Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport Category Airplanes Equipped With Auxiliary Fuel Tanks Installed in Accordance With Certain Supplemental Type Certificates, 60600-60603 [E7-21001]

Download as PDF 60600 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 206 / Thursday, October 25, 2007 / Proposed Rules for affected parties, some parties may incur costs higher than estimated here. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $58,536, or $542 per product. PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES Authority for This Rulemaking § 39.13 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. 2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD: 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. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety. 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701. [Amended] EMPRESA BRASILEIRA DE AERONAUTICA S.A. (EMBRAER): Docket No. FAA–2007–0082; Directorate Identifier 2007–NM–219–AD. Comments Due Date (a) We must receive comments by November 26, 2007. Affected ADs (b) None. Applicability (c) This AD applies to EMBRAER Model ERJ 170–100 LR, –100 STD, –100 SE, –100 SU, –200 LR, –200 STD, and –200 SU airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Embraer Service Bulletin 170– 34–0019, dated February 26, 2007; and Model ERJ 190–100 STD, –100 LR, –100 IGW, –200 STD, –200 LR, and –200 IGW airplanes; certificated in any category, as identified in Embraer Service Bulletin 190–34–0009, dated February 26, 2007. Subject (d) Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 34: Navigation. Reason (e) The mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) states: It has been found that the implementation of the Inertial Reference Units (IRU) on the ERJ–170 [and ERJ–190] may lead, in certain degraded modes, to an erroneous Flight Path Angle (FPA) indication on both Primary Flight Displays, with no alert to the flight crew. On the ERJ–170 [and ERJ–190], FPA is considered as important as pitch and bank angle for piloting purposes. The unsafe condition is reduced ability of the flightcrew to control the flight path of the airplane. The corrective action is removal of certain wiring connections in the electrical connectors of both IRUs. Actions and Compliance (f) Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD, unless already done, remove the wiring connections from pins 51 and 52 in the electrical connectors of both IRUs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Embraer Service Bulletin 170– 34–0019 or 190–34–0009, as applicable, both dated February 26, 2007. FAA AD Differences The Proposed Amendment Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows: Other FAA AD Provisions (g) The following provisions also apply to this AD: 17:49 Oct 24, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Related Information (h) Refer to MCAI Brazilian Airworthiness Directives 2007–08–03 and 2007–08–04, both effective August 27, 2007, and to Embraer Service Bulletins 170–34–0019 and 190–34– 0009, both dated February 26, 2007, for related information. Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 12, 2007. Stephen P. Boyd, Assistant Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. E7–21005 Filed 10–24–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2007–0089; Directorate Identifier 2007–NM–117–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport Category Airplanes Equipped With Auxiliary Fuel Tanks Installed in Accordance With Certain Supplemental Type Certificates Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: Note: This AD differs from the MCAI and/ or service information as follows: No differences. VerDate Aug<31>2005 (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM–116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM–116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98057–3356; telephone (425) 227–1405; fax (425) 227–1149. Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO. (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. Sfmt 4702 SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 206 / Thursday, October 25, 2007 / Proposed Rules various transport category airplanes. This proposed AD would require deactivation of Rogerson Aircraft Corporation auxiliary fuel tanks. This proposed AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer, which identified potential unsafe conditions for which the manufacturer has not provided corrective actions. We are proposing this AD to prevent the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane. DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by December 10, 2007. 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 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS Examining the AD Docket You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.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 800–647–5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Serj Harutunian, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM–140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712–4137; telephone (562) 627–5254; fax (562) 627–5210. 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. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:49 Oct 24, 2007 Jkt 214001 FAA–2007–0089; Directorate Identifier 2007–NM–117–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:// 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 FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a regulation titled ‘‘Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements’’ (67 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (‘‘SFAR 88,’’ Amendment 21–78, and subsequent Amendments 21–82 and 21–83). Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC) design approval) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to design approval holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews. In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable conditions is one of these PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60601 criteria. The other three criteria address the failure types under evaluation: single failures, single failures in combination with another latent condition(s), and in-service failure experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for further action. We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane. Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for Rogerson Auxiliary Fuel Tanks The auxiliary fuel tank STCs on affected airplanes are of two basic type designs: a box-and-bladder type, and a double-walled cylindrical type. The box-and-bladder tanks are emptied and vented into the airplane center wing tank using either pneumatic air pressure supplied from the airplane, or electrical power from the airplane to power fuel pumps installed in the tank external dry bay area. The double-walled cylindrical tanks use pneumatic air pressure to empty into the airplane center wing tank. All auxiliary tanks use some type of electrical fuel quantity indication system (FQIS), flight deck control and annunciation panels, float level switches, valves and venting systems, electrical wiring connections in the dry bay area, and electrical bonding methods. FAA’s Findings During the SFAR 88 safety assessment, it was determined that the Rogerson Aircraft Corporation FQIS and float level switch did not meet intrinsically safe electrical energy levels as described in the guidelines of advisory circular (AC) 25.981–1B, Fuel Tank Ignition Source Prevention Guidelines. Rogerson identified potential ignition sources resulting from a combination of single and latent failures for the Rogerson fuel tank subsystems. To prevent high electrical energy levels from the FQIS and float level switch from entering the auxiliary fuel tank, we have determined that the appropriate solution (depending on the type of auxiliary tank) for continued use is a combination of actions. First, installing a transient suppression device (TSD) on FQIS and float level switches would be needed. In order to maximize wire separation, the TSD must be installed as close as possible to the points where the FQIS and float level switch wires exit the TSD and enter the auxiliary tank. Other actions might E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 60602 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 206 / Thursday, October 25, 2007 / Proposed Rules include replacing high-energy FQISs, and float level switches that are impractical for TSD application, with intrinsically safe FQISs, providing wire separation, conducting a one time inspection and/or replacing aging float level switch conduit assemblies, periodically inspecting the external dry bay system components and wires, and testing the integrity of bonding resistances. Furthermore, to reduce fuel vapor ignition risks associated with dry running of fuel pumps and fuel pump failures, operational limitations are needed to ensure that the fuel pumps are turned off when the auxiliary tank is emptied. An inspection to detect fuel leakage in the dry bay and vent pipe shrouds needs to be included in the operator’s maintenance program. Rogerson Aircraft Corporation has declared all STCs as high-flammability exposure installations, and has reported a few service difficulties with fuel leakage and damage to tank bladders during maintenance activities. Rogerson has not provided the service information required under SFAR 88 that would lead the FAA to make a finding of compliance; therefore, we must mandate the deactivation of all Rogerson Aircraft Corporation auxiliary fuel tanks. If operators do not wish to deactivate their auxiliary fuel tanks, we will consider requests for alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs). The most likely requests would be to allow continued use of the tanks by showing compliance with SFAR 88. This would involve obtaining STCs and developing maintenance procedures to address the safety issues identified above. Once an operator has deactivated the tank as required by this AD, the operator might wish to remove the tank. This would require a separate design approval, if an approved tank removal procedure does not exist. FAA’s Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD We have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other products of this same type design. For this reason, we are proposing this AD, which would require deactivation to prevent usage of auxiliary fuel tanks. Explanation of Compliance Time In most ADs, we adopt a compliance time allowing a specified amount of time after the AD’s effective date. In this case, however, the FAA has already issued regulations that require operators to revise their maintenance/inspection programs to address fuel tank safety issues. The compliance date for these regulations is December 16, 2008. To provide for coordinated implementation of these regulations and this proposed AD, we are using this same compliance date in this proposed AD. Costs of Compliance There are about 148 airplanes of the affected design in the worldwide fleet. The following table provides the estimated costs for the 39 U.S.registered airplanes to comply with this proposed AD. Based on these figures, the estimated costs for U.S. operators could be as high as $194,400 to prepare and report the deactivation procedures, and $140,400 to deactivate the tank. ESTIMATED COSTS Action Work hours Report ..................................................................................................... Preparation of tank deactivation procedure ............................................ Physical tank deactivation ...................................................................... Average labor rate per hour 1 80 30 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS Authority for This Rulemaking Regulatory Findings 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. We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the proposed regulation: 1. Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; 2. Is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and 3. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. We prepared a regulatory evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket. See the ADDRESSES section VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:49 Oct 24, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Parts $80 80 80 None None $1,200 Individual cost $80, per STC. $6,400, per STC. $3,600, per airplane. for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety. The Proposed Amendment Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows: PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701. § 39.13 [Amended] 2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Various Transport Category Airplanes: Docket No. FAA–2007–0089; Directorate Identifier 2007–NM–117–AD. E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 206 / Thursday, October 25, 2007 / Proposed Rules Comments Due Date (a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by December 10, 2007. Applicability Type Certificates (STCs), as identified in Table 1 of this AD. (c) This AD applies to airplanes, certificated in any category and equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks installed in accordance with specified Supplemental Affected ADs (b) None. 60603 TABLE 1.—AFFECTED AIRPLANES Airplanes Auxiliary tank STC Boeing Model 707 airplanes .............................................. Boeing Model 727–100 series airplanes ........................... Boeing Model 727–200 series airplanes ........................... Boeing Model 737–200 series airplanes ........................... Boeing Model 737–400 and –500 series airplanes ........... Boeing Model 767–200 series airplanes ........................... British Aerospace Model 1–11–400 series airplanes ........ McDonnell Douglas Model DC–9–15 and DC–9–15F airplanes. McDonnell Douglas Model DC–9–32F (C–9B) airplanes .. Unsafe Condition (d) This AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to prevent the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane. Compliance (e) You are responsible for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done. Report (f) Within 45 days after the effective date of this AD, submit a report to the Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA. The report must include the following information: (1) The airplane registration and auxiliary tank STC number installed. (2) The usage frequency in terms of total number of flights per year and total number of flights for which the auxiliary tank is used. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS Prevent Usage of Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (g) On or before December 16, 2008, deactivate the auxiliary fuel tanks, in accordance with a deactivation procedure approved by the Manager of the Los Angeles ACO. Any auxiliary tank component that remains on the airplane must be secured and must have no effect on the continued operational safety and airworthiness of the airplane. Deactivation may not result in the need for additional instructions for continued airworthiness. Note 1: Appendix A of this AD provides criteria that should be included in the deactivation procedure. The proposed deactivation procedures should be submitted to the Los Angeles ACO as soon as possible to ensure timely review and approval. Note 2: For technical information, contact John Cox, Director of Engineering, Rogerson Aircraft Corporation, 16940 Von Karman, Irvine, California 92606; phone (949) 442– 2381; fax (949) 442–2311. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:49 Oct 24, 2007 Jkt 214001 SA4053WE, SA1308NM. SA2970WE, SA3674WE, SA3157WE, SA3319WE, SA3559WE, SA3920NM, SA3810WE, SA1979NM, SA1398NM, SA3483WE. SA3065WE, SA1051NW. SA1082NW, SA2153WE, SA1054NW. SA3992NM, SA3980NM. SA5544NM. SA1995WE, SA1626WE, SA3819WE, SA2971WE. SA3558WE, SA2587WE, SA1050NW. SA3436NM, SA3495NM. Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) (h)(1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. (2) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO. Appendix A—Deactivation Criteria The auxiliary fuel tank deactivation procedure required by paragraph (g) of this AD should address the following actions. (1) Permanently drain auxiliary fuel tanks, and clear them of fuel vapors to eliminate the possibility of out-gassing of fuel vapors from the emptied auxiliary tank. Note: If applicable, removing the bladder might help eliminate out-gassing. (2) Disconnect all electrical connections from the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS), fuel pumps if applicable, float switches, and all other electrical connections required for auxiliary tank operation, and stow them at the auxiliary tank interface. (3) Disconnect all pneumatic connections if applicable, cap them at the pneumatic source, and secure them. (4) Disconnect all fuel feed and fuel vent plumbing interfaces with airplane original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tanks, cap them at the airplane tank side, and secure them in accordance with a method approved by the FAA; one approved method is specified in AC 25–8 Fuel Tank Flammability Minimization. In order to eliminate the possibility of structural deformation during cabin decompression, leave open and secure the disconnected auxiliary fuel tank vent lines. (5) Pull and collar all circuit breakers used to operate the auxiliary tank. PO 00000 SA2734WE, Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4700 (6) Revise the weight and balance document, if required, and obtain FAA approval. (7) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable airplane flight manual (AFM) to indicate that the auxiliary fuel tank is deactivated. Remove auxiliary fuel tank operating procedures to ensure that only the OEM fuel system operational procedures are contained in the AFM. Amend the Limitations Section of the AFM to indicate that the AFM Supplement for the STC is not in effect. Place a placard in the flight deck indicating that the auxiliary tank is deactivated. The AFM revisions specified in this paragraph may be accomplished by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. (8) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable airplane maintenance manual to remove auxiliary tank maintenance procedures. (9) After the auxiliary fuel tank is deactivated, accomplish procedures such as leak checks and pressure checks deemed necessary before returning the airplane to service. These procedures must include verification that the airplane FQIS and fuel distribution systems have not been adversely affected. (10) Include with the operator’s proposed procedures any relevant information or additional steps that are deemed necessary by the operator to comply with the deactivation and return the airplane to service. Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 15, 2007. Ali Bahrami, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. E7–21001 Filed 10–24–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 206 (Thursday, October 25, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60600-60603]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-21001]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2007-0089; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-117-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Various Transport Category Airplanes 
Equipped With Auxiliary Fuel Tanks Installed in Accordance With Certain 
Supplemental Type Certificates

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) 
for

[[Page 60601]]

various transport category airplanes. This proposed AD would require 
deactivation of Rogerson Aircraft Corporation auxiliary fuel tanks. 
This proposed AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the 
manufacturer, which identified potential unsafe conditions for which 
the manufacturer has not provided corrective actions. We are proposing 
this AD to prevent the potential of ignition sources inside fuel tanks, 
which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel 
tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by December 10, 
2007.

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 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://
www.regulations.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 800-647-5527) is in the 
ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly 
after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Serj Harutunian, Aerospace Engineer, 
Propulsion Branch, ANM-140L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification 
Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712-4137; 
telephone (562) 627-5254; fax (562) 627-5210.

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-2007-0089; 
Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-117-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://
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 FAA has examined the underlying safety issues involved in fuel 
tank explosions on several large transport airplanes, including the 
adequacy of existing regulations, the service history of airplanes 
subject to those regulations, and existing maintenance practices for 
fuel tank systems. As a result of those findings, we issued a 
regulation titled ``Transport Airplane Fuel Tank System Design Review, 
Flammability Reduction and Maintenance and Inspection Requirements'' 
(67 FR 23086, May 7, 2001). In addition to new airworthiness standards 
for transport airplanes and new maintenance requirements, this rule 
included Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 88 (``SFAR 88,'' 
Amendment 21-78, and subsequent Amendments 21-82 and 21-83).
    Among other actions, SFAR 88 requires certain type design (i.e., 
type certificate (TC) and supplemental type certificate (STC) design 
approval) holders to substantiate that their fuel tank systems can 
prevent ignition sources in the fuel tanks. This requirement applies to 
design approval holders for large turbine-powered transport airplanes 
and for subsequent modifications to those airplanes. It requires them 
to perform design reviews and to develop design changes and maintenance 
procedures if their designs do not meet the new fuel tank safety 
standards. As explained in the preamble to the rule, we intended to 
adopt airworthiness directives to mandate any changes found necessary 
to address unsafe conditions identified as a result of these reviews.
    In evaluating these design reviews, we have established four 
criteria intended to define the unsafe conditions associated with fuel 
tank systems that require corrective actions. The percentage of 
operating time during which fuel tanks are exposed to flammable 
conditions is one of these criteria. The other three criteria address 
the failure types under evaluation: single failures, single failures in 
combination with another latent condition(s), and in-service failure 
experience. For all four criteria, the evaluations included 
consideration of previous actions taken that may mitigate the need for 
further action.
    We have determined that the actions identified in this AD are 
necessary to reduce the potential of ignition sources inside fuel 
tanks, which, in combination with flammable fuel vapors, could result 
in fuel tank explosions and consequent loss of the airplane.

Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for Rogerson Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

    The auxiliary fuel tank STCs on affected airplanes are of two basic 
type designs: a box-and-bladder type, and a double-walled cylindrical 
type. The box-and-bladder tanks are emptied and vented into the 
airplane center wing tank using either pneumatic air pressure supplied 
from the airplane, or electrical power from the airplane to power fuel 
pumps installed in the tank external dry bay area. The double-walled 
cylindrical tanks use pneumatic air pressure to empty into the airplane 
center wing tank. All auxiliary tanks use some type of electrical fuel 
quantity indication system (FQIS), flight deck control and annunciation 
panels, float level switches, valves and venting systems, electrical 
wiring connections in the dry bay area, and electrical bonding methods.

FAA's Findings

    During the SFAR 88 safety assessment, it was determined that the 
Rogerson Aircraft Corporation FQIS and float level switch did not meet 
intrinsically safe electrical energy levels as described in the 
guidelines of advisory circular (AC) 25.981-1B, Fuel Tank Ignition 
Source Prevention Guidelines. Rogerson identified potential ignition 
sources resulting from a combination of single and latent failures for 
the Rogerson fuel tank subsystems. To prevent high electrical energy 
levels from the FQIS and float level switch from entering the auxiliary 
fuel tank, we have determined that the appropriate solution (depending 
on the type of auxiliary tank) for continued use is a combination of 
actions. First, installing a transient suppression device (TSD) on FQIS 
and float level switches would be needed. In order to maximize wire 
separation, the TSD must be installed as close as possible to the 
points where the FQIS and float level switch wires exit the TSD and 
enter the auxiliary tank. Other actions might

[[Page 60602]]

include replacing high-energy FQISs, and float level switches that are 
impractical for TSD application, with intrinsically safe FQISs, 
providing wire separation, conducting a one time inspection and/or 
replacing aging float level switch conduit assemblies, periodically 
inspecting the external dry bay system components and wires, and 
testing the integrity of bonding resistances.
    Furthermore, to reduce fuel vapor ignition risks associated with 
dry running of fuel pumps and fuel pump failures, operational 
limitations are needed to ensure that the fuel pumps are turned off 
when the auxiliary tank is emptied. An inspection to detect fuel 
leakage in the dry bay and vent pipe shrouds needs to be included in 
the operator's maintenance program. Rogerson Aircraft Corporation has 
declared all STCs as high-flammability exposure installations, and has 
reported a few service difficulties with fuel leakage and damage to 
tank bladders during maintenance activities.
    Rogerson has not provided the service information required under 
SFAR 88 that would lead the FAA to make a finding of compliance; 
therefore, we must mandate the deactivation of all Rogerson Aircraft 
Corporation auxiliary fuel tanks.
    If operators do not wish to deactivate their auxiliary fuel tanks, 
we will consider requests for alternative methods of compliance 
(AMOCs). The most likely requests would be to allow continued use of 
the tanks by showing compliance with SFAR 88. This would involve 
obtaining STCs and developing maintenance procedures to address the 
safety issues identified above.
    Once an operator has deactivated the tank as required by this AD, 
the operator might wish to remove the tank. This would require a 
separate design approval, if an approved tank removal procedure does 
not exist.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

    We have evaluated all pertinent information and identified an 
unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other products 
of this same type design. For this reason, we are proposing this AD, 
which would require deactivation to prevent usage of auxiliary fuel 
tanks.

Explanation of Compliance Time

    In most ADs, we adopt a compliance time allowing a specified amount 
of time after the AD's effective date. In this case, however, the FAA 
has already issued regulations that require operators to revise their 
maintenance/inspection programs to address fuel tank safety issues. The 
compliance date for these regulations is December 16, 2008. To provide 
for coordinated implementation of these regulations and this proposed 
AD, we are using this same compliance date in this proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

    There are about 148 airplanes of the affected design in the 
worldwide fleet. The following table provides the estimated costs for 
the 39 U.S.-registered airplanes to comply with this proposed AD. Based 
on these figures, the estimated costs for U.S. operators could be as 
high as $194,400 to prepare and report the deactivation procedures, and 
$140,400 to deactivate the tank.

                                                 Estimated Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Average
              Action                Work hours   labor rate     Parts                 Individual cost
                                                  per hour
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Report...........................            1          $80         None  $80, per STC.
Preparation of tank deactivation            80           80         None  $6,400, per STC.
 procedure.
Physical tank deactivation.......           30           80       $1,200  $3,600, per airplane.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to 
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, Section 106, describes the 
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, 
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701, ``General 
requirements.'' Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with 
promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing 
regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator 
finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within 
the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition 
that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this 
rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

    We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism 
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not 
have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship 
between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the proposed 
regulation:
    1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 
12866;
    2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under the DOT Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and
    3. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or 
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    We prepared a regulatory evaluation of the estimated costs to 
comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket. See the 
ADDRESSES section for a location to examine the regulatory evaluation.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

    1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.


Sec.  39.13  [Amended]

    2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amends Sec.  39.13 by 
adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

Various Transport Category Airplanes: Docket No. FAA-2007-0089; 
Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-117-AD.

[[Page 60603]]

Comments Due Date

    (a) The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by December 
10, 2007.

Affected ADs

    (b) None.

Applicability

    (c) This AD applies to airplanes, certificated in any category 
and equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks installed in accordance with 
specified Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs), as identified in 
Table 1 of this AD.

                      Table 1.--Affected Airplanes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Airplanes                       Auxiliary tank STC
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boeing Model 707 airplanes........  SA4053WE, SA1308NM.
Boeing Model 727-100 series         SA2970WE, SA3674WE, SA3157WE,
 airplanes.                          SA3319WE, SA3559WE, SA2734WE,
                                     SA3920NM, SA3810WE, SA1979NM,
                                     SA1398NM, SA3483WE.
Boeing Model 727-200 series         SA3065WE, SA1051NW.
 airplanes.
Boeing Model 737-200 series         SA1082NW, SA2153WE, SA1054NW.
 airplanes.
Boeing Model 737-400 and -500       SA3992NM, SA3980NM.
 series airplanes.
Boeing Model 767-200 series         SA5544NM.
 airplanes.
British Aerospace Model 1-11-400    SA1995WE, SA1626WE, SA3819WE,
 series airplanes.                   SA2971WE.
McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-15     SA3558WE, SA2587WE, SA1050NW.
 and DC-9-15F airplanes.
McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-32F    SA3436NM, SA3495NM.
 (C-9B) airplanes.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unsafe Condition

    (d) This AD results from fuel system reviews conducted by the 
manufacturer. We are issuing this AD to prevent the potential of 
ignition sources inside fuel tanks, which, in combination with 
flammable fuel vapors, could result in fuel tank explosions and 
consequent loss of the airplane.

Compliance

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

Report

    (f) Within 45 days after the effective date of this AD, submit a 
report to the Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office 
(ACO), FAA. The report must include the following information:
    (1) The airplane registration and auxiliary tank STC number 
installed.
    (2) The usage frequency in terms of total number of flights per 
year and total number of flights for which the auxiliary tank is 
used.

Prevent Usage of Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

    (g) On or before December 16, 2008, deactivate the auxiliary 
fuel tanks, in accordance with a deactivation procedure approved by 
the Manager of the Los Angeles ACO. Any auxiliary tank component 
that remains on the airplane must be secured and must have no effect 
on the continued operational safety and airworthiness of the 
airplane. Deactivation may not result in the need for additional 
instructions for continued airworthiness.

    Note 1: Appendix A of this AD provides criteria that should be 
included in the deactivation procedure. The proposed deactivation 
procedures should be submitted to the Los Angeles ACO as soon as 
possible to ensure timely review and approval.


    Note 2: For technical information, contact John Cox, Director of 
Engineering, Rogerson Aircraft Corporation, 16940 Von Karman, 
Irvine, California 92606; phone (949) 442-2381; fax (949) 442-2311.

Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (h)(1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO, FAA, has the authority to 
approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested in accordance with the 
procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19.
    (2) To request a different method of compliance or a different 
compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. 
Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC 
applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA 
Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local 
FSDO.

Appendix A--Deactivation Criteria

    The auxiliary fuel tank deactivation procedure required by 
paragraph (g) of this AD should address the following actions.
    (1) Permanently drain auxiliary fuel tanks, and clear them of 
fuel vapors to eliminate the possibility of out-gassing of fuel 
vapors from the emptied auxiliary tank.

    Note: If applicable, removing the bladder might help eliminate 
out-gassing.

    (2) Disconnect all electrical connections from the fuel quantity 
indication system (FQIS), fuel pumps if applicable, float switches, 
and all other electrical connections required for auxiliary tank 
operation, and stow them at the auxiliary tank interface.
    (3) Disconnect all pneumatic connections if applicable, cap them 
at the pneumatic source, and secure them.
    (4) Disconnect all fuel feed and fuel vent plumbing interfaces 
with airplane original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tanks, cap them 
at the airplane tank side, and secure them in accordance with a 
method approved by the FAA; one approved method is specified in AC 
25-8 Fuel Tank Flammability Minimization. In order to eliminate the 
possibility of structural deformation during cabin decompression, 
leave open and secure the disconnected auxiliary fuel tank vent 
lines.
    (5) Pull and collar all circuit breakers used to operate the 
auxiliary tank.
    (6) Revise the weight and balance document, if required, and 
obtain FAA approval.
    (7) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable airplane 
flight manual (AFM) to indicate that the auxiliary fuel tank is 
deactivated. Remove auxiliary fuel tank operating procedures to 
ensure that only the OEM fuel system operational procedures are 
contained in the AFM. Amend the Limitations Section of the AFM to 
indicate that the AFM Supplement for the STC is not in effect. Place 
a placard in the flight deck indicating that the auxiliary tank is 
deactivated. The AFM revisions specified in this paragraph may be 
accomplished by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM.
    (8) Amend the applicable sections of the applicable airplane 
maintenance manual to remove auxiliary tank maintenance procedures.
    (9) After the auxiliary fuel tank is deactivated, accomplish 
procedures such as leak checks and pressure checks deemed necessary 
before returning the airplane to service. These procedures must 
include verification that the airplane FQIS and fuel distribution 
systems have not been adversely affected.
    (10) Include with the operator's proposed procedures any 
relevant information or additional steps that are deemed necessary 
by the operator to comply with the deactivation and return the 
airplane to service.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 15, 2007.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.

 [FR Doc. E7-21001 Filed 10-24-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P