[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 215 (Thursday, November 6, 1997)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60047-60049]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-29342]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 97-NM-240-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A300 and A300-600 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 all Airbus Model A300 and A300-600 
series airplanes. This proposal would require repetitive inspections 
for cracking of the lugs of hinge brackets of inner airbrakes 
(spoilers) No. 1 and No. 2, and corrective action, if necessary. This 
proposal is prompted by the issuance of mandatory continuing 
airworthiness information by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. 
The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent 
detachment of the spoilers and consequent reduced controllability of 
the airplane.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 8, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-103, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 97-NM-240-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.


[[Page 60048]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles D. Huber, Aerospace Engineer, 
Standardization Branch, ANM-113, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 
1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 
227-2589; fax (425) 227-1149.

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 97-NM-240-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. 97-NM-240-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, notified the FAA that an unsafe 
condition may exist on all Airbus Model A300 and A300-600 series 
airplanes. The DGAC advises that it received four reports indicating 
that, during routine maintenance, fatigue cracking was detected in lugs 
of the center hinge bracket of an inner airbrake (spoiler) No. 1. 
Fatigue cracking and failure of center hinge brackets due to increased 
loading could result in propagation of cracks of the inner and outer 
hinge brackets. Such fatigue cracking, if not detected and corrected in 
a timely manner, could result in detachment of the spoilers and 
consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A300-57-0229 (for Model A300 
series airplanes) and A300-57-6074 (for Model A300-600 series 
airplanes), both dated October 16, 1996. These service bulletins 
describe procedures for repetitive high frequency eddy current (HFEC) 
inspections for cracking of the lugs of hinge brackets of spoilers No. 
1 and No. 2 of both wings; and replacement, with a serviceable bracket, 
of any bracket having a cracked lug. The DGAC classified these service 
bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 97-
080-211(B)R1, dated May 21, 1997, in order to assure the continued 
airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

    These airplane models are manufactured in France and are 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.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

    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 accomplishment of 
the actions specified in the service bulletins described previously, 
except as described below.

Differences Between the Proposed AD and the Service Bulletins

    Airbus Service Bulletins A300-57-6074 and A300-57-0229, both dated 
October 16, 1996, specify that the corrective actions required by this 
proposed AD may be accomplished in accordance with a method ``left to 
the operator's discretion.'' However, operators would use a 
discretionary method only if that method has been approved by the FAA. 
Therefore, this AD requires that the actions be accomplished in 
accordance with the procedures specified in Repair Drawing R57240205 
(for a center hinge bracket) and/or R57240208 (for an inner or outer 
hinge bracket), as applicable.

Cost Impact

    The FAA estimates that 102 Airbus Model A300 and A300-600 series 
airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that 
it would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane to accomplish the 
proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. 
Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. 
operators is estimated to be $24,480, or $240 per airplane.
    The 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.

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 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

[[Page 60049]]

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 adding the following new 
airworthiness directive:

Airbus Industrie: Docket 97-NM-240-AD.

    Applicability: All Model A300 and A300-600 series airplanes, 
certificated in any category.

    Note 1: 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 (c) 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 cracking of the lugs of hinge brackets of 
inner airbrakes (spoilers) No. 1 and No. 2 of both wings, which 
could result in detachment of the spoilers and consequent reduced 
controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:
    (a) Perform a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for 
cracking of the lugs of the center hinge brackets of spoilers No. 1 
and No. 2, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0229 
(for Model A300 series airplanes) or A300-57-6074 (for Model A300-
600 series airplanes), both dated October 16, 1996, as applicable. 
Accomplish the inspection at the time specified in paragraph (a)(1), 
(a)(2), or (a)(3), as applicable, of this AD. If any discrepancy is 
found, prior to further flight, perform the follow-on actions 
specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable 
service bulletin. Repeat the HFEC inspection thereafter at intervals 
not to exceed 8,200 flight cycles.
    (1) For airplanes that have accumulated less than 23,200 total 
flight cycles as of the effective date of this AD: Inspect prior to 
the accumulation of 16,000 total flight cycles, or within 1,000 
flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs 
later.
    (2) For airplanes that have accumulated 23,200 total flight 
cycles or more, but less than 36,500 total flight cycles as of the 
effective date of this AD: Inspect within 500 flight cycles after 
the effective date of this AD.
    (3) For airplanes that have accumulated 36,500 total flight 
cycles or more as of the effective date of this AD: Inspect within 
50 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.
    (b) Airbus Service Bulletins A300-57-6074 and A300-57-0229, both 
dated October 16, 1996, specify that the actions required by 
paragraph (a) of this AD may be accomplished in accordance with a 
method ``left to the operator's discretion.'' [Operators may use a 
discretionary method only if that method has been approved as an 
alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (c) of 
this AD.] Therefore, this AD requires that the replacement of a 
bracket as required by paragraph (a) be accomplished in accordance 
with the procedures specified in Repair Drawing R57240205 (for a 
center hinge bracket) and/or R57240208 (for an inner or outer hinge 
bracket), as applicable.
    (c) 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 2: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Standardization Branch, ANM-113.

    (d) 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.

    Note 3: The subject of this AD is addressed in French 
airworthiness directive 97-080-211(B)R1, dated May 21, 1997.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 30, 1997.
Darrell M. Pederson,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 97-29342 Filed 11-5-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U