[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 138 (Friday, July 18, 1997)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38491-38493]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-18935]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 96-NM-59-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Lockheed Model L-1011 Series Airplanes 
Equipped With Rolls Royce Model RB211-22B Engines

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes the supersedure of an existing 
airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Lockheed Model L-
1011 series airplanes, that currently requires various modifications 
and corrective actions to prevent a potential fire hazard caused by 
heat damage to the flex fuel feed line from an undetected gearbox fire. 
In lieu of the various modifications and corrective actions, that AD 
also provides for an optional terminating action (i.e., installation of 
a vent air tube in the gear compartment and thickened gearbox housings) 
for another existing AD. For airplanes on which that optional 
terminating action has been accomplished, this action would require 
accomplishment of the various modifications and corrective actions. 
This proposal is prompted by a report indicating that, due to bearing 
failure, an in-flight fire occurred on an airplane on which a thickened 
gearbox housing was installed. The actions specified by the proposed AD 
are intended to detect and correct bearing failure, which could lead to 
a fire in the gearbox.

DATES: Comments must be received by August 25, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-103, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 96-NM-59-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 Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Support Company, Field 
Support Department, Dept. 693, Zone 0755, 2251 Lake Park Drive, Smyrna, 
Georgia 30080. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport 
Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at 
the FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, Campus Building, 1701 
Columbia Avenue, Suite 2-160, College Park, Georgia.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas B. Peters, Aerospace Engineer, 
Systems and Flight Test Branch, ACE-116A, FAA, Small Airplane 
Directorate, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, Campus Building, 
1701 Columbia Avenue, Suite 2-160, College Park, Georgia 30337-2748; 
telephone (404) 305-7367; fax (404) 305-7348.

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,

[[Page 38492]]

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 96-NM-59-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. 96-NM-59-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 
98055-4056.

Discussion

    On March 25, 1987, the FAA issued AD 87-07-10, amendment 39-5597 
(52 FR 10736, April 3, 1987), applicable to certain Lockheed Model L-
1011 series airplanes, equipped with Rolls Royce Model RB211-22B 
engines. That AD currently requires various modifications and 
corrective actions that constitute terminating action for AD 85-09-03, 
amendment 39-5056 (50 FR 18553, May 3, 1985). (These various 
modifications include installation of: a fire detector segment, a 
modified gearbox breather duct, and a vent air tube in the gear 
compartment.) In lieu of the various modifications and corrective 
actions, that AD also provides for an optional terminating action 
(i.e., installation of a vent air tube in the gear compartment and 
installation of thickened gearbox housings) for the requirements of AD 
85-09-03. AD 87-07-10 was prompted by reports of gearbox fires, which 
were caused by failed bearings. The requirements of that AD are 
intended to prevent a potential fire hazard, as a result of heat damage 
to the flex fuel feed line from an undetected gearbox fire.
    At the time of issuance of AD 87-07-10, the FAA had not received 
any reports of bearing failure on Lockheed Model L-1011 series 
airplanes equipped with Rolls Royce Model RB211-524 series engines on 
which thickened gearbox housings were installed. Since Rolls Royce 
Model RB211-22B engines are similar in design to Model RB211-524 series 
engines, the FAA determined that installation of thickened housings on 
Model RB211-22B engines would prevent bearing failure that could cause 
a gearbox fire. Therefore, the FAA included the installation of such 
housings as optional terminating action in AD 87-07-10.

Actions Since Issuance of Previous AD

    Since the issuance of that AD, the FAA has received a report 
indicating that an in-flight fire occurred in a thickened gearbox 
housing on a Rolls Royce Model RB211-524 series engine installed on a 
Lockheed Model L-1011 series airplane. (This housing was installed on 
Model L-1011 series airplanes equipped with Rolls Royce Model RB211-22B 
engines as an optional terminating action of AD 87-07-10.) In light of 
this report, the FAA has determined that the optional terminating 
action of AD 87-07-10 does not adequately preclude bearing failure, as 
previously believed. Bearing failure, if not detected and corrected, 
could lead to a fire in the gearbox.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or develop on other products of this same type design, the 
proposed AD would supersede AD 87-07-10 to continue to require various 
modifications and corrective actions, which constitute terminating 
action for AD 85-09-03. For airplanes on which the optional terminating 
action specified in AD 87-07-10 has been accomplished, this AD would 
add a requirement to accomplish the various modifications and 
corrective actions. The actions would be required to be accomplished in 
accordance with the service bulletins described previously in AD 87-07-
10.

Other Relevant Rulemaking

    The FAA has previously issued AD 94-03-10, amendment 39-8817 (59 FR 
6535, February 11, 1994), which is applicable to certain Lockheed Model 
L-1011 series airplanes equipped with Rolls Royce Model RB211-524 
series engines. That AD requires modification of the high speed gearbox 
of the engines. Operators should note that this proposed AD would not 
affect the current requirements of AD 94-03-10.

Cost Impact

    There are approximately 130 Lockheed Model L-1011 series airplanes 
equipped with Rolls Royce Model RB211-22B engines of the affected 
design in the worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 76 airplanes of 
U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.
    The proposed installation of a fire detector segment would take 
approximately 3 work hours per engine (3 engines per airplane) to 
accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required 
parts for Walter-Kidde systems would cost approximately $2,100 per 
engine. Required parts for Graviner systems would cost approximately 
$8,100 per engine. Based on these figures, the cost impact on U.S. 
operators of the installation proposed by this AD is estimated to be 
$6,840 per airplane (for Walter-Kidde systems), or $24,840 per airplane 
(for Graviner systems).
    The proposed modification would take approximately 6 work hours per 
airplane to accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. 
Required parts would cost approximately $10,000 per airplane. Based on 
these figures, the cost impact on U.S. operators of the modification 
proposed by this AD is estimated to be $787,360, or $10,360 per 
airplane.
    The proposed introduction of a vent air tube would take 
approximately 3 work hours per engine (3 engines per airplane) to 
accomplish, at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required 
parts would cost approximately $500 per engine. Based on these figures, 
the cost impact on U.S. operators of the introduction of a vent air 
tube proposed by this AD is estimated to be $155,040, or $2,040 per 
airplane.
    The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions 
that no operator has yet accomplished any of the current or proposed 
requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish 
those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted.

Regulatory Impact

    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

[[Page 38493]]

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. 106(g), 40113, 44701.


Sec. 39.13  [Amended]

    2. Section 39.13 is amended by removing amendment 39-5597 (52 FR 
10736, April 3, 1987), and by adding a new airworthiness directive 
(AD), to read as follows:

Lockheed: Docket 96-NM-59-AD. Supersedes AD 87-07-10, Amendment 39-
5597.

    Applicability: Model L-1011 series airplanes equipped with Rolls 
Royce RB211-22B engines, certificated in any category.

    Note 1: If an operator has accomplished the requirements of 
paragraphs (a) and (b) of this AD on any affected airplane and, 
subsequently, installs a different Model RB211-22B engine on that 
airplane, the airplane and all installed engines are still subject 
to the requirements of this AD.
    Note 2: This AD applies to each airplane identified in the 
preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been 
otherwise modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the 
requirements of this AD. For airplanes that have been modified, 
altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of 
this AD is affected, the owner/operator must request approval for an 
alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (e) of 
this AD. The request should include an assessment of the effect of 
the modification, alteration, or repair on the unsafe condition 
addressed by this AD; and, if the unsafe condition has not been 
eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to 
address it.

    Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished 
previously.
    To detect and correct bearing failure, which could lead to a 
fire in the gearbox, accomplish the following:
    (a) Within 8,000 flight hours or 30 months after May 8, 1987 
(the effective date of AD 87-07-10, amendment 39-5597), whichever 
occurs first, accomplish the procedures specified in the 
Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins listed in 
paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this AD.
    (1) Lockheed Service Bulletin 093-26-036, dated April 1, 1986, 
Installation of Fire Detector Segment; and
    (2) Lockheed Service Bulletin 093-71-067, Revision 1, dated 
April 1, 1986, Gearbox Breather Duct Modification. 
    (b) Within 8,000 flight hours or 30 months after May 8, 1987, 
whichever occurs first, accomplish the procedures specified in the 
Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins listed in 
paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this AD.
    (1) Rolls Royce Service Bulletin RB.211-72-4666, Revision 3, 
dated October 14, 1977, Introduction of Vent Air Tube in Gear 
Compartment; and
    (2) Rolls Royce Service Bulletin RB.211-72-8138, dated March 21, 
1986, Installation of Additional No. 7 Fire Sensor.
    (c) For airplanes on which Rolls Royce Service Bulletin RB.211-
72-4666, Revision 3, dated October 14, 1977, and Rolls Royce Service 
Bulletin RB.211-72-3878, Revision 3, dated June 25, 1976, have been 
accomplished in accordance with paragraph C of AD 87-07-10: Within 
48 months or 16,000 flight hours after the effective date of this 
AD, whichever occurs first, accomplish the actions specified in 
paragraphs (a) and (b) of this AD.
    (d) Accomplishment of the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) 
of this AD; or accomplishment of the requirements of paragraph (c) 
of this AD; constitutes terminating action for the requirements of 
AD 85-09-03, amendment 39-5056. The AFM limitations required by AD 
85-09-03 may be removed following accomplishment of the terminating 
action.
    (e) 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, Atlanta Aircraft Certification 
Office (ACO), FAA, Small 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, Atlanta ACO.

    Note 3: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Atlanta ACO.
    (f) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 
sections 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 July 11, 1997.
James V. Devany,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 97-18935 Filed 7-17-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U