[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 24 (Thursday, February 5, 1998)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5898-5900]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-2773]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 97-CE-42-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE Model TBM 
700 Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive 
(AD) that would apply to certain SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE Model TBM 
700 airplanes. The proposed action would require modifying the 
airplane's left-hand (LH) front side lower panel. The proposed AD is 
the result of mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) 
issued by the airworthiness authority for France. The actions specified 
by the proposed AD are intended to prevent interference between the 
side trim of the LH front side lower panel and the roll control compass 
on the LH wheel assembly, which, if not corrected, could result in loss 
of directional control of the airplane.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 3, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 97-CE-42-AD, Room 1558, 601 E. 12th Street, 
Kansas City, Missouri 64106. Comments may be inspected at this location 
between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, holidays excepted.
    Service information that applies to the proposed AD may be obtained 
from SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE, Support Client/Customer Support, 
Aerodrome Tarbes-Ossun-Lourdes, B P 930, F65009 Tarbes Cedex, France; 
telephone (33) 62.41.73.00; facsimile (33) 62.41.76.54, or the Product 
Support Manager, SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE, North Perry Airport, 7501 
Pembroke Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33023; telephone (954) 964-6877; 
facsimile: (954) 964-1668. This

[[Page 5899]]

information also may be examined at the Rules Docket at the address 
above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Karl Schletzbaum, Aerospace 
Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 1201 Walnut Street, suite 
900, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone (816) 426-6934; facsimile 
(816) 426-2169.

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 should 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 that summarizes 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 No. 97-CE-42-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, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: 
Rules Docket No. 97-CE-42-AD, Room 1558, 601 E. 12th Street, Kansas 
City, Missouri 64106.

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 SOCATA Model TBM 700 airplanes. 
The DGAC reports that there have been incidents involving interference 
between the roll control compass on the left-hand (LH) wheel assembly 
and the LH front side lower trim panel on these airplanes. This 
condition, if not corrected, could result in loss of directional 
control of the airplane.

Relevant Service Information

    SOCATA has issued Service Bulletin No. SB 70-061-25, dated June 
1995, which specifies procedures for checking the trim panel for 
correct position, performing a preflight inspection, and modifying the 
LH front side lower panel.
    The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued 
French AD 95-166(B), dated September 13, 1995, in order to assure the 
continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

The FAA's Determination

    The SOCATA Model TBM 700 airplane 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, including the service information referenced 
above, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this 
type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of the Provisions of the Proposed AD

    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or develop in other SOCATA Model TBM 700 airplanes of the same 
type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would 
require modifying the LH front side lower trim panel. The FAA is not 
proposing that this action require the specified check for correct 
position of the trim panel or the preflight inspection of the trim 
panel. Instead, the FAA is proposing that the operators of the 
airplanes registered in the United States accomplish only the 
modification portion that is required by the SOCATA service bulletin 
and the DGAC AD. Accomplishment of the proposed modification would be 
in accordance with the service bulletin previously referenced.

Cost Impact

    The FAA estimates that 40 airplanes in the U.S. registry would be 
affected by the proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 hours 
per airplane to accomplish the proposed action, and that the average 
labor rate is approximately $60 an hour. Parts cost approximately $15 
per airplane. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the 
proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $10,200 or $255 per 
airplane.

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 action (1) is 
not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866; 
(2) is not a ``significant rule'' under 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 has been placed 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 adding a new airworthiness directive 
(AD) to read as follows:

Socata--Groupe Aerospatiale: Docket No. 97-CE-42-AD.

    Applicability: Model TBM-700 airplanes, serial numbers 24, 26, 
27, 29 to 32, 34, 36 to 106, and all serial numbers equipped with 
modification MOD 70-019-25, or

[[Page 5900]]

supplemental type certificate (STC) SA2786CE, certificated in any 
category.

    Note 1: This AD applies to each airplane identified in the 
preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been 
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 (d) 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 within the next 100 hours time-in-service 
(TIS) after the effective date of this AD, unless already 
accomplished.
    To prevent interference between the side trim of the left-hand 
(LH) side lower panel and the roll control compass on the LH wheel 
assembly, which, if not corrected, could result in loss of 
directional control of the airplane, accomplish the following:
    (a) Modify the LH front side lower panel in accordance with part 
``B. MODIFICATION'' of the ACCOMPLISHMENT INSTRUCTIONS section of 
SOCATA Service Bulletin No. SB70-061-25, dated June, 1995.
    (b) The instructions in this AD take precedence over part ``A. 
CHECK: DURING EACH PREFLIGHT INSPECTION'' of the ACCOMPLISHMENT 
INSTRUCTIONS section in SOCATA Service Bulletin No. SB70-061-25, 
dated June, 1995.
    (c) 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.
    (d) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the 
compliance time that provides an equivalent level of safety may be 
approved by the Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Airplane 
Certification Service, FAA, 1201 Walnut, Suite 900, Kansas City, 
Missouri 64106. The request shall be forwarded through an 
appropriate FAA Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then 
send it to the Manager, Small Airplane Directorate.

    Note 2: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Small Airplane Directorate.

    (e) Questions or technical information related to SOCATA Service 
Bulletin No. SB 70-061-25, dated June 1995, should be directed to 
SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE, Support Client/Customer Support, 
Aerodrome Tarbes-Ossun-Lourdes, B P 930, F65009 Tarbes Cedex, 
France; telephone (33) 62.41.73.00; facsimile (33) 62.41.76.54, or 
the Product Support Manager, SOCATA--Groupe AEROSPATIALE, North 
Perry Airport, 7501 Pembroke Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33023; 
telephone (954) 964-6877; facsimile: (954) 964-1668. This service 
information may be examined at the FAA, Central Region, Office of 
the Regional Counsel, Room 1558, 601 E. 12th Street, Kansas City, 
Missouri 64106.

    Note 3: The subject of this AD is addressed in the French AD 95-
166(B), dated September 13, 1995.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 28, 1998.
Terry L. Chasteen,
Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 98-2773 Filed 2-4-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U