[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 168 (Tuesday, August 31, 1999)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47382-47384]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-22392]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 99-NM-224-AD; Amendment 39-11278; AD 99-18-12]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 Series 
Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), 
applicable to all Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 series airplanes. This 
action requires a one-time inspection to detect cracking of the 
fuselage between stations 15375 and 16275, at the skin splice above the 
cabin windows; and corrective action, if necessary. This amendment is 
prompted by issuance of mandatory continuing airworthiness information 
by a foreign civil airworthiness authority. The actions specified in 
this AD are intended to detect and correct such cracking, which could 
result in depressurization of the cabin and reduced structural 
integrity of the airplane fuselage.

DATES: Effective September 15, 1999.
    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in 
the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as 
of September 15, 1999.
    Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or 
before September 30, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-224-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., 
Renton, Washington 98055-4056.
    The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from 
Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, The 
Netherlands. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport 
Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at 
the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., 
suite 700, Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Norman B. Martenson, Manager, 
International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 
1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 
227-2110; fax (425) 227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Rijksluchtvaartdienst (RLD), which is 
the airworthiness authority for the Netherlands, notified the FAA that 
an unsafe condition may exist on all Fokker Model F27 Mark 050 series 
airplanes. The RLD advises that a report was received of a crack that 
had been discovered on the left-hand side of the fuselage between 
stations 15375 and 16275, at the skin splice above the cabin windows. 
Subsequent investigation of the skin splice revealed that the crack had 
initiated at a scratch in the bonded doubler at the edge of the lower 
skin. Fatigue caused the crack to grow to 21.3 inches (540 mm) 
undetected, until the skin splice opened, due to overload. This 
resulted in pressurization problems during climb of the airplane, 
leading to the detection of the crack. This condition, if not 
corrected, could result in depressurization of the cabin and reduced 
structural integrity of the airplane fuselage.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

    Fokker has issued Service Bulletin SBF50-53-053, dated February 1, 
1997, which describes procedures for a one-time eddy current inspection 
to detect cracking of the fuselage between stations 15375 and 16275, at 
the skin splice above the cabin windows. The RLD classified this 
service bulletin as mandatory and issued Dutch airworthiness directive 
1997-022 (A), dated February 28, 1997, in order to assure the continued 
airworthiness of these airplanes in the Netherlands.

FAA's Conclusions

    This airplane model is manufactured in the Netherlands and is type 
certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 
section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.19) and 
the

[[Page 47383]]

applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this 
bilateral airworthiness agreement, the RLD has kept the FAA informed of 
the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the 
RLD, 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 the 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, this AD is being issued to detect and correct 
cracking of the fuselage between stations 15375 and 16275, at the skin 
splice above the cabin windows, and corrective action, if necessary. 
This AD requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the service 
bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between Proposed Rule and Service Information/Dutch 
Airworthiness Directive

    Operators should note that, although the service bulletin and Dutch 
airworthiness directive specify that the manufacturer may be contacted 
for disposition of certain repair conditions, this proposal would 
require the repair of those conditions to be accomplished in accordance 
with a method approved by the FAA.

Cost Impact

    None of the airplanes affected by this action are on the U.S. 
Register. All airplanes included in the applicability of this rule 
currently are operated by non-U.S. operators under foreign registry; 
therefore, they are not directly affected by this AD action. However, 
the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe 
condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject airplanes 
are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.
    Should an affected airplane be imported and placed on the U.S. 
Register in the future, it would require approximately 2 work hours to 
accomplish the required inspection, at an average labor rate of $60 per 
work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be 
$120 per airplane.

Determination of Rule's Effective Date

    Since this AD action does not affect any airplane that is currently 
on the U.S. register, it has no adverse economic impact and imposes no 
additional burden on any person. Therefore, prior notice and public 
procedures hereon are unnecessary and the amendment may be made 
effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal 
Register.

Comments Invited

    Although this action is in the form of a final rule and was not 
preceded by notice and opportunity for public comment, comments are 
invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 
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 under the caption 
ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date 
for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light 
of the comments received. Factual information that supports the 
commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating 
the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional 
rulemaking action would be needed.
    Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the rule that might 
suggest a need to modify the 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 
AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket Number 99-NM-224-AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped and 
returned to the commenter.

Regulatory Impact

    The regulations adopted herein will 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 final 
rule does 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) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action 
and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained 
from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption 
ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.

Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 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 the following new 
airworthiness directive:

99-18-12 Fokker Services B.V.: Amendment 39-11278. Docket 99-NM-224-
AD.

    Applicability: All Model F27 Mark 050 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 
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 cracking of the fuselage between stations 15375 and 
16275, at the skin splice above the cabin windows, which could 
result in depressurization of the cabin and reduced structural 
integrity of the airplane fuselage, accomplish the following:
    (a) Prior to the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or 
within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever 
occurs later, perform a one-time eddy current inspection to detect 
cracking of the fuselage

[[Page 47384]]

between stations 15375 and 16275, at the skin splice above the cabin 
windows, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of 
Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-053, dated February 1, 1997.
    (b) If any crack is found during the inspection required by 
paragraph (a) of this AD: Prior to further flight, repair in 
accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International 
Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate. For a repair 
method to be approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, 
as required by this paragraph, the Manager's approval letter must 
specifically reference this AD.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

    (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, International Branch, ANM-116. 
Operators shall submit their requests through an appropriate FAA 
Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send 
it to the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116.

    Note 2: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the International Branch, ANM-116.

Special Flight Permits

    (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.

Incorporation by Reference

    (e) Except as provided by paragraph (b) of this AD, the actions 
shall be done in accordance with Fokker Service Bulletin SBF50-53-
053, dated February 1, 1997. This incorporation by reference was 
approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 
5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from 
Fokker Services B.V., P.O. Box 231, 2150 AE Nieuw-Vennep, The 
Netherlands. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Transport Airplane 
Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the 
Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 
700, Washington, DC.

    Note 3: The subject of this AD is addressed in Dutch 
airworthiness directive 1997-022 (A), dated February 28, 1997.

    (f) This amendment becomes effective on September 15, 1999.
    Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 23, 1999.
Vi L. Lipski,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 99-22392 Filed 8-30-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U