DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2016-9392; Product Identifier 2016-NM-003-AD; Amendment
39-19499; AD 2018-23-12]
Airworthiness Directives; Zodiac Aero Evacuation Systems (also
known as Air Cruisers Company)
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Aero Evacuation Systems (also known as Air Cruisers Company) fusible
plugs installed on emergency evacuation equipment for various transport
category airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports indicating that
affected fusible plugs activated (vented gas) below the rated
temperature. This AD requires an inspection of the fusible plugs to
determine the part number and lot number, and replacement of all
affected fusible plugs. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective December 28, 2018.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of December 28,
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Air Cruisers, 1747 State Route 34, Wall Township, NJ 07727-
3935; phone 732-681-3527; email
ZAESTechPubs@zodiacaerospace.com. You may view this service
information at the FAA, Transport Standards 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 on the
internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2016-9392.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-
9392; 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 final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and
other information. The address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-
5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30,
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,
Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer,
Mechanical Systems and Admin Services Section, FAA, New York ACO
Branch, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone
516-228-7323; fax 516-794-5531; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR
part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Zodiac Aero Evacuation
Systems (also known as Air Cruisers Company) fusible plugs installed on
emergency evacuation equipment for various transport category
airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on November 18,
2016 (81 FR 81709). The NPRM was prompted by reports indicating that
affected fusible plugs activated (vented gas) below the rated
temperature. The NPRM proposed to require an inspection of the fusible
plugs to determine the part number and lot number, and replacement of
all affected fusible plugs.
We subsequently issued a supplemental NPRM (SNPRM) that was
published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2018 (83 FR 3283). The
SNPRM proposed to extend the compliance time, clarify the
applicability, and clarify certain requirements.
We are issuing this AD to address fusible plugs that might activate
below the rated temperature and render the evacuation system unusable.
We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing
this final rule. The following presents the comments received on the
SNPRM and the FAA's response to each comment.
Request to Extend Compliance Time
Airlines for America (A4A), on behalf of its members, requested
that we extend the compliance time specified in paragraph (h) of the
proposed AD (in the SNPRM). A4A stated that the extended compliance
time of 42 months after the effective date (in paragraph (g) of the
proposed AD (in the SNPRM)) had an unintended consequence in the re-
worded compliance paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM). A4A
noted that while the allowance for maintenance records inspection was
added, the words ``[b]efore further flight'' remained. A4A concluded
that the current version means that either a planeside finding or a
maintenance records discovery will each require action before further
flight. A4A stated that while a finding by direct inspection will
happen only in a shop and not affect operation of any aircraft, the
accommodation for records review could immediately ground an in-service
aircraft. A4A requested that we allow 42 months for the replacement if
a records review was done.
We agree to revise the compliance time in paragraph (h) of this AD
because we have determined that a compliance time of 42 months to
replace the affected part addresses the unsafe condition and provides
an acceptable level of safety. We have revised paragraph (h) of the AD
to specify a 42-month compliance time for the replacement.
Request To Specify Serial Numbers
All Nippon Airways (ANA) requested that we revise paragraph (c) of
the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) to refer to service information that
specifies the serial numbers and not only the part numbers of the
affected emergency equipment. ANA stated that identifying affected
[parts] by only the part number means that even after expiration of the
compliance time specified in the proposed AD, the inspection must be
continued every time the affected emergency equipment is purchased. ANA
stated that the serial number of the affected emergency equipment
should be specified in the service information listed in paragraph (c)
of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) in order to prevent endless
We do not agree because specific serial numbers for the affected
emergency equipment have not been identified. In addition, since the
fusible plugs are rotable we cannot limit the applicability to only the
known emergency equipment on which the fusible plugs were initially
installed. Therefore, in order to address the identified unsafe
condition, all fusible plugs installed on emergency evacuation
equipment identified in the service information specified in paragraph
(c) of this AD must be inspected as specified in paragraph (g) of this
AD. When installing new equipment on an airplane, operators must ensure
the newly installed part is not one of the affected parts by complying
with the parts installation prohibition specified in paragraph (i) of
this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.
Request To Refer to Service Information
Southwest Airlines (SWA) and A4A, on behalf of its members,
requested that we refer to service information for accomplishing the
actions specified in paragraph (g) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM).
SWA stated that the Air Cruisers service bulletins listed in paragraphs
(c)(1) through (c)(16) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) have steps to
inspect for the affected fusible plugs and to remove fusible plugs that
are stamped with Lot PA-21 or PA-22. SWA noted that the service
bulletins have been incorporated into the various
Air Cruisers component maintenance manuals (CMMs). A4A stated that the
service bulletins and CMMs specify an inspection for the suspect
fusible plug lot numbers and replacement if found.
A4A and SWA also stated that maintenance records would not indicate
the level of detail of the fusible plug part numbers and lot numbers
installed. SWA stated that the revision of the CMM used to make the
components serviceable is noted on FAA Form 8130-3. A4A also stated
that access to the fusible plug part number and lot number is not
achievable planeside, and noted that the equipment manufacturer
recommends the system to be unpacked and inspected in the slide shop.
SWA and A4A requested that paragraph (g) of the proposed AD (in the
SNPRM) be revised to specify accomplishing the inspection in accordance
with the applicable service information specified in paragraphs (c)(1)
through (c)(16) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) and/or the applicable
component maintenance manuals.
We do not agree with revising paragraph (g) of this AD to mandate
service information because this AD does not require operators to
accomplish the inspection using a specific method. However, we do agree
that operators should be aware of the service information that can be
used to do the inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.
Therefore, we have added Note 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD to specify
service bulletins and CMMs that provide guidance for performing the
inspection. We have redesignated subsequent notes in this AD
We also acknowledge the commenters' statement that the records
review might not be conclusive. As stated in paragraph (g) of this AD,
the records review is allowed only if operators can conclusively
determine the part number and lot number. For operators that do not
have records that can conclusively determine the part number and lot
number, the inspection must be done.
Request To Remove Paragraph (h) of the Proposed AD (in the SNPRM)
SWA requested that we remove paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in
the SNPRM). SWA stated that paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in the
SNPRM) would require immediate removal of the emergency equipment if an
inspection or a records review determines an affected part is
installed. SWA suggested that paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in the
SNPRM) be deleted because it is unnecessary. SWA stated the emergency
equipment must be removed from the aircraft in order to inspect for the
affected fusible plug. SWA noted the component maintenance documents do
not provide the level of detail of the fusible plug part numbers and
lot numbers installed.
We do not agree with removing paragraph (h) of this AD because in
order to address the unsafe condition the affected fusible plug must
not only be removed but must also be replaced as required by paragraph
(h) of this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard. However, as
stated previously, we have revised the compliance time in paragraph (h)
of this AD to specify replacing within 42 months instead of requiring
Request for Credit for Actions Done Using Certain Service Information
SWA requested that we give credit for inspections of the affected
fusible plugs previously done per Air Cruisers service bulletins and/or
CMMs incorporating the requirements of the Air Cruisers service
We agree to clarify. We have not mandated specific service
information for accomplishing the actions specified in paragraphs (g)
and (h) of this AD; therefore, it is not necessary to give credit for
using specific service information. For operators that have already
accomplished the actions required by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD,
credit is given as specified in paragraph (f) of this AD, which states
to accomplish the required actions within the compliance times
specified, ``unless already done.'' Therefore, if operators have
accomplished the actions required for compliance with paragraphs (g)
and (h) of this AD before the effective date of this AD, no further
action is necessary.
Request To Revise Parts Installation Prohibition
A4A, on behalf of its members, requested that we revise paragraph
(i) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) to specify that no person may
install on any airplane any slide, slide/raft, or off-wing escape
system unless the inspection of the fusible plug has been done per the
applicable service information specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through
(c)(16) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) and/or the applicable CMM
listed in Air Cruisers Service Information Letter (SIL) 25-246, Rev.
No. 2, dated January 24, 2017. A4A stated that paragraph (i) of the
proposed AD (in the SNPRM) does not sufficiently close the door on
direct inspection of the plug, which can only be accomplished by
unpacking slides and complete disassembly. A4A stated that only the
inspection of records (including service bulletin accomplishment
information directly stamped on the slide) can reasonably accomplish
the intention of the proposed AD in a practical manner.
We do not agree because we have not mandated the service
information specified by the commenter. In order to comply with
paragraph (i) of this AD, operators must prevent the installation of an
affected part on an airplane. Paragraph (i) of this AD does not mandate
a specific method for operators to follow to ensure the affected part
is not installed. We have not changed this AD in this regard.
Request To Revise Cost Estimate
A4A, on behalf of its members, requested that we revise the cost
estimate. A4A stated that the NPRM assumes one hour of labor per
aircraft. A4A noted that because the actions need to be done at an
appropriate facility (off wing and often not the operator's own shop),
the cost should be per system, and include all facets from uninstalling
through reinstallation. A4A stated the operator's actions will consume
closer to 4 hours per slide (at $85/hour), with the addition of $500
each way shipping, and the vendor cost (Zodiac's typical billing is
$2,900 per slide).
We agree with revising the cost estimate because operators that
cannot do a records review will need to remove the affected emergency
equipment to accomplish the inspection. We disagree with including the
shipping and vendor costs because not all operators will need to ship
the equipment in order to do the inspection or records review. We have
revised the Costs of Compliance section in this final rule to specify
up to 4 work-hours for the inspection.
Clarification of Replacement Part
In paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM), we specified to
replace the fusible plug with a new part that does not have P/N B13984-
3, stamped with Lot PA-21 or PA-22. However, we have determined that it
is not necessary for the replacement part to be a new part. Therefore,
we have revised paragraph (h) of this AD to specify to replace the
fusible plug with a serviceable fusible plug P/N B13984-3 that is not
stamped with Lot PA-21 or PA-22.
Additional Affected Parts - Other Related Service Information
We have reviewed Air Cruisers Service Information Letter (SIL) 25-
246, Rev. No. 2, dated January 24, 2017, which indicates additional
fusible plugs might be affected by the identified unsafe condition. We
determined that to delay this action in order to allow the public to
comment on the merits of inspecting the additional fusible plugs would
be inappropriate, since we have determined that an unsafe condition
exists and that inspections must be conducted to ensure continued
safety. We are considering additional rulemaking to address additional
Clarification of Manufacturer's Name
In the Summary of the SNPRM, we noted that Zodiac Aero Evacuation
Systems was formerly known as Air Cruisers. However, Zodiac Aero
Evacuation Systems is also known as Air Cruisers Company. For clarity,
we have referred to the manufacturer as Zodiac Aero Evacuation Systems
(also known as Air Cruisers Company) throughout this final rule.
We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received,
and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting
this final rule with the changes described previously and minor
editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:
Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the
SNPRM for addressing the unsafe condition; and
Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was
already proposed in the SNPRM.
We also determined that these changes will not increase the
economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this final
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
We reviewed the following Air Cruisers service information. The
service information identifies the affected fusible plugs. In addition,
it describes procedures for inspecting and replacing affected fusible
plugs. These documents are distinct since they apply to different
airplane models or configurations.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin 737 103-25-50, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin 757 105-25-80, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin 757 105-25-81, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin 767 106-25-10, Rev. No. 1,
dated October 15, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin 777 107-25-29, Rev. No. 1,
dated July 8, 2011.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin A300/A310 001-25-19, dated
August 27, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin A300/A310 003-25-33, dated
August 27, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin A310 002-25-08, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin A320 004-25-87, Rev. No. 2,
dated January 7, 2011.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin A321 005-25-21, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin BAe 146 201-25-23, dated
December 10, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin F28 352-25-02, dated
December 10, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin F100 351-25-07, dated
December 10, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin Liferaft 35-25-79, dated
August 27, 2010.
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin MD11 305-25-35, dated August
Air Cruisers Service Bulletin MD80/90/717 304-25-45, dated
August 27, 2010.
This service information 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.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 3,384 airplanes of U.S. registry.
We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:
|Determination of part and lot
||Up to 4 work-hours x $85 per
hour = Up to $340
||Up to $340
||Up to $1,150,560
We estimate the following costs per
slide to do any necessary
replacement of the fusible plug that would be required based on the
results of the inspection. We have no way of determining the number of
aircraft that might need these replacements:
||1 work-hour x $85 per hour =
According to the manufacturer, some
of the costs of this AD may be
covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected
individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected
individuals. As a result, we have included all available costs in our
Authority for This Rulemaking
Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: ``General
requirements.'' Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with
promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing
regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator
finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within
the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition
that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking
This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the
Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by
FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is
normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but
during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the
authority to issue ADs applicable to transport category airplanes and
associated appliances to the Director of the System Oversight Division.
This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order
13132. This AD will not have a substantial direct effect on the States,
on the relationship between the national government and the States, or
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various
levels of government.
For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
(2) Is not a ``significant rule'' under DOT Regulatory Policies and
Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),
(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(4) 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
Adoption of the Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness