Parachute Equipment and Packing, 28820-28823 [E7-9875]

Download as PDF 28820 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 22, 2007 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Parts 91 and 105 [Docket No. FAA–2005–21829; Notice No. 07–12] RIN 2120–AI85 Parachute Equipment and Packing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSALS3 AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FAA is considering rulemaking to change the packing interval for certain types of parachutes. Currently, the FAA requires that most parachutes may not be used or carried aboard an aircraft and available for emergency use unless they have been packed within the previous 120 days. New reliability data from the parachute industry and other sources indicate it is time to review the packing interval, and the FAA is asking for public comment on a proposal to lengthen the interval from 120 to 180 days. The effect of the proposal is to ensure the rules reflect the safest parachute packing interval. In this rulemaking, we are also proposing several correcting amendments to the rules related to parachute operations. DATES: Send your comments on or before August 20, 2007. ADDRESSES: You may send comments [identified by Docket Number FAA– 2005–21829] using any of the following methods: • 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, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. • 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. For more information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http:// dms.dot.gov, including any personal VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:24 May 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 information you provide. For more information, see the Privacy Act discussion in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room W12–140 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Barnette, AFS–350, Aircraft Maintenance Division, General Aviation and Avionics Branch, AFS–350, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 493–4922; facsimile (202) 267–5115, email kim.a.barnette@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We ask that you send us two copies of written comments. We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. The docket is available for public inspection before and after the comment closing date. If you wish to review the docket in person, go to the address in the ADDRESSES section of this preamble between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also review the docket using the Internet at the web address in the ADDRESSES section. Privacy Act: Using the search function of our docket Web site, anyone can find and read the comments received into any of our dockets, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing 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. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive. If you want the FAA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this proposal, include with your comments a preaddressed, stamped postcard on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the postcard and mail it to you. Proprietary or Confidential Business Information Do not file in the docket information that you consider to be proprietary or confidential business information. Send or deliver this information directly to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. You must mark the information that you consider proprietary or confidential. If you send the information on a disk or CD–ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD–ROM and also identify electronically within the disk or CD–ROM the specific information that is proprietary or confidential. Under 14 CFR 11.35(b), when we are aware of proprietary information filed with a comment, we do not place it in the docket. We hold it in a separate file to which the public does not have access, and place a note in the docket that we have received it. If we receive a request to examine or copy this information, we treat it as any other request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). We process such a request under the DOT procedures found in 49 CFR part 7. Availability of Rulemaking Documents You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by: (1) Searching the Department of Transportation’s electronic Docket Management System (DMS) Web page (http://dms.dot.gov/search); (2) Visiting the FAA’s Regulations and Policies Web page at http:// www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/; or (3) Accessing the Government Printing Office’s Web page at http:// www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html. You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM–1, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267–9680. Make sure to identify the docket number, notice number, or amendment number of this rulemaking. Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA’s authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in E:\FR\FM\22MYP3.SGM 22MYP3 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 22, 2007 / Proposed Rules jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSALS3 Title 49 of the United States Code. 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. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart iii, Section 44701. Under that section, the FAA is charged with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations and minimum standards in the interest of safety for inspecting, servicing, and overhauling aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances. This rule is within the scope of that authority because it affects the airworthiness of parachutes used for airborne emergencies and sport applications. Background The majority of nonmilitary parachutes used in the United States are either sport parachutes or parachutes used for emergency purposes. Nearly all sport parachutes are used for skydiving and use a ‘‘dual parachute system.’’ Dual parachute systems contain a ‘‘main’’ parachute and a second parachute called a ‘‘reserve’’ parachute, to be used if the main parachute fails. The other commonly used parachute is a single-unit emergency parachute, often worn in case of emergency when operating special aircraft like gliders or aerobatic airplanes. The FAA issued a rule in 1978 requiring that main and most reserve parachutes be packed every 120 days. Before 1978, the FAA required that all parachutes be packed every 60 days. The FAA extended the packing interval to 120 days because new synthetic parachute materials like nylon and Dacron were becoming commonplace. Parachutists had found the synthetic material was just as reliable after being packed for 120 days as it was after 60 days. The rule still requires a 60-day packing interval for reserve parachutes that were composed of any amount of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber, or a material that was not nylon, rayon, or similar synthetic fiber. A similar requirement exists for emergency-use parachutes. Recently acquired data from the U.S. military, foreign aviation authorities, and parachute industry representatives suggest the current 120-day packing interval may be too short. Experts assert modern parachute materials last longer when the packing interval is longer than 120 days, and that too-frequent packing may shorten the life of the materials. Those experts found the parachute’s VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:24 May 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 porosity was affected by handling and manipulation of the parachute while being packed. The FAA is proposing 180 days as a more suitable packing interval for modern parachute systems. The FAA has granted several exemptions to foreign individuals who participate in parachute events in the United States. Those exemptions allowed the foreign parachutists to use their parachutes even if they had not been packed within the previous 120 days. We relied on the parachutist’s compliance with the packing interval requirements of the aviation authority in the parachutist’s own country. In this NPRM we are also proposing several minor corrections to 14 CFR parts 91 and 105. We propose to remove the reference to ‘‘chair type’’ parachutes in § 91.307 because all parachutes, regardless of type, will have the same packing interval. We are also making two typographical corrections to errors we found in § 105.43. We are not proposing any changes to the packing interval for parachutes made from natural fibers such as silk or pongee. Statement of the Problem The FAA has concluded it is time to reconsider our parachute packing interval requirements. The FAA has systems to collect data about incidents related to parachutes and the activity of FAA-certificated parachute riggers. We have not, however, been able to gather our own data about the effect of the packing interval on modern parachute materials. On July 8, 2005, the Parachute Industry Association petitioned the FAA (docket no. FAA– 2005–21829–1) for an exemption from the 120-day packing interval, and provided some data that suggests a longer interval may be warranted. The petition indicated many foreign countries and military organizations were using longer packing intervals that did not adversely affect safety or parachute performance. We are issuing this notice to invite data from the public that will support or challenge our proposal to change the current parachute packing interval. Section-by-Section Discussion of the Proposals Section 91.307 Parachutes and Parachuting One amendment to § 91.307 would remove an unnecessary reference to ‘‘chair type’’ parachutes. Another would change § 91.307 to increase the packing interval for emergency-use parachutes composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or materials from 120 days to 180 days. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 28821 Section 105.43 Use of Single-Harness, Dual-Parachute Systems The amendment to § 105.43 would increase the packing interval for all main and most (those composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or materials) reserve parachutes from 120 days to 180 days. We also propose to correct two minor typographical errors in § 105.43. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. We have determined that there are no current or new information collection requirements associated with this proposed rule. International Compatibility In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to these proposed regulations. Parachute Equipment and Packing: Economic Assessment, Initial Regulatory Flexibility Determination, Trade Impact Assessment, and Unfunded Mandates Assessment Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of E:\FR\FM\22MYP3.SGM 22MYP3 28822 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 22, 2007 / Proposed Rules jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSALS3 $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed rule. We suggest readers seeking greater detail read the full regulatory evaluation, a copy of which we have placed in the docket for this rulemaking. In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this proposed rule: (1) Has benefits that justify its costs, (2) is not an economically ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, (3) is not ‘‘significant’’ as defined in DOT’s Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; (5) would not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States; and (6) would not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the threshold identified above. These analyses are summarized below. This proposed rule will result in no quantifiable costs, although the proposal may result in some minor loss of revenue to parachute riggers. Also, we believe that extending the packing requirement from 120 days to 180 days would not degrade the current level of safety afforded to parachutists, and the level of safety in an emergency situation may increase because the parachutes would not be handled as often. Repacking parachutes may cause some degradation in the strength of the parachute material. The FAA requests comments regarding the estimated population size and typical cost of packing a reserve parachute used in this analysis. We are also requesting that all comments be accompanied by clear documentation. Regulatory Flexibility Determination The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) (RFA) establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.’’ The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:24 May 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. This rulemaking would result in some minor cost savings to parachutists. We consider parachutists to be individuals who are not subject to RFA. This proposed rule does not impose costs on any small entities; it may however, result in some minor loss of revenue to parachute riggers. Therefore, the FAA certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FAA solicits comments regarding this determination. International Trade Impact Assessment The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits Federal agencies from establishing any standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as safety, are not considered unnecessary obstacles. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this proposed rule and has determined that it would have only a domestic impact and therefore no affect on international trade. Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation with the base year 1995) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $128.1 million in lieu of $100 million. This proposed rule does not contain such a mandate. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Executive Order 13132, Federalism The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. We determined that this action 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, and therefore would not have federalism implications. Environmental Analysis FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this proposed rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312 and involves no extraordinary circumstances. Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use The FAA has analyzed this NPRM under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). We have determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under the executive order because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, and it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. List of Subjects 14 CFR Part 91 General operating and flight rules, Special flight operations, Parachutes and Parachuting. 14 CFR Part 105 Parachute operations, Parachute equipment and packing. The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend Chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 1155, 40103, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506–46507, 47122, 47508, 47528–47531, articles 12 and E:\FR\FM\22MYP3.SGM 22MYP3 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 22, 2007 / Proposed Rules 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 stat. 1180). 2. Amend § 91.307 to revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 91.307 Parachutes and parachuting. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSALS3 (a) No pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a parachute that is available for emergency use to be carried in that aircraft unless it is an approved type and has been packed by a certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger— (1) Within the preceding 180 days, if its canopy, shrouds, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or materials that are substantially resistant to damage from mold, mildew, or other fungi and other rotting agents propagated in a moist environment; or VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:24 May 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 (2) Within the preceding 60 days, if any part of the parachute is composed of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber or materials not specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. * * * * * PART 105—PARACHUTE OPERATIONS 3. The authority citation for part 105 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113–40114, 44701–44702, 44721 4. Amend § 105.43 to revise paragraph (a) and (b)(1) to read as follows: § 105.43 Use of single-harness, dualparachute systems. * * * * * (a) The main parachute must have been packed within 180 days before the date of its use by a certificated PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 28823 parachute rigger, the person making the next jump with that parachute, or a noncertificated person under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger. (b) * * * (1) Within 180 days before the date of its use, if its canopy, shroud, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or similar synthetic fiber or material that is substantially resistant to damage from mold, mildew, and other fungi, and other rotting agents propagated in a moist environment; or * * * * * Issued in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2007. James J. Ballough, Director, Flight Standards Service. [FR Doc. E7–9875 Filed 5–21–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P E:\FR\FM\22MYP3.SGM 22MYP3

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 98 (Tuesday, May 22, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28820-28823]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-9875]



[[Page 28819]]

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Part IV





Department of Transportation





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Federal Aviation Administration



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14 CFR Parts 91 and 105



 Parachute Equipment and Packing; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 22, 2007 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 28820]]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 91 and 105

[Docket No. FAA-2005-21829; Notice No. 07-12]
RIN 2120-AI85


Parachute Equipment and Packing

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA is considering rulemaking to change the packing 
interval for certain types of parachutes. Currently, the FAA requires 
that most parachutes may not be used or carried aboard an aircraft and 
available for emergency use unless they have been packed within the 
previous 120 days. New reliability data from the parachute industry and 
other sources indicate it is time to review the packing interval, and 
the FAA is asking for public comment on a proposal to lengthen the 
interval from 120 to 180 days. The effect of the proposal is to ensure 
the rules reflect the safest parachute packing interval.
    In this rulemaking, we are also proposing several correcting 
amendments to the rules related to parachute operations.

DATES: Send your comments on or before August 20, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments [identified by Docket Number FAA-2005-
21829] using any of the following methods:
     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, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     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.
    For more information on the rulemaking process, see the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, to 
http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. For 
more information, see the Privacy Act discussion in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.
    Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to 
http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room W12-140 on the Ground Floor 
of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Barnette, AFS-350, Aircraft 
Maintenance Division, General Aviation and Avionics Branch, AFS-350, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 493-4922; facsimile (202) 267-
5115, e-mail kim.a.barnette@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also 
invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or 
federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in 
this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion 
of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and 
include supporting data. We ask that you send us two copies of written 
comments.
    We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a 
report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel 
concerning this proposed rulemaking. The docket is available for public 
inspection before and after the comment closing date. If you wish to 
review the docket in person, go to the address in the ADDRESSES section 
of this preamble between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. You may also review the docket using the 
Internet at the web address in the ADDRESSES section.
    Privacy Act: Using the search function of our docket Web site, 
anyone can find and read the comments received into any of our dockets, 
including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing 
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.
    Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we 
receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider 
comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring 
expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments 
we receive.
    If you want the FAA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this 
proposal, include with your comments a preaddressed, stamped postcard 
on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the 
postcard and mail it to you.

Proprietary or Confidential Business Information

    Do not file in the docket information that you consider to be 
proprietary or confidential business information. Send or deliver this 
information directly to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. You must mark the 
information that you consider proprietary or confidential. If you send 
the information on a disk or CD-ROM, mark the outside of the disk or 
CD-ROM and also identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the 
specific information that is proprietary or confidential.
    Under 14 CFR 11.35(b), when we are aware of proprietary information 
filed with a comment, we do not place it in the docket. We hold it in a 
separate file to which the public does not have access, and place a 
note in the docket that we have received it. If we receive a request to 
examine or copy this information, we treat it as any other request 
under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). We process such a 
request under the DOT procedures found in 49 CFR part 7.

Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by:
    (1) Searching the Department of Transportation's electronic Docket 
Management System (DMS) Web page (http://dms.dot.gov/search);
    (2) Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://
www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/; or
    (3) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://
www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
    You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. Make 
sure to identify the docket number, notice number, or amendment number 
of this rulemaking.

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is 
found in

[[Page 28821]]

Title 49 of the United States Code. 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.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart iii, Section 44701. Under that section, 
the FAA is charged with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air 
commerce by prescribing regulations and minimum standards in the 
interest of safety for inspecting, servicing, and overhauling aircraft, 
aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances. This rule is within the 
scope of that authority because it affects the airworthiness of 
parachutes used for airborne emergencies and sport applications.

Background

    The majority of nonmilitary parachutes used in the United States 
are either sport parachutes or parachutes used for emergency purposes. 
Nearly all sport parachutes are used for skydiving and use a ``dual 
parachute system.'' Dual parachute systems contain a ``main'' parachute 
and a second parachute called a ``reserve'' parachute, to be used if 
the main parachute fails. The other commonly used parachute is a 
single-unit emergency parachute, often worn in case of emergency when 
operating special aircraft like gliders or aerobatic airplanes.
    The FAA issued a rule in 1978 requiring that main and most reserve 
parachutes be packed every 120 days. Before 1978, the FAA required that 
all parachutes be packed every 60 days. The FAA extended the packing 
interval to 120 days because new synthetic parachute materials like 
nylon and Dacron were becoming commonplace. Parachutists had found the 
synthetic material was just as reliable after being packed for 120 days 
as it was after 60 days.
    The rule still requires a 60-day packing interval for reserve 
parachutes that were composed of any amount of silk, pongee, or other 
natural fiber, or a material that was not nylon, rayon, or similar 
synthetic fiber. A similar requirement exists for emergency-use 
parachutes.
    Recently acquired data from the U.S. military, foreign aviation 
authorities, and parachute industry representatives suggest the current 
120-day packing interval may be too short. Experts assert modern 
parachute materials last longer when the packing interval is longer 
than 120 days, and that too-frequent packing may shorten the life of 
the materials. Those experts found the parachute's porosity was 
affected by handling and manipulation of the parachute while being 
packed. The FAA is proposing 180 days as a more suitable packing 
interval for modern parachute systems.
    The FAA has granted several exemptions to foreign individuals who 
participate in parachute events in the United States. Those exemptions 
allowed the foreign parachutists to use their parachutes even if they 
had not been packed within the previous 120 days. We relied on the 
parachutist's compliance with the packing interval requirements of the 
aviation authority in the parachutist's own country.
    In this NPRM we are also proposing several minor corrections to 14 
CFR parts 91 and 105. We propose to remove the reference to ``chair 
type'' parachutes in Sec.  91.307 because all parachutes, regardless of 
type, will have the same packing interval. We are also making two 
typographical corrections to errors we found in Sec.  105.43.
    We are not proposing any changes to the packing interval for 
parachutes made from natural fibers such as silk or pongee.

Statement of the Problem

    The FAA has concluded it is time to reconsider our parachute 
packing interval requirements. The FAA has systems to collect data 
about incidents related to parachutes and the activity of FAA-
certificated parachute riggers. We have not, however, been able to 
gather our own data about the effect of the packing interval on modern 
parachute materials. On July 8, 2005, the Parachute Industry 
Association petitioned the FAA (docket no. FAA-2005-21829-1) for an 
exemption from the 120-day packing interval, and provided some data 
that suggests a longer interval may be warranted. The petition 
indicated many foreign countries and military organizations were using 
longer packing intervals that did not adversely affect safety or 
parachute performance.
    We are issuing this notice to invite data from the public that will 
support or challenge our proposal to change the current parachute 
packing interval.

Section-by-Section Discussion of the Proposals

Section 91.307 Parachutes and Parachuting

    One amendment to Sec.  91.307 would remove an unnecessary reference 
to ``chair type'' parachutes. Another would change Sec.  91.307 to 
increase the packing interval for emergency-use parachutes composed 
exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or 
materials from 120 days to 180 days.

Section 105.43 Use of Single-Harness, Dual-Parachute Systems

    The amendment to Sec.  105.43 would increase the packing interval 
for all main and most (those composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or 
other similar synthetic fiber or materials) reserve parachutes from 120 
days to 180 days. We also propose to correct two minor typographical 
errors in Sec.  105.43.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. We have determined that there 
are no current or new information collection requirements associated 
with this proposed rule.

International Compatibility

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to comply with 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices 
that correspond to these proposed regulations.

Parachute Equipment and Packing: Economic Assessment, Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Determination, Trade Impact Assessment, and 
Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency 
shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination 
that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) requires 
agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small 
entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits 
agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to 
the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. 
standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider international 
standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. 
standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 
104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, 
benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a 
Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of

[[Page 28822]]

$100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 
1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of 
the economic impacts of this proposed rule. We suggest readers seeking 
greater detail read the full regulatory evaluation, a copy of which we 
have placed in the docket for this rulemaking.
    In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this 
proposed rule: (1) Has benefits that justify its costs, (2) is not an 
economically ``significant regulatory action'' as defined in section 
3(f) of Executive Order 12866, (3) is not ``significant'' as defined in 
DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; 
(5) would not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of 
the United States; and (6) would not impose an unfunded mandate on 
State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by 
exceeding the threshold identified above. These analyses are summarized 
below.
    This proposed rule will result in no quantifiable costs, although 
the proposal may result in some minor loss of revenue to parachute 
riggers. Also, we believe that extending the packing requirement from 
120 days to 180 days would not degrade the current level of safety 
afforded to parachutists, and the level of safety in an emergency 
situation may increase because the parachutes would not be handled as 
often. Repacking parachutes may cause some degradation in the strength 
of the parachute material. The FAA requests comments regarding the 
estimated population size and typical cost of packing a reserve 
parachute used in this analysis. We are also requesting that all 
comments be accompanied by clear documentation.

Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. 
However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, 
section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so 
certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The 
certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for 
this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.
    This rulemaking would result in some minor cost savings to 
parachutists. We consider parachutists to be individuals who are not 
subject to RFA. This proposed rule does not impose costs on any small 
entities; it may however, result in some minor loss of revenue to 
parachute riggers. Therefore, the FAA certifies that this proposed rule 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The FAA solicits comments regarding this determination.

International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing any standards or engaging in related 
activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of 
the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as safety, are 
not considered unnecessary obstacles. The statute also requires 
consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that 
they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the 
potential effect of this proposed rule and has determined that it would 
have only a domestic impact and therefore no affect on international 
trade.

Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(adjusted annually for inflation with the base year 1995) in any one 
year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by 
the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ``significant 
regulatory action.'' The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value 
of $128.1 million in lieu of $100 million. This proposed rule does not 
contain such a mandate.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. We determined that this 
action 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, and therefore would not have federalism implications.

Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this proposed rulemaking action qualifies for the 
categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312 and involves no 
extraordinary circumstances.

Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or 
Use

    The FAA has analyzed this NPRM under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). We have determined that it is not 
a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order because it is 
not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, 
and it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy.

List of Subjects

14 CFR Part 91

    General operating and flight rules, Special flight operations, 
Parachutes and Parachuting.

14 CFR Part 105

    Parachute operations, Parachute equipment and packing.

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend Chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations, as follows:

PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES

    1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 1155, 40103, 40113, 40120, 44101, 
44111, 44701, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 
46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 
articles 12 and

[[Page 28823]]

29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 stat. 
1180).

    2. Amend Sec.  91.307 to revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  91.307  Parachutes and parachuting.

    (a) No pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a parachute that is 
available for emergency use to be carried in that aircraft unless it is 
an approved type and has been packed by a certificated and 
appropriately rated parachute rigger--
    (1) Within the preceding 180 days, if its canopy, shrouds, and 
harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar 
synthetic fiber or materials that are substantially resistant to damage 
from mold, mildew, or other fungi and other rotting agents propagated 
in a moist environment; or
    (2) Within the preceding 60 days, if any part of the parachute is 
composed of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber or materials not 
specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
* * * * *

PART 105--PARACHUTE OPERATIONS

    3. The authority citation for part 105 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113-40114, 44701-44702, 44721

    .4. Amend Sec.  105.43 to revise paragraph (a) and (b)(1) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  105.43  Use of single-harness, dual-parachute systems.

* * * * *
    (a) The main parachute must have been packed within 180 days before 
the date of its use by a certificated parachute rigger, the person 
making the next jump with that parachute, or a non-certificated person 
under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger.
    (b) * * *
    (1) Within 180 days before the date of its use, if its canopy, 
shroud, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or 
similar synthetic fiber or material that is substantially resistant to 
damage from mold, mildew, and other fungi, and other rotting agents 
propagated in a moist environment; or
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2007.
James J. Ballough,
Director, Flight Standards Service.
 [FR Doc. E7-9875 Filed 5-21-07; 8:45 am]
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