[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 207 (Wednesday, October 27, 1999)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57822-57823]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-27946]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 99-NM-170-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model MD-11 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 McDonnell Douglas Model 
MD-11 series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of the 
air driven generator (ADG) wire assembly with a new, increased length 
wire assembly. This proposal is prompted by a report of loose terminal 
attachment hardware on the ADG power monitor relay due to a stress 
condition on the terminal attachment points. The actions specified by 
the proposed AD are intended to prevent loss of the charging capability 
of the aircraft battery. Loss of the charging capability of the 
aircraft battery, coupled with a loss of all normal electrical power, 
could prevent continued safe flight and landing of the airplane.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 13, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-NM-170-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., 
Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this 
location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.
    The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be 
obtained from Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, Long Beach Division, 
3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: 
Technical Publications Business Administration, Dept. C1-L51 (2-60). 
This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane 
Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington; or at the FAA, 
Transport Airplane Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Portwood, Aerospace Engineer, 
Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130L, FAA, Transport Airplane 
Directorate, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount 
Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; telephone (562) 627-5350; 
fax (562) 627-5210.

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 99-NM-170-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-114, Attention: Rules 
Docket No. 99-NM-170-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 
98055-4056.

Discussion

    As part of its practice of re-examining all aspects of the service 
experience of a particular aircraft whenever an accident occurs, the 
FAA has become aware of loose terminal attachment hardware on the air 
driven generator (ADG) power monitor relay. This incident occurred on a 
Model MD-11 series airplane during a heavy maintenance check.
    A subsequent inspection found other airplanes with similar loose 
terminal attachment hardware with internally broken lugs, including one 
airplane with a broken wire. During a Boeing investigation of 
production airplanes, it was revealed that the wire assembly connected 
to the ADG was installed with no slack, which caused a stress condition 
on the terminal attachment points, and resultant loose terminals and 
loss of the charging capability of the ADG. This condition, coupled 
with a loss of all normal electrical power, if not corrected, could 
prevent continued safe flight and landing of the airplane.
    This incident is not considered to be related to an accident that 
occurred off the coast of Nova Scotia involving a McDonnell Douglas 
Model MD-11 series airplane. The cause of that accident is still under 
investigation.

Other Related Rulemaking

    The FAA, in conjunction with Boeing and operators of Model MD-11 
series airplanes, is continuing to review all aspects of the service 
history of those airplanes to identify potential unsafe conditions and 
to take appropriate corrective actions. This proposal is one of a 
series of proposed actions identified during that process. The process 
is continuing and the FAA may consider additional rulemaking actions as 
further results of the review become available.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

    The FAA has reviewed and approved McDonnell Douglas Service 
Bulletins MD11-24-128, dated September 17, 1998, and Revision 1, dated 
July 30, 1999, which describes procedures for replacement of the ADG 
wire assembly with a new, increased length wire assembly. 
Accomplishment of the action specified in the service bulletin is 
intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or

[[Page 57823]]

develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD 
would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service 
bulletin described previously.

Cost Impact

    There are approximately 180 airplanes of the affected design in the 
worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 60 airplanes of U.S. registry 
would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 
1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed replacement, and 
that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would 
cost approximately $786 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost 
impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $50,760, 
or $846 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 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:

McDonnell Douglas: Docket 99-NM-170-AD.

    Applicability: Model MD-11 series airplanes, as listed in 
McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD11-24-128, Revision 1, dated 
July 30, 1999; 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 (b) 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 prevent loss of the charging capability of the air driven 
generator (ADG), that when coupled with a loss of all normal 
electrical power, could prevent continued safe flight and landing of 
the airplane, accomplish the following:

Replacement

    (a) Within 1 year after the effective date of this AD, replace 
the ADG wire assembly, part number (P/N) ACS9006-501, with a new, 
increased length wire assembly, P/N ACS9006-502, in accordance with 
McDonnell Douglas Service Bulletin MD-11-24-128, dated September 17, 
1998, or Revision 1, dated July 30, 1999.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

    (b) 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, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office (ACO), 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, Los Angeles ACO.

    Note 2: Information concerning the existence of approved 
alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be 
obtained from the Los Angeles ACO.

Special Flight Permits

    (c) 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 20, 1999.
D.L. Riggin,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 99-27946 Filed 10-26-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-U