Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 757 Airplanes

Summary:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Boeing Model 757 airplanes. This proposed AD would require revising the Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating new limitations for fuel tank systems to satisfy Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 requirements. The proposed AD also would require the initial inspection of certain repetitive inspections specified in the AWLs to phase-in those inspections, and repair if necessary. This proposed AD results from a design review of the fuel tank systems. We are proposing this AD to prevent the potential for ignition sources inside fuel tanks caused by latent failures, alterations, repairs, or maintenance actions, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

Table of Contents

Table of Figures

Dates:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 20, 2007.

Addresses:

Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD.

• DOT Docket Web site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.

• Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.

• Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590.

• Fax: (202) 493-2251.

• Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207, for the service information identified in this proposed AD.

For further information contact:

Kathrine Rask, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 917-6505; fax (425) 917-6590.

Supplementary information:

Comments Invited

We invite you to submit any relevant written data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed in the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number “FAA-2006-26710; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-147-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend the proposed AD in light of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed AD. Using the search function of that Web site, anyone can find and read the comments in any of our dockets, including the name of the individual who sent the comment (or signed the comment on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78), or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

Examining the Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov, or in person at the Docket Management Facility office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Management Facility office (telephone (800) 647-5227) is located on the plaza level of the Nassif Building at the DOT street address stated in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the Docket Management System receives them.

Discussion

The FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled “Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements” (66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (“SFAR 88,” Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).

Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC)) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to type design holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.

In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. Thepercentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: Single failures, single failures in combination with a latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action.

We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential for ignition sources inside fuel tanks caused by latent failures, alterations, repairs, or maintenance actions, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

Relevant Service Information

We have reviewed the following sections of Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document D622N001-9, Section 9, Revision March 2006 (hereafter referred to as “Revision March 2006 of the MPD”):

• Section E., “AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS—FUEL SYSTEMS;”

• Section F., “PAGE FORMAT: SYSTEMS AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS;” and

• Section G., “AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS—FUEL SYSTEM AWLs.”

Those sections of Revision March 2006 of the MPD describe new airworthiness limitations (AWLs) for fuel tank systems. The new AWLs include:

• AWL inspections, which are periodic inspections of certain features for latent failures that could contribute to an ignition source; and

• Critical design configuration control limitations (CDCCL), which are limitation requirements to preserve a critical ignition source prevention feature of the fuel tank system design that is necessary to prevent the occurrence of an unsafe condition. The purpose of a CDCCL is to provide instruction to retain the critical ignition source prevention feature during configuration change that may be caused by alterations, repairs, or maintenance actions. A CDCCL is not a periodic inspection.

Accomplishing the actions specified in the service information is intended to adequately address the unsafe condition.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

We have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of this same type design. For this reason, we are proposing this AD, which would require revising the AWLs section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating the information in the service information described previously. The proposed AD also would require the initial inspection of certain repetitive inspections specified in the AWLs to phase-in those inspections, and repair if necessary.

Rework Required When Implementing AWLs Into an Existing Fleet

The AWLs revision for the fuel tank systems specified in paragraph (g) of this proposed AD, which involves incorporating the information specified in Revision March 2006 of the MPD, would affect how operators maintain their airplanes. After doing that AWLs revision, operators would need to do any maintenance on the fuel tank system as specified in the CDCCLs. Maintenance done before doing the AWLs revision specified in paragraph (g) would not need to be redone in order to comply with paragraph (g). For example, the AWL that requires fuel pumps to be repaired and overhauled per an FAA-approved component maintenance manual (CMM) applies to fuel pumps repaired after the AWLs are revised; spare or on-wing fuel pumps do not need to be reworked. For AWLs that require repetitive inspections, the initial inspection interval (threshold) starts from the date the AWL revision specified in paragraph (g) is done, except as provided by paragraph (h) of this proposed AD. This proposed AD would only require the AWLs revision specified in paragraph (g), and initial inspections specified in paragraph (h). No other fleet-wide inspections need to be done.

Changes to Fuel Tank System AWLs

Paragraph (g) of this proposed AD would require revising the AWLs section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating certain information specified in Revision March 2006 of the MPD into the MPD. Paragraph (g) also allows accomplishing the AWL revision in accordance with later revisions of the MPD as an acceptable method of compliance if they are approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA. In addition, Section E. of Revision March 2006 of the MPD specifies that any deviations from the published AWL instructions, including AWL intervals, in that MPD must be approved by the Manager, Seattle ACO. Therefore, after doing the AWLs revision, any revision to an AWL or AWL interval should be done as an AWL change, not as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC). For U.S.-registered airplanes, operators must make requests through an appropriate FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) or Principal Avionics Inspector (PAI) for approval by the Manager, Seattle ACO. A non-U.S. operator should coordinate changes with its governing regulatory agency.

Exceptional Short-Term Extensions

Section E. of Revision March 2006 of the MPD has provisions for an exceptional short-term extension of 30 days. An exceptional short-term extension is an increase in an AWL interval that may be needed to cover an uncontrollable or unexpected situation. For U.S.-registered airplanes, the FAA PMI or PAI must concur with any exceptional short-term extension before it is used, unless the operator has identified another appropriate procedure with the local regulatory authority. The FAA PMI or PAI may grant the exceptional short-term extensions described in Section E. without consultation with the Manager, Seattle ACO. A non-U.S. operator should coordinate changes with its governing regulatory agency. As explained in Revision March 2006 of the MPD, exceptional short-term extensions must not be used for fleet AWL extensions. An exceptional short-term extension should not be confused with an operator's short-term escalation authorization approved in accordance with the Operations Specifications or the operator's reliability program.

Ensuring Compliance With Fuel Tank System AWLs

Boeing has revised their applicable maintenance manuals and task cards to address AWLs and to include notes about CDCCLs. Operators that may not use Boeing's revision service should revise their maintenance manuals and task cards to highlight actions that are tied to CDCCLs to ensure that maintenance personnel are complying with the CDCCLs. Appendix 1 of this proposed AD contains a list of Air Transport Association (ATA) sections for the revised maintenance manuals. Operators may wish to use the appendix as an aid to implement the AWLs.

Recording Compliance With Fuel Tank System AWLs

The applicable operating rules of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR parts 91, 121, 125, and 129) require operators to maintain records with the identification of the current inspection status of an airplane. Some of the AWLs contained in Section G. of Revision March 2006 of the MPD are inspections for which the applicable sections of the operating rules apply. Other AWLs are CDCCLs, which are tied to on-condition maintenance actions. An entry into an operator's existing maintenance record system for corrective action is sufficient for recording compliance with CDCCLs, as long as the applicable maintenance manual and task cards identify actions that are CDCCLs.

Changes to CMMs Cited in Fuel Tank System AWLs

Some of the AWLs in Section G. of Revision March 2006 of the MPD refer to specific revision levels of the CMMs as additional sources of service information for doing the AWLs. Boeing is referencing the CMMs by revision level in the applicable AWL for certain components rather than including information directly in the MPD because of the volume of that information. As a result, the Manager, Seattle ACO must approve the CMMs. Any later revision of those CMMs will be handled like a change to the AWL itself. Any use of parts (including the use of parts manufacturer approval (PMA) approved parts), methods, techniques, and practices not contained in the CMMs need to be approved by the Manager, Seattle ACO, or governing regulatory authority. For example, operators that have developed pump repair/overhaul manuals must get them approved by the Manager, Seattle ACO.

Changes to AMMs Referenced in Fuel Tank System AWLs

In other AWLs in Subsection G. of Revision March 2006 of the MPD, the AWLs contain all the necessary data. The applicable section of the maintenance manual is usually included in the AWLs. Boeing intended this information to assist operators in maintaining the maintenance manuals. A maintenance manual change to these tasks can be made without approval by the Manager, Seattle ACO, through an appropriate FAA PMI or PAI, by the governing regulatory authority, or by using the operator's standard process for revising maintenance manuals. An acceptable change would have to maintain the information specified in the AWL such as the pass/fail criteria or special test equipment.

Costs of Compliance

There are about 990 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The following table provides the estimated costs for U.S. operators to comply with this proposed AD.

Estimated Costs
ActionWork hoursAverage labor rate per hourCost perairplane Number of U.S.-registered airplanes Fleet cost
Revision of AWL of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness 8 $80 $640 639 $408,960
Detailed and special detailed inspections 8 $80 $640 639 $408,960

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, Section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701, “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD 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.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the 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. 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.

We prepared a regulatory evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket. See the ADDRESSES section for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation.

List of subjects in 14 cfr part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

Boeing: Docket No. FAA-2006-26710; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-147-AD.

Comments Due Date

(a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by February 20, 2007.

Affected ADs

(b) None.

Applicability

(c) This AD applies to all Boeing Model 757-200, -200PF, -200CB, and -300 series airplanes, certificated in any category.

Note 1:

This AD requires revisions to certain operator maintenance documents to include new inspections and maintenance actions. Compliance with these limitations isrequired by 14 CFR 43.16 and 91.403(c). For airplanes that have been previously modified, altered, or repaired in the areas addressed by these limitations, the operator may not be able to accomplish the actions described in the revisions. In this situation, to comply with 14 CFR 43.16 and 91.403(c), the operator must request approval for revision to the airworthiness limitations (AWLs) in the Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document D622N001-9 according to paragraph (g) of this AD.

Unsafe Condition

(d) This AD results from a design review of the fuel tank systems. We are issuing this AD to prevent the potential for ignition sources inside fuel tanks caused by latent failures, alterations, repairs, or maintenance actions, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

Compliance

(e) You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.

Service Information

(f) The term “Revision March 2006 of the MPD” as used in this AD, means Section 9 of Boeing 757 MPD Document D622N001-9, Revision March 2006.

Revision of AWLs Section

(g) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, revise the AWLs section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating the information in the sections specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) of this AD into the MPD, except that the inspections specified in Table 1 of this AD may be done at the compliance times specified in Table 1. Accomplishing the revision in accordance with a later revision of the MPD is an acceptable method of compliance if the revision is approved by the Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA.

(1) Section E., “AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS—FUEL SYSTEMS,” of Revision March 2006 of the MPD.

(2) Section F., “PAGE FORMAT: SYSTEMS AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS,” of Revision March 2006 of the MPD.

(3) Section G., “AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS—FUEL SYSTEM AWLs” of Revision March 2006 of the MPD.

Initial Inspections and Repair

(h) Do the inspections specified in Table 1 of this AD and repair any discrepancy, in accordance with Section G., “AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS—FUEL SYSTEM AWLs,” of Revision March 2006 of the MPD. The repair must be done before further flight.

Table 1.—Initial Inspections
Airworthiness Limitations NumberDescriptionCompliance Time(whichever occurs later)
ThresholdGrace Period
(1) 28-AWL-01 A detailed inspection of external wires over the center fuel tank for damaged clamps, wire chafing, and wire bundles in contact with the surface of the center fuel tank Before the accumulation of 36,000 total flight cycles, or within 120 months since the date of issuance of the original standard airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, whichever occurs first Within 72 months after the effective date of this AD.
(2) 28-AWL-03 A special detailed inspection of the lightning shield to ground termination on the out-of-tank fuel quantity indicating system to verify functional integrity Before the accumulation of 36,000 total flight cycles, or within 120 months since the date of issuance of the original standard airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, whichever occurs first Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD
(3) 28-AWL-14 A special detailed inspection of the fault current bond of the fueling shutoff valve actuator of the center wing tank to verify electrical bond Before the accumulation of 36,000 total flight cycles, or within 120 months since the date of issuance of the original standard airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, whichever occurs first Within 60 months after the effective date of this AD

Note 2:

For the purposes of this AD, a detailed inspection is: “An intensive examination of a specific item, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at an intensity deemed appropriate. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be necessary. Surface cleaning and elaborate procedures may be required.”

Note 3:

For the purposes of this AD, a special detailed inspection is: “An intensive examination of a specific item, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. The examination is likely to make extensive use of specialized inspection techniques and/or equipment. Intricate cleaning and substantial access or disassembly procedure may be required.”

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(i)(1) The Manager, Seattle ACO has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.

(2) Before using any AMOC approved in accordance with § 39.19 on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify the appropriate principal inspector in the FAA Flight Standards Certificate Holding District Office.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 21, 2006. Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate,Aircraft Certification Service.

Appendix 1. fuel tank system airworthiness limitations—applicable maintenance manuals

AWL #ALI/CDCCLATA section or CMM documentTask titleTask #
28-AWL-01 ALI AMM 28-11-00/601 External Wires Over the Center Tank Inspection 28-11-00-206-221.
28-AWL-02 CDCCL SWPM 20-10-11 Wiring Assembly and Installation Configuration
28-AWL-03 ALI AMM 20-55-54/601 FQIS Connectors—Inspection/ Check 20-55-54-286-001.
28-AWL-04 CDCCL SWPM 20-10-15 Assembly of Shield Ground Wires
28-AWL-05 CDCCL SWPM 20-10-11 Wiring Assembly and Installation Configuration
28-AWL-06 CDCCL CMM 28-41-68 Revision 4 or subsequent revisions
28-AWL-07 CDCCL CMM 28-40-56, Revision 4; CMM 28-40-62, revision 3; CMM 28-40-59, revision 5; or subsequent revisions
28-AWL-08 CDCCL SWPM 20-14-12 Repair of Fuel Quantity Indicator System (FQIS) Wire Harness
AMM 28-41-09/401 Install the Tank Wiring Harness Varies with configuration
28-AWL-09 CDCCL AMM 29-11-26/401 Install the Heat Exchanger 29-11-26-404-012.
28-AWL-10 CDCCL AMM 28-22-07/401 Install the Fuel Line and Fittings 28-22-07-404-005.
28-AWL-11 CDCCL
28-AWL-12 CDCCL CMM 28-22-08, revision 3; CMM 28-20-02, revision 9; or subsequent revisions
28-AWL-13 CDCCL AMM 28-22-03/401 Install the Fuel Boost Pump Assembly or the Fuel Override Pump Assembly 28-22-03-404-007.
28-AWL-14 ALI AMM 28-21-02/401 Fueling Shutoff Valve Resistance Check 28-21-02-764-047.
28-AWL-15 CDCCL AMM 28-21-02/401 Install the Fueling Shutoff Valve 28-21-02-404-019.
AMM 28-21-12/401 Install the Actuator of the Fueling Shutoff Valve 28-21-12-404-015.
28-AWL-16 CDCCL AMM 28-11-01/401 Install the Main Tank Access Door 28-11-01-404-014.
AMM 28-11-02/401 Install the Center Tank Access Door 28-11-02-404-019.
AMM 28-11-03/401 Install the Surge Tank Access Door 28-11-03-404-008.
28-AWL-17 CDCCL AMM 28-11-03/401 Install the Surge Tank Access Door 28-11-03-404-008.
AMM 28-13-04/201 Install the Pressure Relief Valve 28-13-04-402-014.
28-AWL-18 CDCCL AMM 28-11-03/401 Install the Surge Tank Access Door 28-11-03-404-008.
AMM 28-13-05/401 Install the Housing of the Vent Flame Arrestor 28-13-05-404-004.
28-AWL-19 CDCCL FIM 28-22-00/101 Engine Fuel Feed System—Fault Isolation
28-AWL-20 ALI AMM 28-22-00/501 Center Tank Fuel Override Pump Auto Shutoff Functional Test 28-22-00-725-507.
28-AWL-21 ALI AMM 28-22-00/501
28-AWL-22 CDCCL AMM 28-41-24/401 Densitometer Hot Short Protector Installation 28-41-24-404-006.
28-AWL-23 CDCCL AMM 28-22-01/401
AMM 28-22-02/401
AMM 28-22-11/401
AMM 28-22-12/401
AMM 28-26-01/401
AMM 28-26-02/401
28-AWL-24 CDCCL CMM 28-20-21

References

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