Federal Register: February 11, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 28)
DOCID: FR Doc 04-2683
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
CFR Citation: 14 CFR Part 39
Docket ID: [Docket No. 2003-NM-223-AD; Amendment 39-13468; AD 2004-03-24]
RIN ID: RIN 2120-AA64
ACTION: Airworthiness directives:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A330-200, A330-300, A340- 200, and A340-300 Series Airplanes
DATES: Effective February 26, 2004.
The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of February 26, 2004.
Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before March 11, 2004.
This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to all Airbus Model A330200, A330300, A340200, and A340300 series airplanes. This action requires a revision of the airplane flight manual to include procedures for a preflight elevator check before each flight, repetitive inspections for cracks of the attachment lugs of the mode selector valve position transducers on the elevator servocontrols, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is intended to advise the flightcrew of the potential for an undetected inoperative elevator, and of the action they must take to avoid this hazard. This action is necessary to ensure proper functioning of the elevator surfaces, and to detect and correct cracking of the attachment lugs, which could result in partial loss of elevator function and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.
The Direction G[eacute]n[eacute]rale de
l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for
France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on all
Airbus Model A330200, A330300, A340200, and A340300 series
airplanes. Each elevator on these airplanes is equipped with two
servocontrols having three operating modes. A selector valve installed
in each servocontrol enables the servocontrol to change between
operating modes; the selector valve's position is transmitted to the
flight control computers by a transducer. The DGAC advises that several
cracks of the transducer body at its attachment lugs have been
detected. The affected transducers were installed at the damping
positions 3CS1 and 3CS2. The cracks resulted in displacement of the
transducer and consequent leakage of the hydraulic fluid into the
affected servocontrol. In two cases the displacement of the transducer
resulted in the elevator becoming inoperative (it dropped into a full
down position), with no electronic centralized aircraft monitor (ECAM)
warning provided to the flightcrew. Without an ECAM warning, this
inoperative condition can be identified only if no elevator surface
movement is detected during a preflight elevator check. Loss of elevator function, if not corrected, could result
in reduced controllability of the airplane.
Explanation of Relevant Service Information
Airbus has issued Service Bulletins A33027A3115 and A34027A4119, both Revision 02, dated December 30, 2003. The service bulletins describe procedures for repetitive dye penetrant inspections for cracks of the attachment lugs of the mode selector valve position transducer on each elevator servocontrol installed at damping positions 3CS1 and 3CS2. The service bulletins also provide procedures for replacing a cracked transducer with a new part and torqueing the bolts when the transducer is reinstalled. The DGAC classified the service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive F2003460, dated December 24, 2003, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.
The Airbus service bulletins refer to Goodrich Actuation Systems Inspection Service Bulletin SC48002713 as an additional source of service information for the inspection.
These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 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. We have 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 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 ensure proper
functioning of the elevator surfaces, and to detect and correct
cracking of the attachment lugs of the mode selector valve position
transducers on the elevator servocontrols, which could result in partial loss of elevator function and consequent reduced
controllability of the airplane. This AD requires a revision of the airplane flight manual (AFM) to include procedures for a preflight elevator check, repetitive inspections for cracks of the attachment lugs, and corrective action if necessary. The actions are required to be accomplished in accordance with the Airbus service bulletins described previously, except as discussed under ``Differences Between This AD and French Airworthiness Directive.''
This AD also requires that operators report crack findings to
Airbus. Because the cause of the cracking is not known, these required
inspection reports will help determine the extent of the cracking in
the affected fleet. Based on the results of these reports, we may determine that additional rulemaking is warranted.
Differences Between This AD and the French Airworthiness Directive
The FAA and DGAC airworthiness directives differ in their compliance times for the first repetitive inspection interval for airplanes already inspected in accordance with Revision 01 of the service bulletin. The DGAC allows up to 700 flight cycles or 1,350 total flight cycles (whichever occurs later) for this interval, but this AD requires that all inspections be done within intervals of 350 flight cycles. French airworthiness directive 2003371which was replaced by the existing French airworthiness directive 2003460 required that the inspection be done only one time. Therefore, for operators that had complied with 2003371, the additional time following the initial inspection could provide the necessary time to schedule the subsequent repetitive inspections. Since we have not previously required the subject inspection, this AD does not provide for any extension of the firstrepeated inspection interval. However, we may approve requests to adjust that interval, according to the provisions of paragraph (g) of this AD, if the request includes data that prove that the first repetitive interval would provide an acceptable level of safety.
Also, the DGAC airworthiness directive mandates a change to the flight crew operating manual (FCOM) to include an additional elevator preflight check. We agree with the need to check for proper functioning of the elevators before takeoff, but we have determined that the appropriate location for the procedure is in the AFM, in the Limitations section. We base this determination on the following considerations:
1. The FCOM does not require FAA approval; therefore, FCOM changes cannot be mandated by an AD.
2. It is possible that later changes to the FCOM made by an operator could result in removal of the necessary preflight check.
3. An ECAM warning to the flightcrew would not be provided following an elevator failure.
4. An elevator failure could result in reduced controllability of the airplane.
The DGAC airworthiness directive specifies that the FCOM be amended ``for one or both damping servo controls above 1000 FC since new.'' However, this AD requires that the parallel change to the AFMwhich applies across airplane model/seriesbe incorporated within 30 days. Interim Action
We consider this AD interim action. The manufacturer is considering developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, we may consider additional rulemaking.
Determination of Rule's Effective Date
Since a situation exists that requires the immediate adoption of this regulation, it is found that notice and opportunity for prior public comment hereon are impracticable, and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.
Although this action is in the form of a final rule that involves
requirements affecting flight safety and, thus, was not preceded by
notice and an 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.
Submit comments using the following format:
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 FAApublic 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 selfaddressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments to Docket Number 2003NM223AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.
The regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.
The FAA has determined that this regulation is an emergency regulation that must be issued immediately to correct an unsafe condition in aircraft, and that it is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866. It has been determined further that this action involves an emergency regulation under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). If it is determined that this emergency regulation otherwise would be significant under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures, a final regulatory evaluation will be prepared and placed in the Rules Docket. A copy of it, if filed, 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 39AIRWORTHINESS 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:
20040324 Airbus: Amendment 3913468. Docket 2003NM223AD.
Applicability: All Model A330200, A330300, A340200, and A340 300 series airplanes; certificated in any category.
Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.
To ensure proper functioning of the elevator surfaces, and to
detect and correct cracking of the attachment lugs of the mode
selector valve position transducers on the elevator servocontrols,
which could result in partial loss of elevator function and
consequent reduced controllability of the airplane, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Limitations section of the airplane flight manual (AFM) to include a preflight elevator check, by including the following language. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the applicable AFM. Thereafter perform the preflight check before every flight in accordance with the procedure.
Prior or During Taxi:
``FLIGHT CONTROLS CHECK
1. AT A CONVENIENT STAGE, PRIOR TO OR DURING TAXI, AND BEFORE ARMING THE AUTOBRAKE, THE PF SILENTLY APPLIES FULL LONGITUDINAL AND LATERAL SIDESTICK DEFLECTION. ON THE F/CTL PAGE, THE PNF CHECKS FULL TRAVEL OF ALL ELEVATORS AND ALL AILERONS, AND THE CORRECT DEFLECTION AND RETRACTION OF ALL SPOILERS. THE PNF CALLS OUT ``FULL UP,'' ``FULL DOWN,'' ``NEUTRAL,'' ``FULL LEFT,'' ``FULL RIGHT,'' ``NEUTRAL,'' AS EACH FULL TRAVEL/NEUTRAL POSITION IS REACHED. THE PF SILENTLY CHECKS THAT THE PNF CALLS ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SIDESTICK ORDER.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Tim Backman, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 980554056; telephone (425) 2272797; fax (425) 2271149.