[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 167 (Thursday, August 28, 2003)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 51735-51737]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-22001]



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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. 2003-NM-173-AD]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Model 747-400, -400D, and -400F 
Series Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness 
directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 747-400, -
400D, and -400F series airplanes. This proposal would require reviewing 
airplane maintenance records; inspecting the yaw damper actuator 
portion of the upper and lower rudder power control modules (PCM) for 
cracking, and replacing the PCMs if necessary; and reporting airplane 
maintenance records review and inspection results to the manufacturer. 
This action is necessary to detect and correct cracking in the yaw 
damper actuator portion of the upper and lower rudder PCMs, which could 
result in an uncommanded left rudder hardover, consequent increased 
pilot workload, and possible runway departure upon landing. This action 
is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES: Comments must be received by September 29, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, 
Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-NM-173-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., 
Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this 
location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. Comments may be submitted via fax to (425) 227-1232. 
Comments may also be sent via the Internet using the following address: 
9-anm-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must 
contain ``Docket No. 2003-NM-173-AD'' in the subject line and need not 
be submitted in triplicate. Comments sent via the Internet as attached 
electronic files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 or 2000 or 
ASCII text.
    The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be 
obtained from Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, 
Washington 98124-2207. This information may be examined at the FAA, 
Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, 
Washington.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doug Tsuji, Aerospace Engineer, 
Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft 
Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-
4056; telephone (425) 917-6487; fax (425) 917-6590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the 
proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as 
they may desire. Communications shall identify the Rules Docket number 
and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All 
communications received on or before the closing date for comments, 
specified above, will be considered before taking action on the 
proposed rule. The proposals contained in this action may be changed in 
light of the comments received.
    Submit comments using the following format:
    [sbull] Organize comments issue-by-issue. For example, discuss a 
request to change the compliance time and a request to change the 
service bulletin reference as two separate issues.
    [sbull] For each issue, state what specific change to the proposed 
AD is being requested.
    [sbull] Include justification (e.g., reasons or data) for each 
request.
    Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, 
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All 
comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing 
date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested 
persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with 
the substance of this proposal will be filed in the Rules Docket.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
submitted in response to this action must submit a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket Number 2003-NM-173-AD.'' The postcard will be date stamped 
and returned to the commenter.

Availability of NPRMs

    Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request 
to the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules 
Docket No. 2003-NM-173-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 
98055-4056.

Discussion

    The FAA has received a report that the lower rudder of a Boeing 
Model 747-400 series airplane made an uncommanded move to the full left 
position (hardover) during flight. The flight crew used lateral and 
upper rudder controls to compensate for the lower rudder hardover. The 
flight crew used these controls and differential engine thrust to land 
the airplane. Investigation revealed that the yaw damper actuator 
portion of the lower rudder power control module (PCM) manifold was 
broken. The broken manifold is attributed to fatigue cracking in the 
lower rudder PCM, which caused the yaw damper to move out of its 
correct position and generate the uncommanded lower rudder hardover. An 
uncommanded left rudder hardover could result in increased pilot 
workload and possible runway departure upon landing.
    The upper rudder PCM has the same design as the lower rudder PCM 
and can fail in the same manner. An upper rudder PCM failure will 
result in an upper rudder surface hardover to the left and would create 
a similar unsafe condition as for a failure of the lower rudder PCM.
    The PCM part numbers installed on the 747-400D and 747-400F series 
airplanes are the same part numbers installed on the affected Model 
747-400 series airplane. Therefore those airplanes may be subject to 
the unsafe condition identified on the Model 747-400 series airplane.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

    The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 
747-27A2397, dated July 24, 2003. This service bulletin describes the 
following procedures:
    [sbull] Reviewing airplane maintenance records to determine if each 
PCM has a main manifold with less than 15,000 total flight hours or 
2,000 total flight cycles.
    [sbull] Performing ultrasonic inspections for cracking of the yaw 
damper actuator portion of upper and lower rudder PCMs that have 15,000 
or more total flight hours and 2,000 or more total flight cycles.
    [sbull] Recording the results of the ultrasonic inspections and 
reporting them to Boeing.
    [sbull] Replacing subject PCMs that have evidence of possible 
cracking.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

    Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to 
exist or

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develop on other products of this same type design, the proposed AD 
would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the service 
bulletin described previously, except as discussed below.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Bulletin

    The Boeing service bulletin recommends accomplishing the review of 
airplane maintenance records and ultrasonic inspection within 6 months 
of the issue date of the service bulletin. We have determined that that 
interval would address the identified unsafe condition soon enough to 
ensure an adequate level of safety for the affected fleet. In 
developing an appropriate compliance time for this AD, we considered 
the 6-month compliance time recommended by the manufacturer, as well as 
the time required for the rulemaking process. In consideration of these 
factors, we find that 3 months after the effective date of this final 
rule will fall approximately at the same time for compliance as 
recommended by the manufacturer. We find that a 3-month compliance time 
represents an appropriate interval of time for affected airplanes to 
continue to operate without compromising safety.

Interim Action

    We consider this proposed AD interim action. The inspection reports 
that are required by this AD will enable the manufacturer and the FAA 
to obtain better insight into the nature, cause, and extent of the 
cracking, and eventually to develop final action to address the unsafe 
condition. Once final action has been identified, we may consider 
further rulemaking.

Changes to 14 CFR Part 39/Effect on the Proposed AD

    On July 10, 2002, the FAA issued a new version of 14 CFR part 39 
(67 FR 47997, July 22, 2002), which governs the FAA's airworthiness 
directives system. The regulation now includes material that relates to 
altered products, special flight permits, and alternative methods of 
compliance (AMOCs). Because we have now included this material in part 
39, only the office authorized to approve AMOCs is identified in each 
individual AD.

Change to Labor Rate Estimate

    We have reviewed the figures we have used over the past several 
years to calculate AD costs to operators. To account for various 
inflationary costs in the airline industry, we find it necessary to 
increase the labor rate used in these calculations from $60 per work 
hour to $65 per work hour. The cost impact information, below, reflects 
this increase in the specified hourly labor rate.

Cost Impact

    There are approximately 180 airplanes of the affected design in the 
worldwide fleet. The FAA estimates that 13 airplanes of U.S. registry 
would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 
1 work hour per airplane to accomplish the proposed airplane 
maintenance records review, at an average labor rate of $65 per work 
hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of the proposed airplane 
maintenance records review on U.S. operators is estimated to be $845, 
or $65 per airplane.
    Should an operator be required to accomplish the inspection, it 
would take approximately 4 work hours per airplane, at an average labor 
rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of 
the proposed inspection is estimated to be $260 per airplane.
    The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions 
that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed requirements 
of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions 
in the future if this proposed AD were not adopted. The cost impact 
figures discussed in AD rulemaking actions represent only the time 
necessary to perform the specific actions actually required by the AD. 
These figures typically do not include incidental costs, such as the 
time required to gain access and close up, planning time, or time 
necessitated by other administrative actions.

Regulatory Impact

    The regulations proposed herein 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. Therefore, it 
is determined that this proposal would not have federalism implications 
under Executive Order 13132.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that 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) if promulgated, 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. A copy of the draft 
regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the 
Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules 
Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 
part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (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. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new 
airworthiness directive:

Boeing: Docket 2003-NM-173-AD.

    Applicability: Model 747-400, -400D, and -400F series airplanes; 
as listed in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-27A2397, dated July 
24, 2003; certificated in any category.
    Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished 
previously.
    To detect and correct cracking in the yaw damper actuator 
portion of the upper and lower rudder power control modules (PCM), 
which could result in an uncommanded left rudder hardover, 
consequent increased pilot workload, and possible runway departure 
upon landing, accomplish the following:

Review of Airplane Maintenance Records

    (a) Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD: Review 
the airplane maintenance records to determine if each PCM has a main 
manifold with less than 15,000 total flight hours or fewer than 
2,000 total flight cycles, or do the inspection required by 
paragraph (c) of this AD.

Follow-On Actions: PCMs With Less Than 15,000 Total Flight Hours or 
Less Than 2,000 Flight Cycles

    (b) If it can be positively determined from the review of the 
airplane maintenance records that each rudder PCM is below either of 
the thresholds specified in paragraph (a) of this AD: Submit a 
report to the manufacturer in accordance with paragraph (d) of this 
AD.

Follow-On Actions: PCMs With 15,000 Total Flight Hours or More and 
2,000 Flight Cycles or More

    (c) If it cannot be positively determined that each rudder PCM 
is below either of the thresholds specified in paragraph (a) of this 
AD: Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, do an 
ultrasonic inspection of the yaw damper actuator portion of the 
upper

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and lower rudder PCMs in accordance with the Accomplishment 
Instructions specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-27A2397, 
dated July 24, 2003. After completing the actions required by 
paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this AD, as applicable, submit a 
report to the manufacturer in accordance with paragraph (d) of this 
AD.
    (1) If no cracking is found: Apply sealant and a torque stripe 
and install a lockwire on the applicable rudder PCM per Figure 1 or 
Figure 2, as applicable, and the Accomplishment Instructions 
specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-27A2397, dated July 
24, 2003.
    (2) If any cracking is found: Before further flight, replace the 
affected PCM with a PCM having less than 15,000 total flight hours 
and less than 2,000 total flight cycles, or a PCM that has been 
ultrasonically inspected (either by the operator or the supplier) in 
accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Boeing 
Alert Service Bulletin 747-27A2397, dated July 24, 2003.

Reporting Requirements

    (d) At the applicable time specified in paragraph (d)(1) or 
(d)(2) of this AD, accomplish paragraph (e).
    (1) If the inspection was done after the effective date of this 
AD: Submit the report and PCM, if applicable, within 20 days after 
the inspection.
    (2) If the inspection was accomplished prior to the effective 
date of this AD: Submit the report and PCM, if applicable, within 20 
days after the effective date of this AD.
    (e) Do the requirements of paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this 
AD. Information collection requirements contained in this regulation 
have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120-
0056.
    (1) Submit a report of the airplane maintenance records review 
or the inspection findings (positive and negative) to: The Boeing 
Company, Service Engineering--Mechanical Systems, Attn: R. Adams, 
fax: (425) 342-5224. The report must contain the airplane and rudder 
PCM serial numbers, the total flight hours and flight cycles for 
each rudder PCM, and a description of any damage found. Submission 
of the Inspection Report Form (Figure 3 of Boeing Alert Service 
Bulletin 747-27A2397, dated July 24, 2003) is an acceptable method 
of complying with this requirement.
    (2) Send parts to Parker Hannifin Corporation in accordance with 
the shipping instructions specified in Appendix A of the service 
bulletin.

Parts Installation

    (f) As of the effective date of this AD, no person shall install 
on any airplane a rudder PCM with 15,000 total flight hours or more, 
or 2,000 total flight cycles or more, unless it has been 
ultrasonically inspected (either by the operator or the supplier) in 
accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Boeing 
Alert Service Bulletin 747-27A2397, dated July 24, 2003.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

    (g) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, Seattle 
Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, is authorized to approve 
alternative methods of compliance for this AD.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on August 22, 2003.
Ali Bahrami,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 03-22001 Filed 8-27-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P