Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), 12697-12698 [2015-05500]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 46 / Tuesday, March 10, 2015 / Notices 3. Specified Data Elements We will conduct the match using the Social Security number, name, date of birth, and VA claim number on both the VA file and the Supplemental Security Record. 4. Frequency of Matching VA will furnish us with an electronic file containing VA compensation and pension payment data monthly. The actual match will take place approximately during the first week of every month. E. Inclusive Dates of the Matching Program The effective date of this matching program is November 11, 2014 provided that the following notice periods have lapsed: 30 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register and 40 days after notice of the matching program is sent to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. The matching program will continue for 18 months from the effective date and, if both agencies meet certain conditions, it may extend for an additional 12 months thereafter. [FR Doc. 2015–05510 Filed 3–9–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191–02–P DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9058] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Prepare for the One Hundred and Second Session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Committee; Notice of Public Meeting Dated: February 26, 2015. Marc Zlomek, U.S. Coast Guard Detailee, Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, Department of State. The Department of State will conduct an open meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 3rd, 2015, in Room 2E16– 06, United States Coast Guard Headquarters, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE., Washington, DC 20593– 7213. The primary purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the one hundred and second Session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Committee to be held at the IMO Headquarters, United Kingdom, April 14–April 16, 2015. The agenda items to be considered include: • Adoption of the agenda and report on delegation credentials • HNS Protocol, 2010 • Fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident • Piracy • Technical cooperation activities related to maritime legislation • Review of the status of conventions and other treaty instruments emanating from the Legal Committee VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:53 Mar 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 Members of the public may attend this meeting up to the seating capacity of the room. To facilitate the building security process, and to request reasonable accommodation, those who plan to attend should contact the meeting coordinator, Ms. Bronwyn Douglass, by email at bronwyn.douglass@uscg.mil, by phone at 202.372.3793, or in writing at Commandant (CG–094), ATTN: Office of Maritime & International Law, US Coast Guard STOP 7213, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE., Washington DC 20593– 7213 not later than March 27, 2015, 7 days prior to the meeting. Requests made after March 27, 2015 most likely will not be accommodated, and same day requests cannot be accommodated due to the building’s security process. Please note that due to security considerations, two valid, government issued photo identifications must be presented to gain entrance to the Headquarters building. The Headquarters building is accessible by taxi and privately owned conveyance (public transportation is not generally available). However, parking in the vicinity of the building is extremely limited. Additional information regarding security and parking may be found at: http://www.uscg.mil/ baseNCR/documents/visit_ instructions.pdf. Additional information regarding this and other IMO public meetings may be found at: www.uscg.mil/imo. [FR Doc. 2015–05241 Filed 3–9–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–09–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice recommending voluntary change to securing existing ELTs as specified in Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C126b, 406MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter. AGENCY: FAA evaluated five separate courses of action with regard to the airworthiness approvals for securing ELTs with hook and loop fasteners. This notice summarizes the inadequacies of hook and loop fasteners as a means for securing ELTs, and avoids placing an undue burden on aircraft owners while SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12697 acknowledging the voluntary efforts of ELT manufacturers to improve designs. DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 9, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Charisse R. Green, AIR–131, Federal Aviation Administration, 470 L’Enfant Plaza, Suite 4102, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone (202) 267–8551, fax (202) 267–8589, email to: Charisse.Green@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Investigations of some recent aircraft accidents disclosed that ELTs mounted with hook and loop fasteners became dislodged from their mounting trays on impact. The separation of those ELTs from their mounting trays caused their antenna connection to sever, thus rendering the ELTs to be ineffective and unable to perform their intended function. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–95), Section 347(b)(1), required the FAA to determine if the ELT mounting requirements and retention tests specified by TSO–C91a and TSO–C126 were adequate to assess retention capabilities in ELT designs. Based on the determination, the Act, in Section 347(b)(2), required the Administrator to make any necessary revisions to the requirements and retention test to ensure ELTs remained properly retained in the event of an aircraft accident. The FAA evaluated the mounting requirements and retention tests specified in TSO–C91a, TSO–C126, and TSO–C126a. After this evaluation, the FAA determined these standards did not adequately address the use of hook and loop fasteners. Hook and loop fasteners were not an acceptable means of compliance to meet the mounting and retention requirements of the ELT TSOs. While the evaluation of installation approval using hook and loop fasteners may meet the TSO requirements for retention forces in laboratory conditions, accident investigations found these fasteners did not perform their intended function. FAA Concerns The agency identified the following concerns after completing its evaluation of the use of hook and loop fasteners: (1) Hook and loop fasteners fail to retain the ELT when insufficient tension is applied to close the fastener. There is no repeatable method for installation and no method to evaluate the tension of the hook and loop fastener. The allowance for pilots to secure ELTs to the aircraft when changing ELT batteries E:\FR\FM\10MRN1.SGM 10MRN1 12698 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 46 / Tuesday, March 10, 2015 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES further increases the potential for inconsistent and unsatisfactory installations; (2) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension may stretch or loosen over time due to wear, fluids, vibration, and repeated use, leading to insufficient tension to retain the ELT; (3) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension do not provide stated retention capability due to debris which can contaminate the hooks and loops of the fastener; and (4) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension degrade due to environmental factors such as repeated heating and cooling cycles, temperature extremes, and contamination resulting from location in equipment areas. FAA Actions After publishing our initial intent to withdraw the TSO Authorizations (TSOA) for TSO–C91a, and TSO–C126/ 126a (See 135 FR 41,473 (2012)), the FAA considered five courses of action to mitigate safety concerns with the use of hook and loop fasteners to retain ELTs. These actions addressed design, production, and airworthiness approvals for both the TSO and retrofit for existing installations. Below is a summary of the actions and their outcomes: (1) Recommendation to revise Installation and Maintenance manuals. The FAA published a Safety Awareness Information Bulletin (SAIB) HQ–12–32, Hook and Loop Style Fasteners as a Mounting Mechanism for Emergency Locator Transmitters, on May 23, 2012. The SAIB outlined actions ELT manufacturers could take to improve their installation and maintenance instructions to mitigate the concerns with hook and loop retention. (2) Revised TSO–C126a for 406 MHz ELTs. The FAA published TSO–C126b, 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters, on November 26, 2012. The TSO precluded the use of hook and loop fasteners as a primary means of securing an ELT in its mounting tray for future ELT designs. TSO–C91a was previously cancelled, and a revision was not needed. (3) Determined need for an Airworthiness Directive to correct ELTs with hook and loop fasteners. The FAA accomplished a Corrective Action Review Board (CARB) to determine if existing airworthiness approvals and existing Technical Standard Order authorizations required 14 CFR part 39 Airworthiness Directive (AD) action. The CARB determined an AD was not warranted. (4) Cease airworthiness approval of ELTs with hook and loop fasteners. Not VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:53 Mar 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 necessary. Manufacturers with ELT designs incorporating hook and loop fasteners which failed to perform their intended function in accidents either have revised or are in the process of revising their designs, minimizing the need for policy in this area. (5) Withdrawal of ELT TSO Authorizations. Not pursued. Manufacturers with ELT designs incorporating hook and loop fasteners that failed to perform their intended function have either revised or are revising their designs, minimizing the need for this action. Conclusion The FAA issued an SAIB providing ELT installation and maintenance guidance and revised TSO–C126a to eliminate hook and loop fasteners from future TSO designs. The FAA is not issuing an airworthiness directive or a policy disallowing installation approval of ELTs that use hook and loop fasteners. Lastly, the FAA decided not to take the action of withdrawing the TSO authorizations of ELTs utilizing hook and loop fasteners as a mounting mechanism, but ask those aircraft owners/operators with ELTs secured with hook and loop fasteners in their aircraft to voluntarily switch to a metal strap type restraint method. Therefore, the proposed June 30, 2014 date for TSOA withdrawals is no longer applicable. Issued in Washington, DC, on March 4, 2015. Susan J.M. Cabler, Acting Manager, Design, Manufacturing, and Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2015–05500 Filed 3–9–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Underwater Locating Devices (Acoustic) (Self-Powered) Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, DOT. ACTION: Notice to extend the revocation date of Technical Standard Order (TSO) C–121 and C–121a, Underwater Locating Devices (ULD) (Acoustic) (SelfPowered). AGENCY: This Notice extends the planned revocation date of Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorization for the production of Underwater Locating Devices (ULD) (Acoustic) (Self-Powered) manufactured to TSO–C121 and TSO C– 121a specifications. This action is SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 necessary to facilitate an efficient transition to UDLs with a 90-day minimum battery operating life manufactured to the TSO–C121b specifications. Mr. John Barry, AIR–130, Federal Aviation Administration, 470 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Suite 4102, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone 202–267–1665, Fax 202– 267–8589, email: john.barry@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Background The FAA published a Notice in the Federal Resister, 76 FR 52734, August 23, 2011, announcing the planned revocation of TSO–C121 and TSO– C121a. Notice of that conformation was published in the Federal Register, 77 FR 13174, March 5, 2012. Thus far, only two manufacturers currently hold TSO authorizations (TSOAs) under TSO– C121 or TSO–C121a; both are domestic. Both manufacturers are now authorized to produce longer duration TSO–C121b units as envisioned by the March 5, 2012 Federal Register notice. One manufacturer received its TSO–C121b authorization in December 2014, the other in February 2015. Although both manufacturers received approval to manufacture devices meeting the current standard, the TSOA by itself does not authorize installation in an aircraft. Recent events have driven additional testing requirements for installation of lithium batteries, which these devices contain. Prior to the FAA’s issuing the TSOAs to the two applicants, testing of the lithium batteries produced satisfactory results, such that the newly approved TSO– C121b devices will contain the effects of catastrophic battery failures. The ULD manufacturer’s data may be used to support installations of the device on an aircraft, but each installer must analyze their design for safety impacts on their aircraft. A major aircraft manufacturer requested additional time to complete testing and analysis of the TSO–C121b device’s installation. They also requested additional time to update their part numbers and drawings in their various Type Certificated (TC) aircraft once the analysis is complete. Granting this additional time will prevent a disruption in aircraft production as the necessary documentation changes are updated to reflect the current production of TSO– C121b devices. Conclusion Based on the recent award of TSO– C121b authorizations, additional testing and analysis of lithium battery E:\FR\FM\10MRN1.SGM 10MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 46 (Tuesday, March 10, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12697-12698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05500]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration


Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs)

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice recommending voluntary change to securing existing ELTs 
as specified in Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C126b, 406MHz Emergency 
Locator Transmitter.

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SUMMARY: FAA evaluated five separate courses of action with regard to 
the airworthiness approvals for securing ELTs with hook and loop 
fasteners. This notice summarizes the inadequacies of hook and loop 
fasteners as a means for securing ELTs, and avoids placing an undue 
burden on aircraft owners while acknowledging the voluntary efforts of 
ELT manufacturers to improve designs.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 9, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Charisse R. Green, AIR-131, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 470 L'Enfant Plaza, Suite 4102, 
Washington, DC 20024. Telephone (202) 267-8551, fax (202) 267-8589, 
email to: Charisse.Green@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Investigations of some recent aircraft accidents disclosed that 
ELTs mounted with hook and loop fasteners became dislodged from their 
mounting trays on impact. The separation of those ELTs from their 
mounting trays caused their antenna connection to sever, thus rendering 
the ELTs to be ineffective and unable to perform their intended 
function.
    The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95), 
Section 347(b)(1), required the FAA to determine if the ELT mounting 
requirements and retention tests specified by TSO-C91a and TSO-C126 
were adequate to assess retention capabilities in ELT designs. Based on 
the determination, the Act, in Section 347(b)(2), required the 
Administrator to make any necessary revisions to the requirements and 
retention test to ensure ELTs remained properly retained in the event 
of an aircraft accident.
    The FAA evaluated the mounting requirements and retention tests 
specified in TSO-C91a, TSO-C126, and TSO-C126a. After this evaluation, 
the FAA determined these standards did not adequately address the use 
of hook and loop fasteners. Hook and loop fasteners were not an 
acceptable means of compliance to meet the mounting and retention 
requirements of the ELT TSOs. While the evaluation of installation 
approval using hook and loop fasteners may meet the TSO requirements 
for retention forces in laboratory conditions, accident investigations 
found these fasteners did not perform their intended function.

FAA Concerns

    The agency identified the following concerns after completing its 
evaluation of the use of hook and loop fasteners:
    (1) Hook and loop fasteners fail to retain the ELT when 
insufficient tension is applied to close the fastener. There is no 
repeatable method for installation and no method to evaluate the 
tension of the hook and loop fastener. The allowance for pilots to 
secure ELTs to the aircraft when changing ELT batteries

[[Page 12698]]

further increases the potential for inconsistent and unsatisfactory 
installations;
    (2) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension may stretch 
or loosen over time due to wear, fluids, vibration, and repeated use, 
leading to insufficient tension to retain the ELT;
    (3) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension do not 
provide stated retention capability due to debris which can contaminate 
the hooks and loops of the fastener; and
    (4) Hook and loop fasteners closed with proper tension degrade due 
to environmental factors such as repeated heating and cooling cycles, 
temperature extremes, and contamination resulting from location in 
equipment areas.

FAA Actions

    After publishing our initial intent to withdraw the TSO 
Authorizations (TSOA) for TSO-C91a, and TSO-C126/126a (See 135 FR 
41,473 (2012)), the FAA considered five courses of action to mitigate 
safety concerns with the use of hook and loop fasteners to retain ELTs. 
These actions addressed design, production, and airworthiness approvals 
for both the TSO and retrofit for existing installations. Below is a 
summary of the actions and their outcomes:
    (1) Recommendation to revise Installation and Maintenance manuals. 
The FAA published a Safety Awareness Information Bulletin (SAIB) HQ-12-
32, Hook and Loop Style Fasteners as a Mounting Mechanism for Emergency 
Locator Transmitters, on May 23, 2012. The SAIB outlined actions ELT 
manufacturers could take to improve their installation and maintenance 
instructions to mitigate the concerns with hook and loop retention.
    (2) Revised TSO-C126a for 406 MHz ELTs. The FAA published TSO-
C126b, 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters, on November 26, 2012. 
The TSO precluded the use of hook and loop fasteners as a primary means 
of securing an ELT in its mounting tray for future ELT designs. TSO-
C91a was previously cancelled, and a revision was not needed.
    (3) Determined need for an Airworthiness Directive to correct ELTs 
with hook and loop fasteners. The FAA accomplished a Corrective Action 
Review Board (CARB) to determine if existing airworthiness approvals 
and existing Technical Standard Order authorizations required 14 CFR 
part 39 Airworthiness Directive (AD) action. The CARB determined an AD 
was not warranted.
    (4) Cease airworthiness approval of ELTs with hook and loop 
fasteners. Not necessary. Manufacturers with ELT designs incorporating 
hook and loop fasteners which failed to perform their intended function 
in accidents either have revised or are in the process of revising 
their designs, minimizing the need for policy in this area.
    (5) Withdrawal of ELT TSO Authorizations. Not pursued. 
Manufacturers with ELT designs incorporating hook and loop fasteners 
that failed to perform their intended function have either revised or 
are revising their designs, minimizing the need for this action.

Conclusion

    The FAA issued an SAIB providing ELT installation and maintenance 
guidance and revised TSO-C126a to eliminate hook and loop fasteners 
from future TSO designs. The FAA is not issuing an airworthiness 
directive or a policy disallowing installation approval of ELTs that 
use hook and loop fasteners. Lastly, the FAA decided not to take the 
action of withdrawing the TSO authorizations of ELTs utilizing hook and 
loop fasteners as a mounting mechanism, but ask those aircraft owners/
operators with ELTs secured with hook and loop fasteners in their 
aircraft to voluntarily switch to a metal strap type restraint method. 
Therefore, the proposed June 30, 2014 date for TSOA withdrawals is no 
longer applicable.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 4, 2015.
Susan J.M. Cabler,
Acting Manager, Design, Manufacturing, and Airworthiness Division, 
Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-05500 Filed 3-9-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P