Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 Series; Airplane Seats with Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panels, 57481-57484 [2012-22831]

Download as PDF 57481 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 77, No. 181 Tuesday, September 18, 2012 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FAA–2012–0984; Special Conditions No. 25–468–SC] Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 Series; Airplane Seats with Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panels Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments. AGENCY: These special conditions are issued for the Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with the airplane seats that have non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels that would affect survivability during a post-crash fire event. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. DATES: The effective date of these special conditions is September 11, 2012. We must receive your comments by November 2, 2012. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number [FAA–2012–0984] using any of the following methods: • Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, West mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:22 Sep 17, 2012 Jkt 226001 Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590–0001. Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202–493–2251. Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot. gov/. Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 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: Jayson Claar, FAA, Airframe and Cabin Safety Branch, ANM–115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057–3356; telephone 425–227–2194; facsimile 425–227–1232. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected aircraft. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon issuance. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 We anticipate that seats with nontraditional, large, non-metallic panels will be installed in other makes and models of airplanes. We have made the determination to require special conditions for all applications requesting the installation of seats with non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels until the airworthiness requirements can be revised to address this issue. Having the same standards across the range of airplane makes and models will ensure consistent ruling for the aviation industry. Comments Invited We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive. Background On April 17, 2012, Embraer S.A. applied for a change to Type Certificate No. T00011AT to offer a new passenger seat type that, according to the applicant, is lightweight, comfortable, and slim in profile, maximizing passenger space in the Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes. The Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes are pressurized, low-wing, ‘‘T’’ tail, transport category airplanes with tricycle landing gear. They are powered by two Rolls Royce model AE3007A series engines, and carry a maximum of 50 passengers. The applicable regulations, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 25, do not require seats to meet the more stringent flammability standards required of large, non-metallic panels in the cabin interior. At the time the applicable rules were written, seats were designed with a metal frame covered by fabric, not with large, nonmetallic panels. Seats also met the thenrecently adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions. With the seat design being mostly fabric and metal, the contribution to a fire in the cabin had been minimized and was not considered a threat. For these reasons, E:\FR\FM\18SER1.SGM 18SER1 57482 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 18, 2012 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES seats did not need to be tested to heatrelease and smoke-emission requirements. Seat designs have now evolved to occasionally include non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels. Taken in total, the surface area of these panels is on the same order as the sidewall and overhead stowage bin interior panels. To provide the level of passenger protection intended by the airworthiness standards, these nontraditional, large, non-metallic panels in the cabin must meet the standards of part 25, Appendix F, parts IV and V, heat-release and smoke-emission requirements. Type Certification Basis Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.101, Embraer S.A. must show that the Model EMB–135 and EMB145 series airplanes, as changed, continue to meet the applicable provisions of the regulations incorporated by reference in Type Certificate No. T00011AT or the applicable regulations in effect on the date of application for the change. The regulations incorporated by reference in the type certificate are commonly referred to as the ‘‘original type certification basis.’’ Refer to Type Certificate No. T00011AT for the certification basis. Only airplanes associated with new seat certification programs approved after the effective date of these special conditions will be affected by the requirements in these special conditions. Previously certificated interiors on the existing airplane fleet and follow-on deliveries of airplanes with previously certificated interiors are not affected. If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16. Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101. In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Embraer S.A. Models VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:24 Sep 17, 2012 Jkt 226001 EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36. The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.101. Novel or Unusual Design Features The Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature: These models offer interior arrangements that include passenger seats that incorporate nontraditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of the traditional metal frame covered by fabric. The flammability properties of these panels have been shown to significantly affect the survivability of the cabin in the case of fire. These seats are considered a novel design for transport-category airplanes that include Amendment 25–61 and Amendment 25–98 in the certification basis, and were not considered when those airworthiness standards were established. The existing regulations do not provide adequate or appropriate safety standards for seat designs that incorporate non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panels in their designs. To provide a level of safety that is equivalent to that afforded to the balance of the cabin, additional airworthiness standards, in the form of special conditions, are necessary. These special conditions supplement § 25.853. The requirements contained in these special conditions consist of applying the identical test conditions, required of all other large panels in the cabin, to seats with non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panels. A non-traditional, large, non-metallic panel, in this case, is defined as a panel with exposed surface areas greater than 1.5 square feet installed per seat place. The panel may consist of either a single component or multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of parts of the seat where these non-traditional panels are installed include, but are not limited to: seat backs, bottoms and leg/ foot rests, kick panels, back shells, credenzas, and associated furniture. Examples of traditional exempted parts of the seat include: Arm caps, armrest close-outs such as end bays and armreststyled center consoles, food trays, video monitors, and shrouds. Clarification of ‘‘Exposed’’ ‘‘Exposed’’ is considered to include panels that are directly exposed to the PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 passenger cabin in the traditional sense, and panels that are enveloped, such as by a dress cover. Traditional fabrics or leathers currently used on seats are excluded from these special conditions. These materials must still comply with §§ 25.853(a) and 25.853(c) if used as a covering for a seat cushion, or § 25.853(a) if installed elsewhere on the seat. Non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels covered with traditional fabrics or leathers will be tested without their coverings or covering attachments. Discussion In the early 1980s, the FAA extensively researched the effects of post-crash flammability in the passenger cabin. As a result of this research and service experience, the FAA adopted new rules for interior surfaces associated with large surface area parts. Specifically, the rules require measurement of heat release and smoke emission (part 25, Appendix F, parts IV and V) for the affected parts. Heat release has been shown to have a direct correlation with post-crash fire survival time. The materials that comply with the standards (i.e., § 25.853 titled ‘‘Compartment interiors’’ as amended by Amendments 25–61 and 25–66) extend survival time by approximately two minutes over materials that do not comply. When Amendment 25–61 was written, the potential application of the requirement to seats was explored. The seat frame itself was not a concern because it was made primarily of aluminum, and there were only small amounts of non-metallic materials (e.g., a food tray table and armrest closeout, approximate total surface area of 1.5 square feet). The overall effect on survivability was negligible if these panels met the heat release and smoke requirements. Therefore the requirements did not address seats, and the preambles to both Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) 85–10 and the final rule (Amendment 25–61) specifically note that they were excluded because the recently-adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions will greatly inhibit involvement of the seats. In the late 1990s, when seat designs were evolving to include large nonmetallic panels with surface areas that would impact survivability during a cabin fire event comparable to partitions or galleys, the FAA issued Policy Memorandum 97–112–39, ‘‘Guidance for Flammability Testing of Seat/ Console Installations,’’ dated October 17, 1997. The memo noted that large surface area panels must comply with heat release and smoke emission E:\FR\FM\18SER1.SGM 18SER1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 18, 2012 / Rules and Regulations requirements, even if they were attached to a seat. If the FAA had not issued such policy, seat designs could have been viewed as a loophole to the airworthiness standards that would result in an unacceptable decrease in survivability during a cabin fire event. The following paragraphs are the pertinent regulatory information involving § 25.853. NPRM 85–10 (50 FR 15038, April 16, 1985): ‘‘Seats would not be tested [to heat release and smoke emission] because the recently-adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions will greatly inhibit involvement of the seats.’’ Final Rule at Amendment 25–61 (51 FR 26206, August 20, 1986): ‘‘The primary purpose of the new flammability standards [heat release and smoke emission] is to ensure that interior materials with large outer surface areas will not become involved rapidly and contribute to a fire when exposed to flames.’’ Final Rule at Amendment 25–66 (53 FR 32584, September 26, 1988): ‘‘Two commentors suggest editorial changes for clarity. One believes that a new [section] should be added to state that, ‘smaller items, such as windows, window shades, or curtains, as well as floor coverings, floor structure, seats, and service items, are not included and do not have to meet the requirements in (a–1) [heat release and smoke emission]. All of such materials have to meet the flammability requirements prescribed in paragraph (a) [Bunsen burner] of this part.’ As discussed in the preamble to Notice 85–10, these would be correct statements. It does not appear, however, that clarity would be enhanced by their addition. These items are clearly not required to comply with the new standards [heat release and smoke emission] due to their absence in Sec. 25.853(a–1).’’ 14 CFR 25.853, Compartment interiors, at Amendment 25–72 (55 FR 29774, July 20, 1990): (c) For airplanes with passenger capacities of 20 or more, interior ceiling and wall panels (other than lighting lenses), partitions, and the outer surfaces of galleys, large cabinets and stowage compartments (other than under seat stowage compartments and compartments for stowing small items, such as magazines and maps) must also meet the test requirements of parts IV [heat release] and V [smoke emission] of Appendix F of this part, or other approved equivalent method, in addition to the flammability requirements prescribed in paragraph (a) [Bunsen burner] of this section. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:22 Sep 17, 2012 Jkt 226001 Final Rule at Amendment 25–83 (March 6, 1995): ‘‘The distinction between parts with large surface areas, which must meet the new standards [heat release and smoke emission], and those with smaller surface areas is very difficult * * * It is not possible to cite a specific size that will apply in all installations; however, as a general rule, components with exposed-surface areas of one square foot or less may be considered small enough that they do not have to meet the new standards. Components with exposedsurface areas greater than two square feet may be considered large enough that they do have to meet the new standards. Those with exposed-surface areas greater than one square foot, but less than two square feet, must be considered in conjunction with the areas of the cabin in which they are installed before a determination could be made.’’ The intent of the heat release and smoke emission standards is to include minimum panel sizes on the order of one to two square feet. This panel size sets the acceptable level of safety in the cabin. Traditional seat designs have approximately 1.5 square feet of nonmetallic panel material per seat place (a food tray table and armrest closeout) and previously have been excluded from the heat release and smoke standards. For example, for a traditional economy class triple place seat assembly, the exclusion is 4.5 square feet. The intent of the Special Conditions is to maintain this accepted level of safety and be consistent with the average minimum panel size in the balance of the cabin interior. Therefore, we are allowing up to 1.5 square feet of nonmetallic panel material per seat place to be excluded from the heat release and smoke emission standards. However, this exclusion from heat release and smoke emission does not provide the material additional relief from the other standards such as 14 CFR part 25 Appendix F, parts I and II. There are no changes to how those standards are applied. The FAA recognizes that different manufacturing techniques have associated cost differences and therefore are allowing the applicant to designate which nonmetallic panels comprise the 1.5 square foot exclusion. This determination will allow for flexibility in design and a manufacturing cost savings. Applicability As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes. Should Embraer S.A. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 57483 apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model on the same type certificate incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well. Under standard practice, the effective date of final special conditions would be 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register; however, as the certification date for the Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes is imminent, the FAA finds that good cause exists to make these special conditions effective upon issuance. Conclusion This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on the Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series of airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25 Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704. The Special Conditions Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for Embraer S.A. Models EMB–135 and EMB–145 series airplanes. 1. Compliance with 14 CFR part 25 Appendix F, parts IV and V, heat release and smoke emission, is required for seats that incorporate non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panels that may either be a single component or multiple components in a concentrated area in their design. 2. The applicant may designate up to and including 1.5 square feet of nontraditional, nonmetallic panel material per seat place that does not have to comply with No. 1. A triple seat assembly may have a total of 4.5 square feet excluded on any portion of the assembly (e.g., outboard seat place 1 sq. ft., middle 1 sq. ft., and inboard 2.5 sq. ft.) 3. Seats need not meet the test requirements of 14 CFR part 25 Appendix F, parts IV and V when installed in compartments that are not otherwise required to meet these requirements. Examples include: a. Airplanes with passenger capacities of 19 or less, b. Airplanes that do not have smoke and heat release in their certification E:\FR\FM\18SER1.SGM 18SER1 57484 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 18, 2012 / Rules and Regulations basis and do not need to comply with the requirements per 14 CFR 121.312, c. Airplanes exempted from smoke and heat release requirements. Definition of ‘‘non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panel’’—A non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panel, in this case, is defined as a panel with exposed surface areas greater than 1.5 square feet installed per seat place. The panel may consist of either a single component or multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of parts of the seat where these non-traditional areas are installed include, but are not limited to, seat backs, bottoms and leg/foot rests, kick panels, back shells, credenzas, and associated furniture. Examples of traditional exempted areas are: arm caps, armrest close-outs such as end bays and armrest-styled center consoles, food trays, video monitors and shrouds. Clarification of ‘‘exposed’’—Exposed is considered to include panels that are directly exposed to the passenger cabin in the traditional sense, plus those panels enveloped, such as by a dress cover. Traditional fabrics or leathers currently used on seats are excluded from these special conditions. These materials must still comply with §§ 25.853(a) and 25.853(c) if used as a covering for a seat cushion, or § 25.853(a) if installed elsewhere on the seat. Non-traditional large, nonmetallic panels covered with traditional fabrics or leathers will be tested without their coverings or covering attachments. Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 11, 2012. Ali Bahrami, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2012–22831 Filed 9–17–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2012–0671; Directorate Identifier 2011–NM–096–AD; Amendment 39–17197; AD 2012–19–02] RIN 2120–AA64 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: We are superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330–243, -341, -342 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:24 Sep 17, 2012 Jkt 226001 and -343 airplanes. That AD currently requires modifying certain cowl assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers. This new AD requires removing certain C-duct assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers from service at certain designated life limits, and also adds airplanes to the applicability. This AD was prompted by new life limits on certain thrust reverser C-duct assemblies. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the hinges integrated into the 12 o’clock beam of the thrust reversers, which could result in separation of a thrust reverser from the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. DATES: This AD becomes effective October 23, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov or in person at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM–116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057–3356; telephone (425) 227–1138; fax (425) 227–1149. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to include an AD that would apply to the specified products. That NPRM was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2012 (77 FR 37829), and proposed to supersede AD 2005– 25–21, Amendment 39–14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005). That NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states: The life limits of the thrust reversers CDucts are not addressed by the definition of the structural life limits of Safe Life items as defined in the A330 Airworthiness Limitations Section—ALS Part 1. As a result, these life limits are covered by an Airworthiness Directive (AD). These life limits are due to unexpected high fatigue loads (measured during certification tests) on the hinges integrated into the 12 o’clock beam, which forms the upper extreme edge of the thrust reverser CDuct of Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. ´ ´ The aim of the [Direction Generale de l’Aviation Civile] (DGAC) France AD F– 2001–528 was to mandate the life limits, depending of the modifications applied to the C-Duct. Revision 1 of the DGAC France AD F– 2001–528 deferred the accomplishment PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 threshold of the modification to be applied in-service from 6,000 flight cycles (FC) to 6,500 FC. Revision 2 of DGAC France AD F–2001– 528 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2005– 25–21, Amendment 39–14414 (70 FR 73919, December 14, 2005)] was issued to update again the accomplishment threshold from 6,500 FC to 7,200 FC. This [European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)] AD retains the requirements of DGAC France AD F–2001–528 R2, which is superseded, and adds [certain] life limits. The action required in this AD is removing certain C-duct assemblies of the left- and right-hand thrust reversers from service at certain designated life limits. This AD also adds Model A330– 243F airplanes to the applicability, and revises the applicability to include all airplanes of the affected models. The unsafe condition is fatigue cracking of the hinges integrated into the 12 o’clock beam of the thrust reversers, which could result in separation of a thrust reverser from the airplane, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket. Comments We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (77 FR, 37829, June 25, 2012), or on the determination of the cost to the public. Conclusion We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD as proposed, except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes: • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (77 FR 37829, June 25, 2012) for correcting the unsafe condition; and • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (77 FR 37829, June 25, 2012). Costs of Compliance We estimate that this AD will affect about 17 products of U.S. registry. We estimate that it will take about 48 work-hours per product to comply with the new basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per workhour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD to the U.S. operators to be $69,360, or $4,080 per product. Authority for This Rulemaking Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA’s authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, E:\FR\FM\18SER1.SGM 18SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 181 (Tuesday, September 18, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57481-57484]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22831]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 18, 2012 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 57481]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0984; Special Conditions No. 25-468-SC]


Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 
Series; Airplane Seats with Non-Traditional, Large, Non-Metallic Panels

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: These special conditions are issued for the Embraer S.A. 
Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes. These airplanes will have 
a novel or unusual design feature associated with the airplane seats 
that have non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels that would affect 
survivability during a post-crash fire event. The applicable 
airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety 
standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the 
additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary 
to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the 
existing airworthiness standards.

DATES: The effective date of these special conditions is September 11, 
2012. We must receive your comments by November 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number [FAA-2012-0984] 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending 
your comments electronically.
    Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, West 
Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in 
Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except federal holidays.
    Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without 
change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal 
information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the 
docket web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all 
comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the 
individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an 
association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 
2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/ gov/.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 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: Jayson Claar, FAA, Airframe and Cabin 
Safety Branch, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft 
Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-
3356; telephone 425-227-2194; facsimile 425-227-1232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA has determined that notice of, and 
opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are 
impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay 
issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected 
aircraft. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has 
been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances 
with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that 
good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon 
issuance.
    We anticipate that seats with non-traditional, large, non-metallic 
panels will be installed in other makes and models of airplanes. We 
have made the determination to require special conditions for all 
applications requesting the installation of seats with non-traditional, 
large, non-metallic panels until the airworthiness requirements can be 
revised to address this issue. Having the same standards across the 
range of airplane makes and models will ensure consistent ruling for 
the aviation industry.

Comments Invited

    We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by 
sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments 
reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.
    We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for 
comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments 
we receive.

Background

    On April 17, 2012, Embraer S.A. applied for a change to Type 
Certificate No. T00011AT to offer a new passenger seat type that, 
according to the applicant, is lightweight, comfortable, and slim in 
profile, maximizing passenger space in the Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 
series airplanes. The Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series 
airplanes are pressurized, low-wing, ``T'' tail, transport category 
airplanes with tricycle landing gear. They are powered by two Rolls 
Royce model AE3007A series engines, and carry a maximum of 50 
passengers.
    The applicable regulations, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations 
(14 CFR) part 25, do not require seats to meet the more stringent 
flammability standards required of large, non-metallic panels in the 
cabin interior. At the time the applicable rules were written, seats 
were designed with a metal frame covered by fabric, not with large, 
non-metallic panels. Seats also met the then-recently adopted standards 
for flammability of seat cushions. With the seat design being mostly 
fabric and metal, the contribution to a fire in the cabin had been 
minimized and was not considered a threat. For these reasons,

[[Page 57482]]

seats did not need to be tested to heat-release and smoke-emission 
requirements.
    Seat designs have now evolved to occasionally include non-
traditional, large, non-metallic panels. Taken in total, the surface 
area of these panels is on the same order as the sidewall and overhead 
stowage bin interior panels. To provide the level of passenger 
protection intended by the airworthiness standards, these non-
traditional, large, non-metallic panels in the cabin must meet the 
standards of part 25, Appendix F, parts IV and V, heat-release and 
smoke-emission requirements.

Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.101, Embraer S.A. must show that 
the Model EMB-135 and EMB145 series airplanes, as changed, continue to 
meet the applicable provisions of the regulations incorporated by 
reference in Type Certificate No. T00011AT or the applicable 
regulations in effect on the date of application for the change. The 
regulations incorporated by reference in the type certificate are 
commonly referred to as the ``original type certification basis.'' 
Refer to Type Certificate No. T00011AT for the certification basis.
    Only airplanes associated with new seat certification programs 
approved after the effective date of these special conditions will be 
affected by the requirements in these special conditions. Previously 
certificated interiors on the existing airplane fleet and follow-on 
deliveries of airplanes with previously certificated interiors are not 
affected.
    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness 
regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or 
appropriate safety standards for the Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and 
EMB-145 series airplanes because of a novel or unusual design feature, 
special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of Sec.  21.16.
    Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which 
they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended 
later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or 
unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on 
the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or 
unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the 
other model under Sec.  21.101.
    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special 
conditions, the Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series 
airplanes must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission 
requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements 
of 14 CFR part 36.
    The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in 
accordance with Sec.  11.38, and they become part of the type-
certification basis under Sec.  21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes will 
incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature: These models 
offer interior arrangements that include passenger seats that 
incorporate non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels in lieu of the 
traditional metal frame covered by fabric. The flammability properties 
of these panels have been shown to significantly affect the 
survivability of the cabin in the case of fire. These seats are 
considered a novel design for transport-category airplanes that include 
Amendment 25-61 and Amendment 25-98 in the certification basis, and 
were not considered when those airworthiness standards were 
established.
    The existing regulations do not provide adequate or appropriate 
safety standards for seat designs that incorporate non-traditional, 
large, non-metallic panels in their designs. To provide a level of 
safety that is equivalent to that afforded to the balance of the cabin, 
additional airworthiness standards, in the form of special conditions, 
are necessary. These special conditions supplement Sec.  25.853. The 
requirements contained in these special conditions consist of applying 
the identical test conditions, required of all other large panels in 
the cabin, to seats with non-traditional, large, non-metallic panels.
    A non-traditional, large, non-metallic panel, in this case, is 
defined as a panel with exposed surface areas greater than 1.5 square 
feet installed per seat place. The panel may consist of either a single 
component or multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of 
parts of the seat where these non-traditional panels are installed 
include, but are not limited to: seat backs, bottoms and leg/foot 
rests, kick panels, back shells, credenzas, and associated furniture. 
Examples of traditional exempted parts of the seat include: Arm caps, 
armrest close-outs such as end bays and armrest-styled center consoles, 
food trays, video monitors, and shrouds.

Clarification of ``Exposed''

    ``Exposed'' is considered to include panels that are directly 
exposed to the passenger cabin in the traditional sense, and panels 
that are enveloped, such as by a dress cover. Traditional fabrics or 
leathers currently used on seats are excluded from these special 
conditions. These materials must still comply with Sec. Sec.  25.853(a) 
and 25.853(c) if used as a covering for a seat cushion, or Sec.  
25.853(a) if installed elsewhere on the seat. Non-traditional, large, 
non-metallic panels covered with traditional fabrics or leathers will 
be tested without their coverings or covering attachments.

Discussion

    In the early 1980s, the FAA extensively researched the effects of 
post-crash flammability in the passenger cabin. As a result of this 
research and service experience, the FAA adopted new rules for interior 
surfaces associated with large surface area parts. Specifically, the 
rules require measurement of heat release and smoke emission (part 25, 
Appendix F, parts IV and V) for the affected parts. Heat release has 
been shown to have a direct correlation with post-crash fire survival 
time. The materials that comply with the standards (i.e., Sec.  25.853 
titled ``Compartment interiors'' as amended by Amendments 25-61 and 25-
66) extend survival time by approximately two minutes over materials 
that do not comply.
    When Amendment 25-61 was written, the potential application of the 
requirement to seats was explored. The seat frame itself was not a 
concern because it was made primarily of aluminum, and there were only 
small amounts of non-metallic materials (e.g., a food tray table and 
armrest closeout, approximate total surface area of 1.5 square feet). 
The overall effect on survivability was negligible if these panels met 
the heat release and smoke requirements. Therefore the requirements did 
not address seats, and the preambles to both Notice of Proposed Rule 
Making (NPRM) 85-10 and the final rule (Amendment 25-61) specifically 
note that they were excluded because the recently-adopted standards for 
flammability of seat cushions will greatly inhibit involvement of the 
seats.
    In the late 1990s, when seat designs were evolving to include large 
non-metallic panels with surface areas that would impact survivability 
during a cabin fire event comparable to partitions or galleys, the FAA 
issued Policy Memorandum 97-112-39, ``Guidance for Flammability Testing 
of Seat/Console Installations,'' dated October 17, 1997. The memo noted 
that large surface area panels must comply with heat release and smoke 
emission

[[Page 57483]]

requirements, even if they were attached to a seat. If the FAA had not 
issued such policy, seat designs could have been viewed as a loophole 
to the airworthiness standards that would result in an unacceptable 
decrease in survivability during a cabin fire event.
    The following paragraphs are the pertinent regulatory information 
involving Sec.  25.853.
    NPRM 85-10 (50 FR 15038, April 16, 1985): ``Seats would not be 
tested [to heat release and smoke emission] because the recently-
adopted standards for flammability of seat cushions will greatly 
inhibit involvement of the seats.''
    Final Rule at Amendment 25-61 (51 FR 26206, August 20, 1986): ``The 
primary purpose of the new flammability standards [heat release and 
smoke emission] is to ensure that interior materials with large outer 
surface areas will not become involved rapidly and contribute to a fire 
when exposed to flames.''
    Final Rule at Amendment 25-66 (53 FR 32584, September 26, 1988): 
``Two commentors suggest editorial changes for clarity. One believes 
that a new [section] should be added to state that, `smaller items, 
such as windows, window shades, or curtains, as well as floor 
coverings, floor structure, seats, and service items, are not included 
and do not have to meet the requirements in (a-1) [heat release and 
smoke emission]. All of such materials have to meet the flammability 
requirements prescribed in paragraph (a) [Bunsen burner] of this part.' 
As discussed in the preamble to Notice 85-10, these would be correct 
statements. It does not appear, however, that clarity would be enhanced 
by their addition. These items are clearly not required to comply with 
the new standards [heat release and smoke emission] due to their 
absence in Sec. 25.853(a-1).''
    14 CFR 25.853, Compartment interiors, at Amendment 25-72 (55 FR 
29774, July 20, 1990):
    (c) For airplanes with passenger capacities of 20 or more, interior 
ceiling and wall panels (other than lighting lenses), partitions, and 
the outer surfaces of galleys, large cabinets and stowage compartments 
(other than under seat stowage compartments and compartments for 
stowing small items, such as magazines and maps) must also meet the 
test requirements of parts IV [heat release] and V [smoke emission] of 
Appendix F of this part, or other approved equivalent method, in 
addition to the flammability requirements prescribed in paragraph (a) 
[Bunsen burner] of this section.
    Final Rule at Amendment 25-83 (March 6, 1995):
    ``The distinction between parts with large surface areas, which 
must meet the new standards [heat release and smoke emission], and 
those with smaller surface areas is very difficult * * * It is not 
possible to cite a specific size that will apply in all installations; 
however, as a general rule, components with exposed-surface areas of 
one square foot or less may be considered small enough that they do not 
have to meet the new standards. Components with exposed-surface areas 
greater than two square feet may be considered large enough that they 
do have to meet the new standards. Those with exposed-surface areas 
greater than one square foot, but less than two square feet, must be 
considered in conjunction with the areas of the cabin in which they are 
installed before a determination could be made.''
    The intent of the heat release and smoke emission standards is to 
include minimum panel sizes on the order of one to two square feet. 
This panel size sets the acceptable level of safety in the cabin. 
Traditional seat designs have approximately 1.5 square feet of 
nonmetallic panel material per seat place (a food tray table and 
armrest closeout) and previously have been excluded from the heat 
release and smoke standards. For example, for a traditional economy 
class triple place seat assembly, the exclusion is 4.5 square feet. The 
intent of the Special Conditions is to maintain this accepted level of 
safety and be consistent with the average minimum panel size in the 
balance of the cabin interior. Therefore, we are allowing up to 1.5 
square feet of nonmetallic panel material per seat place to be excluded 
from the heat release and smoke emission standards. However, this 
exclusion from heat release and smoke emission does not provide the 
material additional relief from the other standards such as 14 CFR part 
25 Appendix F, parts I and II. There are no changes to how those 
standards are applied.
    The FAA recognizes that different manufacturing techniques have 
associated cost differences and therefore are allowing the applicant to 
designate which nonmetallic panels comprise the 1.5 square foot 
exclusion. This determination will allow for flexibility in design and 
a manufacturing cost savings.

Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the 
Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes. Should 
Embraer S.A. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate 
to include another model on the same type certificate incorporating the 
same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would 
apply to that model as well.
    Under standard practice, the effective date of final special 
conditions would be 30 days after the date of publication in the 
Federal Register; however, as the certification date for the Embraer 
S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series airplanes is imminent, the FAA 
finds that good cause exists to make these special conditions effective 
upon issuance.

Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features 
on the Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-145 series of airplanes. It 
is not a rule of general applicability.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of 
the type certification basis for Embraer S.A. Models EMB-135 and EMB-
145 series airplanes.
    1. Compliance with 14 CFR part 25 Appendix F, parts IV and V, heat 
release and smoke emission, is required for seats that incorporate non-
traditional, large, nonmetallic panels that may either be a single 
component or multiple components in a concentrated area in their 
design.
    2. The applicant may designate up to and including 1.5 square feet 
of non-traditional, nonmetallic panel material per seat place that does 
not have to comply with No. 1. A triple seat assembly may have a total 
of 4.5 square feet excluded on any portion of the assembly (e.g., 
outboard seat place 1 sq. ft., middle 1 sq. ft., and inboard 2.5 sq. 
ft.)
    3. Seats need not meet the test requirements of 14 CFR part 25 
Appendix F, parts IV and V when installed in compartments that are not 
otherwise required to meet these requirements. Examples include:
    a. Airplanes with passenger capacities of 19 or less,
    b. Airplanes that do not have smoke and heat release in their 
certification

[[Page 57484]]

basis and do not need to comply with the requirements per 14 CFR 
121.312,
    c. Airplanes exempted from smoke and heat release requirements.
    Definition of ``non-traditional, large, nonmetallic panel''--A non-
traditional, large, nonmetallic panel, in this case, is defined as a 
panel with exposed surface areas greater than 1.5 square feet installed 
per seat place. The panel may consist of either a single component or 
multiple components in a concentrated area. Examples of parts of the 
seat where these non-traditional areas are installed include, but are 
not limited to, seat backs, bottoms and leg/foot rests, kick panels, 
back shells, credenzas, and associated furniture. Examples of 
traditional exempted areas are: arm caps, armrest close-outs such as 
end bays and armrest-styled center consoles, food trays, video monitors 
and shrouds.
    Clarification of ``exposed''--Exposed is considered to include 
panels that are directly exposed to the passenger cabin in the 
traditional sense, plus those panels enveloped, such as by a dress 
cover. Traditional fabrics or leathers currently used on seats are 
excluded from these special conditions. These materials must still 
comply with Sec. Sec.  25.853(a) and 25.853(c) if used as a covering 
for a seat cushion, or Sec.  25.853(a) if installed elsewhere on the 
seat. Non-traditional large, nonmetallic panels covered with 
traditional fabrics or leathers will be tested without their coverings 
or covering attachments.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 11, 2012.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-22831 Filed 9-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P