[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 211 (Wednesday, November 2, 1994)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-27153]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: November 2, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 94-NM-148-AD]

 

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A320 Series Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness 
directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A320 series 
airplanes. This proposal would require inspections to determine proper 
adjustment of the gap tolerances of the seat track joints at frame 64, 
and correction of discrepancies. This proposal would also require 
eventual repositioning or replacing the seat tracks on all affected 
airplanes, which would terminate the requirement of repetitively 
removing or repositioning the seat tracks. This proposal is prompted by 
in-service inspection reports, which have revealed that a gap between 
the forward and aft seat track at frame 64 could exceed the tolerance 
limit due to a method used on the assembly line to control the position 
of the seat track. The actions specified by the proposed AD are 
intended to ensure that the gap tolerances of the seat track joints do 
not exceed the tolerance limit and subsequently lead to separation of 
the passenger seats from the seat track under emergency landing 
conditions.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 29, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-103, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 94-NM-148-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., 
Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this 
location between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.
    The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be 
obtained from Airbus Industrie, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 
Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, 
Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, 
Washington.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Slotte, Aerospace Engineer, 
Standardization Branch, ANM-113, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 
1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (206) 
227-2797; fax (206) 227-1320.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the 
proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as 
they may desire. Communications shall identify the Rules Docket number 
and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All 
communications received on or before the closing date for comments, 
specified above, will be considered before taking action on the 
proposed rule. The proposals contained in this notice may be changed in 
light of the comments received.
    Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All 
comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing 
date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested 
persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with 
the substance of this proposal will be filed in the Rules Docket.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
submitted in response to this notice must submit a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket Number 94-NM-148-AD''. The postcard will be date stamped and 
returned to the commenter.
Availability of NPRMs

    Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request 
to the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-103, Attention: Rules 
Docket No. 94-NM-148-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 
98055-4056.

Discussion

    The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the 
airworthiness authority for France, recently notified the FAA that an 
unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A320 series 
airplanes. The DGAC advises that in-service inspection reports have 
revealed that the gap between the forward and aft seat track at frame 
64 (left- and right-hand) could be exceeding the 2.8 mm (.11 inch) 
tolerance limit. Investigation revealed that the cause has been 
attributed to the method used on the assembly line to control the 
position of the seat track. This method is inadequate in monitoring the 
gap between the forward and aft seat track of the passenger seats at 
frame 64. Incorrectly installed seat tracks, if not corrected, could 
result in a gap that exceeds the tolerance limit, and could 
subsequently lead to separation of the passenger seats from the seat 
track under emergency landing conditions.
    Airbus has issued All Operator Telex (AOT) 53-01, dated August 27, 
1992, which describes procedures for:
    1. Performing a one-time visual inspection to determine if a seat 
fitting having an x-plunger behind a z-stud is installed at the seat 
track joint at frame 64;
    2. Measuring the gap between the forward and aft seat tracks, if 
any seat fitting having an x-plunger is installed;
    3. Applying sealing material at the seat tracks, if the gap is less 
than or equal to 2.8 mm; and
    4. Removing or repositioning the seat, if the gap is greater than 
2.8 mm.
    Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A320-53-1088, dated May 10, 
1993, which describes procedures for repositioning or replacing the 
seat tracks.
    The DGAC classified the AOT and service bulletin as mandatory and 
issued French Airworthiness Directive 93-081-042(B), dated May 26, 
1993, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes 
in France.
    This airplane model is manufactured in France and is type 
certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 
section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and 
the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this 
bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed 
of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of 
the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD 
action is necessary for products of this type design that are 
certificated for operation in the United States.
    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered 
in the United States, the proposed AD would require a one-time visual 
inspection to determine if a seat fitting having an x-plunger behind a 
z-stud is installed at the seat track joint at frame 64, and correction 
of discrepancies. The proposed AD would also require repositioning or 
replacing the seat tracks, which would terminate the requirement of 
repetitively removing or repositioning the seat tracks. The actions 
would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service 
bulletin described previously. If any cabin equipment other than 
passenger seats is installed at frame 64, the correction would be 
required to be accomplished in accordance with a method approved by the 
FAA.
    The FAA estimates that 85 airplanes of U.S. registry would be 
affected by this proposed AD.
    It would take approximately 7 work hours per airplane to accomplish 
the proposed inspection at an average labor rate is $55 per work hour. 
Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the inspection 
proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $32,725, or 
$385 per airplane.
    It would take approximately 54 work hours per airplane to 
accomplish the proposed modification at an average labor rate of $55 
per work hour. Required parts would be supplied by the manufacturer at 
no cost to the operators. Based on these figures, the total impact of 
the modification proposed by this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to 
be $252,450, or $2,970.
    Based on above figures, the total cost impact of the proposed 
inspection and modification on U.S. operators is estimated to be 
$285,175, or $3,355/per airplane.
    The total cost impact figure discussed above is based on 
assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed 
requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish 
those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted.
    The regulations proposed herein would not have substantial direct 
effects on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in 
accordance with Executive Order 12612, it is determined that this 
proposal would not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant 
the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed 
regulation (1) is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under 
Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ``significant rule'' under the DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); 
and (3) if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact, 
positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under 
the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. A copy of the draft 
regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the 
Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules 
Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 
part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as 
follows:

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES-

    1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. App. 1354(a), 1421 and 1423; 49 U.S.C. 
106(g); and 14 CFR 11.89.


Sec. 39.13  [Amended]

    2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new 
airworthiness directive:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 94-NM-148-AD.

    Applicability: Model A320 series airplanes; manufacturer's 
serial numbers 002 through 008 inclusive, 010 through 014 inclusive, 
016 through 078 inclusive, 080 through 122 inclusive, 124 through 
179 inclusive, 183 through 194 inclusive, 196 through 228 inclusive, 
230 through 251 inclusive, and 253 through 255 inclusive; 
certificated in any category.
    Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished 
previously.
    To prevent separation of the passenger seats from the seat track 
during an emergency landing, accomplish the following:
    (a) Within 450 flight cycles after the effective date of this 
AD, perform a visual inspection to determine if a seat fitting 
having an x-plunger behind a z-stud is installed at the seat track 
joint at frame 64, in accordance with Airbus All Operator Telex 
(AOT) 53-01, dated August 27, 1992.
    (b) If such a seat fitting is installed, prior to further 
flight, measure the gap between the forward and aft seat tracks in 
accordance with the Airbus AOT 53-01, dated August 27, 1992.
    (1) If the gap is less than or equal to 2.8 mm, prior to further 
flight, apply sealing material at the seat tracks, in accordance 
with the AOT.
    (2) If the gap is greater than 2.8 mm, prior to further flight, 
accomplish the requirements of either paragraph (b)(2)(i) or 
(b)(2)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.
    (i) For airplanes equipped with passenger seats at frame 64: 
Accomplish either paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) or (b)(2)(i)(B) of this AD:
    (A) Remove or reposition the seat in accordance with Airbus AOT 
53-01, dated August 27, 1992. Thereafter, repeat the removal or 
repositioning whenever the cabin configuration is changed until the 
accomplishment of paragraph (c) of this AD. Or
    (B) Reposition or replace the seat tracks in accordance with 
Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1088, dated May 10, 1993. Such 
repositioning or replacement constitutes terminating action for the 
requirements of this AD.
    (ii) For airplanes equipped with equipment other than passenger 
seats at frame 64: Prior to further flight, correct the discrepancy 
in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, Standardization 
Branch, ANM-113, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate.
    (c) Within 30 months after the effective date of this AD, 
reposition or replace the seat tracks, in accordance with Airbus 
Service Bulletin A320-53-1088, dated May 10, 1993. Accomplishment of 
this repositioning or replacement constitutes terminating action for 
the requirements of this AD.
    (d) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the 
compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be 
used if approved by the Manager, Standardization Branch, ANM-113, 
FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate. Operators shall submit their 
requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, 
who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, 
Standardization Branch, ANM-113.

    Note: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Standardization Branch, ANM-113.

    (e) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 
Secs. 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 
21.197 and 21.199) to operate the airplane to a location where the 
requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 27, 1994.
Darrell M. Pederson,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 94-27153 Filed 11-1-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U