Airworthiness directives: Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER), 17042-17044 [E7-6445]

Agencies

[Federal Register: April 6, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 66)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 17042-17044]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr06ap07-13]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2007-27785; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-267-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64

 
Airworthiness Directives; Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. 
(EMBRAER) Model ERJ 170 Airplanes and Model ERJ 190 Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the 
products listed above. This proposed AD results from mandatory 
continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by an aviation 
authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe 
condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe 
condition as:

    It has been found that some ``caution'' messages issued by the 
Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) are not displayed on aircraft 
equipped with [certain] EPIC software load[s] * * *. Therefore, 
following a possible failure on one FGCS channel during a given 
flight, such a failure condition will remain undetected * * *. If 
another failure occurs on the second FGCS channel, the result may be 
a command hardover by the autopilot.

    A command hardover is a sudden roll, pitch, or yaw movement, which 
could

[[Page 17043]]

result in reduced controllability of the airplane. The proposed AD 
would require actions that are intended to address the unsafe condition 
described in the MCAI.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 7, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
     DOT Docket Web Site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow 

the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     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.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 

Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov
; or in person at the Docket Management Facility 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 Office (telephone (800) 647-5227) is in the ADDRESSES section. 
Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, 
International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 
1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 
227-1175; fax (425) 227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Streamlined Issuance of AD

    The FAA is implementing a new process for streamlining the issuance 
of ADs related to MCAI. This streamlined process will allow us to adopt 
MCAI safety requirements in a more efficient manner and will reduce 
safety risks to the public. This process continues to follow all FAA AD 
issuance processes to meet legal, economic, Administrative Procedure 
Act, and Federal Register requirements. We also continue to meet our 
technical decision-making responsibilities to identify and correct 
unsafe conditions on U.S.-certificated products.
    This proposed AD references the MCAI and related service 
information that we considered in forming the engineering basis to 
correct the unsafe condition. The proposed AD contains text copied from 
the MCAI and for this reason might not follow our plain language 
principles.

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-2007-
27785; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-267-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 because 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 we 
receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

    The Agencia Nacional de Avia[ccedil][atilde]o Civil (ANAC), which 
is the aviation authority for Brazil, has issued Brazilian 
Airworthiness Directives 2006-11-02 and 2006-11-03, both effective 
November 16, 2006 (referred to after this as ``the MCAI''), to correct 
an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI for Model ERJ 
170 airplanes states:

    It has been found that some ``caution'' messages issued by the 
Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) are not displayed on aircraft 
equipped with EPIC software load 17.3 or 17.5. Therefore, following 
a possible failure on one FGCS channel during a given flight, such a 
failure condition will remain undetected or latent in subsequent 
flights. If another failure occurs on the second FGCS channel, the 
result may be a command hardover by the autopilot.

    The MCAI for Model ERJ 190 airplanes states:

    It has been found that some ``caution'' messages issued by the 
Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) are not displayed on aircraft 
equipped with EPIC software load 4.3, 4.4 or 4.5. Therefore, 
following a possible failure on one FGCS channel during a given 
flight, such a failure condition will remain undetected or latent in 
subsequent flights. If another failure occurs on the second FGCS 
channel, the result may be a command hardover by the autopilot.

    A command hardover is a sudden roll, pitch, or yaw movement, which 
could result in reduced controllability of the airplane. The MCAIs 
mandate a functional test of the flight guidance control system 
channels engagement. The corrective action is replacement of the 
actuator input-output processor if necessary. You may obtain further 
information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket.

Relevant Service Information

    EMBRAER has issued Service Bulletins 170-22-0003 and 190-22-0002, 
both dated November 9, 2006. 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, they 
have notified us 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.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI or Service Information

    We have reviewed the MCAI and related service information and, in 
general, agree with their substance. But we might have found it 
necessary to use different words from those in the MCAI to ensure the 
AD is clear for U.S. operators and is enforceable. In making these 
changes, we do not intend to differ substantively from the information 
provided in the MCAI and related service information.
    We might also have proposed different actions in this AD from those 
in the MCAI in order to follow FAA policies. Any such differences are 
highlighted in a NOTE within the proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

    Based on the service information, we estimate that this proposed AD 
would affect about 98 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that 
it would take about 2 work-hours per product to comply with the basic 
requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $80 per 
work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed 
AD on U.S. operators to be $15,680, or $160 per product.

[[Page 17044]]

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); 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.

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.


Sec.  39.13  [Amended]

    2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new AD:

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket No. FAA-
2007-27785; Directorate Identifier 2006-NM-267-AD.

Comments Due Date

    (a) We must receive comments by May 7, 2007.

Affected ADs

    (b) None.

Applicability

    (c) This AD applies to all EMBRAER Model ERJ 170-100 LR, -100 
STD, -100 SE, -100 SU, -200 LR, -200 STD, and -200 SU airplanes, and 
Model ERJ 190-100 STD, -100 LR, and -100 IGW airplanes; certificated 
in any category.

Subject

    (d) Auto Flight.

Reason

    (e) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) 
for Model ERJ 170 airplanes states:
    It has been found that some ``caution'' messages issued by the 
Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) are not displayed on aircraft 
equipped with EPIC software load 17.3 or 17.5. Therefore, following 
a possible failure on one FGCS channel during a given flight, such a 
failure condition will remain undetected or latent in subsequent 
flights. If another failure occurs on the second FGCS channel, the 
result may be a command hardover by the autopilot.
    The MCAI for Model ERJ 190 airplanes states:
    It has been found that some ``caution'' messages issued by the 
Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) are not displayed on aircraft 
equipped with EPIC software load 4.3, 4.4 or 4.5. Therefore, 
following a possible failure on one FGCS channel during a given 
flight, such a failure condition will remain undetected or latent in 
subsequent flights. If another failure occurs on the second FGCS 
channel, the result may be a command hardover by the autopilot.
    A command hardover is a sudden roll, pitch, or yaw movement, 
which could result in reduced controllability of the airplane. The 
MCAIs mandate a functional test of the flight guidance control 
system channels engagement. The corrective action is replacement of 
the actuator input-output processor if necessary.

Actions and Compliance

    (f) Unless already done, do the following actions: Within 300 
flight hours after the effective date of this AD, and thereafter at 
intervals not to exceed 600 flight hours, carry out a functional 
test in accordance with EMBRAER Service Bulletin 170-22-0003 or 
EMBRAER Service Bulletin 190-22-0002, both dated November 9, 2006, 
as applicable, to check the Flight Guidance Control System (FGCS) 
channels engagement, and, before further flight, do all applicable 
replacements of the actuator input-output processor in accordance 
with the applicable service bulletin.

    Note 1: For the purpose of this AD, a functional check is: ``A 
quantitative check to determine if one or more functions of an item 
perform within specified limits.''

FAA AD Differences

    Note 2: This AD differs from the MCAI and/or service information 
as follows: No differences.

Other FAA AD Provisions

    (g) The following provisions also apply to this AD:
    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, 
International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 
Attn: Todd Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., 
Renton, Washington 98057-3356, has the authority to approve AMOCs 
for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 
39.19. Before using any AMOC approved in accordance with Sec.  39.19 
on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify the appropriate 
principal inspector in the FAA Flight Standards Certificate Holding 
District Office.
    (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.
    (3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in 
this AD, under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the information 
collection requirements and has assigned OMB Control Number 2120-
0056.

Related Information

    (h) Refer to MCAI Brazilian Airworthiness Directives 2006-11-02 
and 2006-11-03, both effective November 16, 2006; and EMBRAER 
Service Bulletins 170-22-0003 and 190-22-0002, both dated November 
9, 2006; for related information.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 28, 2007.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. E7-6445 Filed 4-5-07; 8:45 am]

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