[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 225 (Friday, November 20, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 74299-74302]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25568]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2020-1029; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01126-T]
RIN 2120-AA64


Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS Airplanes

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2019-21-10, which applies to all Airbus SAS Model A321-111, -112, -131, 
-211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. AD 2019-21-10 requires a 
one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of certain structural 
parts of the outer flaps to determine if the incorrect alloy was used, 
and replacement if necessary. Since the FAA issued AD 2019-21-10, the 
design approval holder (DAH) has issued an updated list of suspected 
parts, including those that may have been improperly heat treated, and 
the FAA has determined that more airplanes are affected by the unsafe 
condition. This proposed AD would continue to require a one-time eddy 
current conductivity measurement of certain structural parts of the 
outer flaps to determine if the incorrect alloy was used, and 
replacement if necessary, and would also require a new one-time eddy 
current conductivity measurement of certain other structural parts of 
the outer flaps to determine if the parts were properly heat treated, 
and replacement if necessary, and would include additional affected 
airplanes, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency 
(EASA) AD, which will be incorporated by reference. The FAA is 
proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 4, 
2021.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://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.
    For the material identified in this proposed AD that will be 
incorporated by reference (IBR), contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 
3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +49 221 8999 000; email: 
[email protected]; internet: www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this IBR 
material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view 
this IBR material at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, 
Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For 
information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-
231-3195. It is also available in the AD docket on the internet at 
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. 
FAA-2020-1029.

Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-
1029; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains 
this NPRM, any comments received, and other information. The street 
address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be 
available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, 
Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 
South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3223; 
email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or 
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed 
under the ADDRESSES section. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2020-1029; 
Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01126-T'' at the beginning of your 
comments. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the 
proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include 
supporting data. The FAA will consider all comments received by the 
closing date and may amend the proposal because of those comments.
    Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in 
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to 
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you 
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each 
substantive verbal contact received about this proposed AD.

Confidential Business Information

    CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily 
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public 
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial 
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that 
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to 
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted 
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing 
CBI as ``PROPIN.'' The FAA will treat such marked submissions as 
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public 
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to 
Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, 
International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, 
WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3223; email: [email protected]. 
Any commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically 
designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this 
rulemaking.

Discussion

    The FAA issued AD 2019-21-10, Amendment 39-19776 (84 FR 63794, 
November 19, 2019) (``AD 2019-21-10''), which applies to all Airbus SAS 
Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. 
AD 2019-21-10 requires a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement 
of certain structural parts of the outer flaps to determine if the 
incorrect alloy was used, and replacement if necessary. The FAA issued 
AD 2019-21-10 to address structural parts made of incorrect aluminum 
alloy, which could result in reduced structural integrity of

[[Page 74300]]

the outer flaps and reduced controllability of the airplane.

Actions Since AD 2019-21-10 Was Issued

    Since the FAA issued AD 2019-21-10, the DAH has issued an updated 
list of suspected parts, including those that may have been improperly 
heat treated and the FAA determined that more airplanes are affected by 
the unsafe condition.
    The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the 
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0174, dated August 5, 2020 
(``EASA AD 2020-0174'') (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing 
Airworthiness Information, or ``the MCAI''), to correct an unsafe 
condition for all Airbus SAS Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 
airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 
airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -215, -216, -231, -232, and -233 
airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and 
-232 airplanes. EASA AD 2020-0174 supersedes EASA AD 2019-0012 (which 
corresponds to FAA AD 2019-21-10). Model A320-215 airplanes are not 
certificated by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type 
certificate data sheet; this AD therefore does not include those 
airplanes in the applicability.
    This proposed AD was prompted by a quality control review, which 
determined that the wrong aluminum alloy was used to manufacture 
several structural parts and by the issuance of an updated list of 
suspected parts, including those that may have been improperly heat 
treated. The FAA is proposing this AD to address structural parts that 
may not meet the certified life limit, which could result in failure of 
the flap trailing edge and reduced controllability of the airplane. See 
the MCAI for additional background information.

Explanation of Retained Requirements

    Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the 
requirements of AD 2019-21-10, this proposed AD would retain all of the 
requirements of AD 2019-21-10. Those requirements are referenced in 
EASA AD 2020-0174, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of 
this proposed AD.

Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51

    EASA AD 2020-0174 describes procedures for a one-time eddy current 
conductivity measurement of certain structural parts of the outer flaps 
to determine if the incorrect alloy was used, and replacement if 
necessary, and a one-time eddy current conductivity measurement of 
certain other structural parts of the outer flaps to determine if the 
parts were properly heat treated, and replacement if necessary. This 
material is reasonably available because the interested parties have 
access to it through their normal course of business or by the means 
identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another 
country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant 
to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, 
the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI 
referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD because the FAA 
evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition 
exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same 
type design.

Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified 
in EASA AD 2020-0174 described previously, as incorporated by 
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the 
regulatory text of this AD.

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

    In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD 
process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a 
process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information 
for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has 
since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation 
authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2020-0174 
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed 
AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0174 in its 
entirety, through that incorporation, except for any differences 
identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD. 
Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a particular 
section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need comply only 
with that section. For example, where the AD requirement refers to 
``all required actions and compliance times,'' compliance with this AD 
requirement is not limited to the section titled ``Required Action(s) 
and Compliance Time(s)'' in the EASA AD. Service information specified 
in EASA AD 2020-0174 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-
0174 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov 
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1029 after the FAA 
final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

    The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 63 airplanes of 
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with 
this proposed AD:

                                     Estimated Costs for Required Actions *
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                                                                                     Cost per      Cost on U.S.
                Action                         Labor cost           Parts cost        product        operators
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Retained actions from AD 2019-21-10...  6 work-hours x $85 per                $0            $510         $32,130
                                         hour = $510.
New proposed actions..................  5 work-hours x $85 per                 0             425          26,775
                                         hour = $425.
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\*\ Table does not include estimated costs for reporting.

    The FAA estimates that it would take about 1 work-hour per product 
to comply with the proposed reporting requirement in this proposed AD. 
The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, the FAA 
estimates the cost of reporting the inspection results on U.S. 
operators to be $5,355, or $85 per product.
    The FAA has received no definitive data on which to base the cost 
estimates for the on-condition replacement specified in this proposed 
AD.
    According to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this 
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost 
impact on affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty 
coverage for affected individuals. As a result, the FAA has

[[Page 74301]]

included all known costs in the cost estimate.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of 
information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control 
number for the collection of information required by this proposed AD 
is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this proposed AD has 
been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and 
includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and 
reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting 
associated with this proposed AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the 
accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should 
be directed to Information Collection Clearance Officer, Federal 
Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-
1524.

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.
    The FAA is 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

    The FAA 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) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, 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.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, 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

0
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]

0
2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 
2019-21-10, Amendment 39-19776 (84 FR 63794, November 19, 2019), and 
adding the following new AD:

Airbus SAS: Docket No. FAA-2020-1029; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-
01126-T.

(a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments by January 4, 2021.

(b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2019-21-10, Amendment 39-19776 (84 FR 63794, 
November 19, 2019) (``AD 2019-21-10'').

(c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all Airbus SAS airplanes identified in 
paragraphs (c)(1) through (4) of this AD, certificated in any 
category.
    (1) Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 airplanes.
    (2) Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 
airplanes.
    (3) Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 
airplanes.
    (4) Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 
airplanes.

(d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57, Wings.

(e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a quality control review, which 
determined that the wrong aluminum alloy was used to manufacture 
several structural parts and by the issuance of an updated list of 
suspected parts, including those that may have been improperly heat 
treated. The FAA is issuing this AD to address structural parts that 
may not meet the certified life limit, which could result in failure 
of the flap trailing edge and reduced controllability of the 
airplane.

(f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, 
unless already done.

(g) Requirements

    Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all 
required actions and compliance times specified in, and in 
accordance with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 
2020-0174, dated August 5, 2020 (``EASA AD 2020-0174'').

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2020-0174

    (1) Where EASA AD 2020-0174 refers to its effective date, this 
AD requires using the effective date of this AD.
    (2) The ``Remarks'' section of EASA AD 2020-0174 does not apply 
to this AD.
    (3) Where paragraphs (7) and (8) of EASA AD 2020-0174 mandate a 
parts installation limitation, this AD requires the following parts 
installation limitation: From the effective date of this AD, only 
serviceable parts as defined in EASA AD 2020-0174 are allowed to be 
installed on any airplane.
    (4) Where any service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-
0174 specifies reporting, this AD requires reporting all inspection 
results at the applicable time specified in paragraph (h)(4)(i) or 
(ii) of this AD. If operators have reported findings as part of 
obtaining any corrective actions approved by Airbus SAS's EASA 
Design Organization Approval (DOA), operators are not required to 
report those findings as specified in this paragraph.
    (i) If the inspection was done on or after the effective date of 
this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.
    (ii) If the inspection was done before the effective date of 
this AD: Submit the report within 90 days after the effective date 
of this AD.

(i) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:
    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, 
Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, has 
the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the 
procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, 
send your request to your principal inspector or responsible Flight 
Standards Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to 
the Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, send it 
to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(2) of 
this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]. 
Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal 
inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the 
responsible Flight Standards Office.
    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD 
to obtain instructions from a manufacturer, the instructions must be 
accomplished using a method approved

[[Page 74302]]

by the Manager, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation 
Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus SAS's EASA Design Organization 
Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include 
the DOA-authorized signature.
    (3) Required for Compliance (RC): For any service information 
referenced in EASA AD 2020-0174 that contains RC procedures and 
tests: Except as required by paragraphs (h)(4) and (i)(2) of this 
AD, RC procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any 
procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. 
Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be 
deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the 
operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining 
approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as 
RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy 
condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests 
identified as RC require approval of an AMOC.
    (4) Paperwork Reduction Act Burden Statement: A federal agency 
may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond 
to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply 
with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information 
displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number 
for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for 
this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 1 
hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data 
needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. 
All responses to this collection of information are mandatory as 
required by this AD. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or 
any other aspect of this collection of information, including 
suggestions for reducing this burden to Information Collection 
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood 
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.

(j) Related Information

    (1) For EASA AD 2020-0174, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-
Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +49 221 8999 000; email: 
[email protected]; internet: www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this 
EASA AD on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may 
view this material at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, 
Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For 
information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 
206-231-3195. This material may be found in the AD docket on the 
internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and 
locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1029.
    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, 
Aerospace Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation 
Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and 
fax: 206-231-3223; email: [email protected].

    Issued on November 13, 2020.
Lance T. Gant,
Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-25568 Filed 11-19-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P