Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

Summary:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330-200 series airplanes; Airbus Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes; Airbus Model A330-300 series airplanes; Airbus Model A340-200 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-300 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of sheared fasteners located on the outside skin of the forward cargo door and cracks on the frame fork ends, as well as cracks of the aft cargo door frame 64A. This proposed AD would require performing a detailed inspection of the outer skin rivets at the frame fork ends of the forward and aft cargo door for sheared, loose, and missing rivets, repairing the outer skin rivets, if necessary, and performing repetitive inspections. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct sheared, loose or missing fasteners on the forward and aft cargo door frame, which could result in the loss of structural integrity of the forward and aft cargo door.

Table of Contents

Dates:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 9, 2012.

Addresses:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Fax:(202) 493-2251.

Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus SAS—Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email airworthiness.A330-A340@airbus.com; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

For further information contact:

Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; fax (425) 227-1149.

Supplementary information:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2012-0152; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-059-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2011-0007R1, dated February 14, 2011 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

Two operators have reported cases of some sheared fasteners on the outside skin of the forward cargo door, detected during walk around checks. Further inspections revealed crack findings on the frame (FR) fork ends.

In addition, during a scheduled maintenance check, the aft cargo door frame 64A of an aeroplane has been found cracked for a length of more than 3 inches. Outer skin rivets were also found sheared. At time of findings the aeroplane had accumulated 10564 flight cycles (FC), i.e. below the 12000 FC threshold defined in DGAC [Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile] France AD F-2001-124(B) and DGAC France AD F-2001-126(B) [which corresponds with FAA AD 2001-16-01, Amendment 39-12369 (66 FR 40874, August 6, 2001], which require a special detailed inspection of the aft cargo compartment door.

In case of cracked or ruptured (forward or aft) cargo door frame, the loads will be transferred to the remaining structural elements. Such second load path is able to sustain the loads for a limited number of flight cycles only. Rupture of two vertical frames could result in the loss of the structural integrity of the forward or aft cargo door.

For the above described reasons, this AD requires repetitive detailed visual inspections of the aft and forward cargo doors outer skin for sheared, loose or missing rivets at all frame fork ends and the accomplishment of the applicable corrective actions [repair if necessary].

This [EASA] AD is considered to be an interim action, further actions might be required to revise/supersede the above mentioned DGAC France ADs.

This [EASA] AD is revised in order to recognize that aeroplanes on which Airbus modification 44852 has been embodied in production are not affected by the repetitive inspection requirements of this AD on the Aft Cargo Compartment Door.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued the following service information:

• All Operators Telex A330-52A3084, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanes);

• All Operators Telex A330-52A3085, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanes);

• All Operators Telex A340-52A4091, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanes); and

• All Operators Telex A340-52A4092, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanes).

The actions described in this service information are intended to correct the unsafe condition identified in the MCAI.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Costs of Compliance

Based on the service information, we estimate that this proposed AD would affect about 55 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 1 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $4,675, or $85 per product.

We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this proposed AD.

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 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 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);

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

4. 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.

List of subjects in 14 cfr part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, 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 FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2012-0152; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-059-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by April 9, 2012.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes; certificated in any category; all manufacturer serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 52: Doors.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of sheared fasteners located on the outside skin of the forward cargo door and cracks on the frame fork ends, as well as cracks of the aft cargo door frame 64A. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct sheared, loose or missing fasteners on the forward and aft cargo door frame, which could result in the loss of structural integrity of the forward and aft cargo door.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Forward Cargo Compartment Door

Before the accumulation of 6,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane or within 400 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Perform a detailed inspection of the outer skin rivets at the frame fork ends between FR20B and FR25 of the forward cargo door for sheared, loose, and missing rivets, in accordance with the instructions of Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) A330-52A3085, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanes); or Airbus AOT A340-52A4092, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanes). Thereafter repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 800 total flight cycles.

(h) Aft Cargo Compartment Door

For all airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 44854 or Modification 44852 has been embodied in production, or Airbus Service Bulletin A330-52-3044 or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-52-4054 has been embodied in service: Before the accumulation of 4,000 total flight cycles since first flight of the airplane, or within 400 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, perform a detailed inspection of outer skin rivets at the frame fork ends between FR60 and FR64A of the aft cargo door for sheared, loose or missing rivets, in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A330-52A3084, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A330-200 and A330-300 series airplanes); or Airbus AOT A340-52A4091, dated December 20, 2010 (for Model A340-200 and A340-300 series airplanes). Thereafter repeat the inspection at intervals not to exceed 400 flight cycles.

(i) Corrective Action

If any sheared, loose, or missing rivets are found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) or (h) of this AD: Before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA; or European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (or its delegated agent).

(j) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1)Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1138; fax (425) 227-1149. Information may be emailed to:9-ANM-116-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

(2)Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

(k) Related Information

Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2011-0007R1, dated February 14, 2011, and the service information specified in paragraphs (k)(1) through (k)(4) of this AD, for related information.

(1) Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) A330-52A3085, dated December 20, 2010.

(2) Airbus AOT A340-52A4092, dated December 20, 2010.

(3) Airbus AOT A330-52A3084, dated December 20, 2010.

(4) Airbus AOT A340-52A4091, dated December 20, 2010.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 14, 2012.

Ali Bahrami,

Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

References

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