    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness 
regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or 
appropriate safety standards for the GVI 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 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 the other model.
    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special 
conditions, the GVI 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 Gulfstream model GVI will incorporate the following novel or 
unusual design feature:
    Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation is proposing to install inflatable 
shoulder straps on side-facing divans to reduce the potential for head 
injury in the event of an accident. The inflatable shoulder strap works 
similarly to an automotive airbag except that the airbag is integrated 
with the shoulder strap of the restraint system.
    Part 25 states the performance criteria for head injury protection 
in objective terms. However, none of these criteria are adequate to 
address the specific issues raised concerning seats with inflatable 
shoulder straps. The FAA has therefore determined that, in addition to 
the requirements of part 25, special conditions are needed to address 
requirements particular to installation of seats with inflatable 
shoulder straps.
    Accordingly, in addition to the passenger-injury criteria specified 
in Sec.  25.785, these special conditions are adopted for Gulfstream 
GVI airplanes equipped with inflatable shoulder straps.

Discussion

    From the standpoint of a passenger-safety system, the inflatable 
shoulder belt is unique in that it is both an active and entirely 
autonomous device. While the automotive industry has good experience 
with airbags, the conditions of use and reliance on the inflatable 
shoulder belt as the sole means of injury protection are quite 
different. In automobile installations, the airbag is a supplemental 
system and works in conjunction with an upper torso restraint. In 
addition, the crash event is more definable and of typically shorter 
duration, which can simplify the activation logic. The airplane 
operating environment is also quite different from automobiles, and 
includes the potential for greater wear and tear and unanticipated 
abuse conditions (due to galley loading, passenger baggage, etc.). 
Airplanes also operate where exposure to high-intensity electromagnetic 
fields could affect the activation system.
    The inflatable shoulder belt has two potential advantages over 
other means of head-impact protection. First, it can provide 
significantly greater protection than would be expected with energy-
absorbing pads, and second, it can provide essentially equivalent 
protection for occupants of all stature. These are significant 
advantages from a safety standpoint, because such devices will likely 
provide a level of safety that exceeds the minimum standards of the 
federal aviation regulations. Conversely, inflatable shoulder belts in 
general are active systems and must be relied upon to activate properly 
when needed, as opposed to an energy-absorbing pad or upper-torso 
restraint that is passive and always available. Therefore, the 
potential advantages must be balanced against this and other potential 
disadvantages in developing standards for this design feature.
    The FAA has considered the installation of inflatable shoulder 
belts to have two primary safety concerns: First, that they perform 
properly under foreseeable operating conditions, and second, that they 
do not perform in a manner or at such times as would constitute a 
hazard to the airplane or occupants. This latter point has the 
potential to be the more rigorous of the

[[Page 33671]]

requirements, owing to the active nature of the system.
    The inflatable shoulder belt will rely on electronic sensors for 
signaling, and a stored gas canister for inflation. These same devices 
could be susceptible to inadvertent activation, causing deployment in a 
potentially unsafe manner. The consequence of inadvertent deployment, 
as well as failure to deploy, must be considered in establishing the 
reliability of the system. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation must 
substantiate that the effects of an inadvertent deployment in flight 
either would not cause injuries to occupants, or that such 
deployment(s) meet the requirement of Sec.  25.1309(b). The effect of 
an inadvertent deployment on a passenger or crewmember that might be 
positioned close to the inflatable shoulder belt should also be 
considered. The person could be either standing or sitting. A minimum 
reliability level must be established for this case, depending upon the 
consequences, even if the effect on the airplane is negligible.
    The potential for an inadvertent deployment could be increased as a 
result of condition in service. The installation must take into account 
wear and tear so that the likelihood of an inadvertent deployment is 
not increased to an unacceptable level. In this context, an appropriate 
inspection interval and self-test capability are considered necessary. 
Other outside influences are lightning and high-intensity radiated 
fields (HIRF). Existing HIRF special conditions for the model GVI are 
applicable.
    Additionally, the inflatable shoulder-belt installation should be 
protected from the effects of fire, so that an additional hazard is not 
created by, for example, a rupture of the pyrotechnic squib.
    To be an effective safety system, the inflatable shoulder belt must 
function properly and must not introduce any additional hazards to 
occupants as a result of its functioning. In several ways, the 
inflatable shoulder belt differs from traditional occupant-protection 
systems and requires special conditions to ensure adequate performance.
    Because the inflatable shoulder belt is essentially a single-use 
device, this potentially could deploy under crash conditions that are 
not sufficiently so severe as to require head-injury protection from 
the inflatable shoulder belt. Because an actual crash is frequently 
composed of a series of impacts before the airplane comes to rest, this 
could render the inflatable shoulder belt useless if a larger impact 
follows the initial impact. The situation does not exist with energy-
absorbing pads or upper-torso restraints, which tend to provide 
continuous protection regardless of severity or number of impacts in a 
crash event. Therefore, the inflatable shoulder-belt installation 
should provide protection, when it is required, by not expending its 
protection during a less-severe impact. It is also possible to have 
several large impact events during the course of a crash, but we will 
not require the inflatable shoulder belt to provide protection for 
multiple impacts.
    Because each occupant's restraint system provides protection for 
that occupant only, the installation must address seats that are 
unoccupied. It will be necessary to show that the required protection 
is provided for each occupant regardless of the number of occupied 
seats, and considering that unoccupied seats may have shoulder belts 
that are active.
    The inflatable shoulder belts should be effective for a wide range 
of occupants. The FAA has historically considered the range from the 
5th-percentile female to the 95th-percentile male as the range of 
occupants that must be taken into account. In this case, the FAA is 
proposing consideration of a broader range of occupants, due to the 
nature of shoulder-belt installation and their close proximity to the 
occupant. In a similar vein, these persons could have assumed the brace 
position for those accidents where an impact is anticipated. Test data 
indicate that occupants in the brace position do not require 
supplemental protection, so it would not be necessary to show that the 
inflatable shoulder belts will enhance the brace position. However, the 
inflatable shoulder belts must not introduce a hazard in the case of 
deploying into the seated, braced occupant.
    Another area of concern is the use of seats, so equipped, by 
children, whether lap-held, in approved child safety seats, or 
occupying the seat directly. Similarly, if the seat is occupied by a 
pregnant woman, the installation should address such usage either by 
demonstrating that it will function properly, or by adding appropriate 
limitation on usage.
    Because the inflatable shoulder belt will be electrically powered, 
there is the possibility that the system could fail due to a separation 
in the fuselage. And because this system is intended as a crash/post-
crash protection means, failure to deploy due to fuselage separation is 
not acceptable. As with emergency lighting, the system should function 
properly if such a separation occurs at any point in the fuselage. As 
required by Sec.  25.1353(a), operation of the existing airplane 
electrical equipment should not adversely impact the function of the 
inflatable lapbelt under all foreseeable conditions.
    The inflatable lapbelt is likely to have a large volume 
displacement. Likewise, the inflated bag could potentially impede 
egress of passengers. The bag deflates to absorb energy, so it is 
likely that an inflatable lapbelt would be deflated at the time that 
persons would be trying to leave their seats. Nonetheless, we consider 
it appropriate to specify a time interval after which the inflatable 
lapbelt may not impede rapid exit (egress) from the airplane. Ten 
seconds has been deemed to be a reasonable time, as this corresponds to 
the maximum time allowed for an exit to be openable (Sec.  25.809).
    In actuality, it is unlikely that an exit would be prepared this 
quickly in an accident severe enough to warrant deployment of the 
inflatable lapbelt, and the inflatable lapbelt will likely deflate much 
sooner than ten seconds.
    This potential impediment to rapid egress is even more critical at 
the seats installed in the emergency-exit rows. Section 25.813 requires 
passenger access to the exit, from the main aisle, in the form of an 
unobstructed passageway, with no interference in opening the exit. The 
restraint system must not create an impediment to the access to, and 
the opening of, the exit. In some cases, the passenger, rather than a 
flightcrew member, opens an exit such as a Type III overwing hatch. 
These lap belts should be evaluated in the exit row under existing 
regulations (Sec. Sec.  25.809 and 25.813) and guidance material. The 
inflatable lap belts must also be evaluated in post-crash conditions, 
and should be evaluated using representative restraint systems in the 
bag-deployed condition.
    This evaluation would include reviewing the access to, and opening 
of, the exit, specifically for obstructions in the egress path, and any 
interference in opening the exit. Each unique interior configuration 
must be considered.
    If the restraint creates any obstruction or interference, it is 
likely that it could impede the rapid egress from the airplane. 
Project-specific guidance is likely necessary if these restraint 
systems are installed at exit-door rows.
    Part I of appendix F to part 25 specifies the flammability 
requirements for interior materials and components. Appendix F has no 
reference to inflatable restraint systems because such devices did not 
exist at the time the flammability requirements were written. The 
existing requirements are based on both material types and use, and 
have been specified in light of the state-of-

[[Page 33672]]

the-art materials available to perform a given function. In the absence 
of a specific reference, the default requirement would be for the type 
of material used in constructing the inflatable restraint, which is a 
fabric in this case. However, in writing special conditions, the FAA 
must also consider the use of the material, and whether the default 
requirement is appropriate. In this case, the specialized function of 
the inflatable shoulder belt means that highly specialized materials 
are needed. The standard normally applied to fabrics is a 12-second 
vertical ignition test. However, materials that meet this standard do 
not perform adequately as inflatable shoulder belts. Because the safety 
benefit of the inflatable shoulder belt is significant, the 
flammability standard appropriate for these devices should not screen 
out suitable materials, thereby effectively eliminating use of the 
inflatable shoulder belt based on its flammability performance. At this 
time, the 2.5-inch-per-minute horizontal test is considered to provide 
that balance. As the technology in materials progresses (which is 
expected), the FAA may change this standard in subsequent special 
conditions to account for improved materials.
    The following special conditions can be characterized as addressing 
either the safety performance of the system or the system's integrity 
against inadvertent activation. Because a crash requiring use of the 
inflatable shoulder belt is a relatively rare event, and because the 
consequences of an inadvertent activation are potentially quite severe, 
these later requirements are probably more rigorous from a design 
standpoint.
    Note that, although these special conditions are applicable to the 
inflatable shoulder belts as installed, compliance with these special 
conditions is not an installation approval. While these special 
conditions relate to each such system installed, the overall 
installation approval is a separate finding and must consider the 
combined effects of all such systems installed.
    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.

Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the 
Gulfstream Model GVI airplane. Should Gulfstream apply at a later date 
for a supplemental type certificate to modify any other model included 
on type certificate no. T00015AT to incorporate the same novel or 
unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that 
model as well.

Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features 
on one model of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability and 
affects only the applicant who applied to the FAA for approval of these 
features on the airplane.
    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, which is 
imminent, 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 Gulfstream Model GVI airplanes 
modified by Gulfstream.
    In addition to the requirements specified in exemption no. 9761, 
the following special conditions are proposed as part of the type 
certification basis for Gulfstream Model GVI airplanes equipped with an 
airbag system in the shoulder belt.
    1. For seats with an airbag system in the shoulder belt, show that 
the airbag system in the shoulder belt will deploy and provide 
protection under crash conditions where it is necessary to prevent 
serious injury. The means of protection must take into consideration a 
range of stature from a 2-year-old child to a 95th-percentile male. The 
airbag system in the shoulder belt must provide a consistent approach 
to energy absorption throughout that range of occupants. When the seat 
system includes an airbag system, that system must be included in each 
of the certification tests as it would be installed in the airplane. In 
addition, the following situations must be considered, wherein the seat 
occupant is:

a. Holding an infant
b. a pregnant woman
c. a child in a child-restraint device
d. a child not using a child-restraint device

    2. The airbag system in the shoulder belt must provide adequate 
protection for each occupant regardless of the number of occupants of 
the seat assembly, considering that unoccupied seats may have an active 
airbag system in the shoulder belt.
    3. The design must prevent the airbag system in the shoulder belt 
from being either incorrectly buckled or incorrectly installed, such 
that the airbag system in the shoulder belt would not properly deploy. 
Alternatively, it must be shown that such deployment is not hazardous 
to the occupant, and will provide the required injury protection.
    4. It must be shown that the airbag system in the shoulder belt is 
not susceptible to inadvertent deployment as a result of wear and tear, 
or inertial loads resulting from in-flight or ground maneuvers 
(including gusts and hard landings), and other operating and 
environmental conditions (vibrations, moisture, etc.) likely to occur 
in service.
    5. Deployment of the airbag system in the shoulder belt must not 
injure the seated occupant, including injuries that could impede rapid 
egress. This assessment should include an occupant whose belt is 
loosely fastened.
    6. It must be shown that inadvertent deployment of the airbag 
system in the shoulder belt, during the most critical part of the 
flight, will either meet the requirement of Sec.  25.1309(b) or not 
cause a hazard to the airplane or its occupants.
    7. It must be shown that the airbag system in the shoulder belt 
will not impede rapid egress of occupants 10 seconds after airbag 
deployment.
    8. The airbag system must be protected from lightning and high-
intensity radiated fields (HIRF). The threats to the airplane specified 
in existing regulations regarding lighting, Sec.  25.1316, and HIRF, 
Sec.  25.1317, are incorporated by reference for the purpose of 
measuring lightning and HIRF protection.
    9. The airbag system in the shoulder belt must function properly 
after loss of normal airplane electrical power, and after a transverse 
separation of the fuselage at the most critical location. A separation 
at the location of the airbag

[[Page 33673]]

system in the shoulder belt does not have to be considered.
    10. It must be shown that the airbag system in the shoulder belt 
will not release hazardous quantities of gas or particulate matter into 
the cabin.
    11. The airbag system in the shoulder-belt installation must be 
protected from the effects of fire such that no hazard to occupants 
will result.
    12. A means must be available for a crewmember to verify the 
integrity of the airbag system in the shoulder-belt activation system 
prior to each flight, or it must be demonstrated to reliably operate 
between inspection intervals. The FAA considers that the loss of the 
airbag-system deployment function alone (i.e., independent of the 
conditional event that requires the airbag-system deployment) is a 
major-failure condition.
    13. The inflatable material may not have an average burn rate of 
greater than 2.5 inches per minute when tested, using the horizontal 
flammability test defined in part 25, appendix F, part I, paragraph 
(b)(5).
    14. The airbag system in the shoulder belt, once deployed, must not 
adversely affect the emergency-lighting system (i.e., block floor 
proximity lights to the extent that the lights no longer meet their 
intended function).

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on May 12, 2014.
Jeffrey E. Duven,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-13663 Filed 6-11-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P