Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330, A340-200, and A340-300 Series Airplanes

Summary:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A330, A340-200, and A340-300 series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of flap rotary actuators with modified flap rotary actuators. This action is necessary to prevent fatigue failure of the rotary actuator lever for the flaps, which could result in loss of the flap surface and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

Table of Contents

Addresses:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), TransportAirplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-NM-111-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. Comments may be submitted via fax to (425) 227-1232. Comments may also be sent via the Internet using the following address:9-anm-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2003-NM-111-AD” in the subject line and need not be submitted in triplicate. Comments sent via the Internet as attached electronic files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows or ASCII text.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Airbus, 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.

For further information contact:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; 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 action may be changed in light of the comments received.

Submit comments using the following format:

• Organize comments issue-by-issue. For example, discuss a request to change the compliance time and a request to change the service bulletin reference as two separate issues.

• For each issue, state what specific change to the proposed AD is being requested.

• Include justification (e.g., reasons or data) for each request.

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 action must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2003-NM-111-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. 2003-NM-111-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A330, A340-200, and A340-300 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that corrosion in splines has been observed on a certain number of flap rotary actuators, Types A and B, part number 6975XXXXX (where XXXXX is any part number), returned after service. An improved protection of the splines was introduced without success on in-service actuators. The corrosion, which reduces the fatigue strength, is due to the loss of the surface protection following axial and radial movements between the end cover and the splines of the lever under operational loads.

The flap control system is ensured by two load paths. In case of loss of the first load path, which could occur subsequent to a rupture of the rotary actuator lever, the loads would be transferred to the second load path. The loss of the second load path might follow due to the transfer of the loads on the possibly corroded second flap rotary actuator.

Corrosion in splines, if not corrected, could result in fatigue failure of the rotary actuator lever for the flaps, which could result in loss of the flap surface and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A330-27-3106 and A340-27-4111, both dated February 18, 2003, which describe procedures for replacement of flap rotary actuators with modified flap rotary actuators. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directives 2003-140(B), dated April 2, 2003, and 2003-141(B), dated April 2, 2003, in order to assure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

Secondary Service Information References

Airbus Service Bulletins A330-27-3106 and A340-27-4111 reference Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH Service Bulletins 697510-27-02 and 697511-27-02, both dated February 21, 2003, as additional sources of service information for accomplishment of the replacement.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of § 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 Airbus service bulletins described previously.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that nine airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 45 work hours per airplane to accomplish the proposed replacement, and that the average labor rate is $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $35,000 per airplane. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $341,325, or $37,925 per airplane.

The cost impact figure discussed above is based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any ofthe proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this proposed AD were not adopted. The cost impact figures discussed in AD rulemaking actions represent only the time necessary to perform the specific actions actually required by the AD. These figures typically do not include incidental costs, such as the time required to gain access and close up, planning time, or time necessitated by other administrative actions.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations proposed herein would not have a substantial direct effect 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, it is determined that this proposal would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

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.

§ 39.13

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

Airbus: Docket 2003-NM-111-AD.

Applicability: Model A330, A340-200, and A340-300 series airplanes; except for those on which Airbus Modification 50044 has been accomplished in production, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent fatigue failure of the rotary actuator lever for the flaps, which could result in loss of the flap surface and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:

Replacement

(a) Replace the flap rotary actuators with modified flap rotary actuators in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin (SB) A340-27-4111, dated February 18, 2003 (for Model A340 -200 and -300 series airplanes); or Airbus SB A330-27-3106, dated February 18, 2003 (for Model A330 series airplanes); as applicable. Do the replacement at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this AD.

(1) Prior to the accumulation of 18,000 total flight cycles.

(2) Within 12 years since the date of issuance of the original Airworthiness Certificate, or within 12 years since the date of issuance of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness, whichever occurs first.

Note 1:

Airbus Service Bulletins A330-27-3106 and A340-27-4111 reference Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH Service Bulletins 697510-27-02 and 697511-27-02, both dated February 21, 2003, as additional sources of service information for accomplishment of the replacement.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(b) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, is authorized to approve alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) for this AD.

Note 2:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directives 2003-140(B), dated April 2, 2003, and 2003-141(B), dated April 2, 2003.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 5, 2004. Kevin M. Mullin,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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