DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2013-0752; Product Identifier 2009-SW-44-AD; Amendment
39-21490; AD 2021-07-13]
Airworthiness Directives; Pacific Scientific Company Seat
Restraint System Rotary Buckle Assemblies
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Pacific Scientific Company rotary buckle assemblies (buckles).
This AD requires inspecting each buckle including its buckle handle
vane, and depending on the results, removing the buckle from service
and installing an airworthy buckle. This AD also prohibits installing
the affected buckles. This AD was prompted by several reports of
cracked buckle handles. The actions of this AD are intended to address
an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective May 11, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of May 11, 2021.
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Meggitt Services, 1785 Voyager Ave., Simi Valley, CA 93063,
telephone 877-666-0712 or at CustomerResponse@meggitt.com. You may view
the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional
Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort
Worth, TX 76177. It is also available on the internet at https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2013-0752.
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-2013-
0752; 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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union
Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, any service information that is
incorporated by reference, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations is 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: Kristi Bradley, Aviation Safety
Engineer, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International
Validation Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177;
telephone (817) 222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM)
to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Pacific
Scientific Company buckle part numbers (P/Ns) 1111430 and 1111475, all
dash numbers. The SNPRM published in the Federal Register on September
24, 2020 (85 FR 60100). The FAA preceded the SNPRM with a notice of
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that published in the Federal Register on
September 5, 2013 (78 FR 54594). The NPRM proposed to require
inspecting each buckle for a crack and the thickness of the buckle
handle vane. Depending on the inspection results, the NPRM proposed to
require replacing the buckle. The NPRM also proposed to prohibit
installing an affected buckle on any helicopter or airplane. The SNPRM
proposed to the same requirements except with longer compliance times
to accomplish the inspections. The SNPRM also corrected the name of
Pacific Scientific Aviation Services to Pacific Scientific Company,
updated the estimated costs of compliance, edited the Applicability
paragraph by adding a note to clarify that an affected buckle could be
included as a component of a different part-numbered restraint system
assembly and reference Appendix 1 of Pacific Scientific Service
Bulletin SB 25-1111432, dated May 22, 2007 (SB 25-1111432), which lists
the P/Ns of potentially affected restraint systems, updated the names
of certain potentially-affected Type Certificate holders, and updated
the contact information name and contact information from Pacific Scientific
Aviation Services to Meggitt Services.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD 2007-0256, dated September 19,
2007, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member
States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for
certain Pacific Scientific Company Seat Restraint System Plastic Rotary
Buckle Handles. According to EASA, Pacific Scientific Company reported
several instances of cracked handles on certain buckles with a date of
manufacture from November 2004 through May 2007. Testing on buckles
with a cracked handle indicated that in some circumstances, a load
placed on the restraint system prevents a strap from releasing as
intended when the buckle is rotated. EASA states in its AD that this
failure to release is possible when a passenger weighs more than 50 kg
(approximately 110 lbs.) and an aircraft is upside down.
After the SNPRM was published, the FAA received comments from two
Request for Credit
NetJets QC requested that this AD allow credit for compliance with
Cessna Citation Service Letter (SL) 560-25-09, Cessna Citation SL560XL-
25-10, or Cessna Citation SL750-25-15, each dated December 10, 2007.
NetJets QC also requested that provisions be written in the AD for
logbook/Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) research sign-off, since these
buckles may not be installed on newly-manufactured aircraft.
The FAA disagrees with both requests. This AD is an appliance AD
that applies to Pacific Scientific Company buckles P/Ns 1111430 and
1111475, all dash numbers, without regard to date of manufacture,
whereas each SL distinguishes the affected parts by date of
manufacture. If an affected buckle is not installed on an aircraft,
then this AD does not apply, and credit and provisions are not
necessary to relieve this AD's requirements for the concerned aircraft.
However, this AD does not prohibit using maintenance records to
determine if an affected buckle is installed. Using an IPC is not an
acceptable method to determine an aircraft's configuration.
Addition of MU-2B Aircraft
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. (MHIA) suggested that the
FAA add ``Mitsubishi MU-2B series aircraft'' to the list of aircraft
models that could be affected by this AD. MHIA stated that Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries, Ltd., holds Supplemental Type Certificate No.
SA1751SW, which allows installation of certain affected buckles on
Mitsubishi MU-2B series aircraft.
The FAA partially agrees. The FAA agrees that affected buckles
could be installed on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Model MU-2B
series airplanes; however, the applicability only identifies possible
installations on airplanes and helicopters by ``make'' and not
``models.'' Accordingly, the FAA has added Mitsubishi Heavy Industries,
Ltd., to the list of airplanes that affected buckles could be installed
on in the applicability of this final rule.
Extension of Compliance Time
MHIA requested extending the compliance time to at least 12 months,
as replacement parts could be in short supply. MHIA states that it has
attempted to contact the product support representative at Meggitt
Services located in Simi Valley, CA in order to obtain additional
technical information; however, no formal response had been received
from Meggitt Services when MHIA submitted this comment on November 9,
2020. MHIA expressed concern that with limited support from Meggitt
Services, owners and operators of affected airplanes will have
difficulty meeting the compliance requirements because of a potential
lack of sufficient replacement parts.
The FAA acknowledges MHIA's concern about contacting Meggitt
Services and has re-confirmed that its contact information is accurate.
The FAA disagrees with changing the compliance time to inspect an
affected buckle handle for a crack from 6 months to 12 months based on
a potential lack of sufficient replacement parts. The FAA has not
received any information to indicate that there is an insufficient
number of replacement parts that would necessitate extending the
compliance time from that stated in the proposed AD.
These products have been approved by EASA and are approved for
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA of the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all of the information provided by EASA and determining the
unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other
products and that air safety and the public interest require adopting
the AD requirements as proposed with the changes described previously.
These changes are consistent with the intent of the proposal in the
SNPRM and will neither increase the economic burden on any operator nor
increase the scope of this AD.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to certain buckles used on certain restraint
systems that are known to be installed on, but not limited to, certain
Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) model helicopters. The
applicability of the EASA AD is limited to rotorcraft only and is not
intended for airplanes. Since the affected buckles may be installed in
other aircraft resulting in the same unsafe condition, this AD applies
to the same certain buckles, which may be installed on but not limited
to certain airplanes and helicopters. This AD does not require
returning the unairworthy buckle assembly to the manufacturer, and this
AD does not apply to spare parts that are not installed on an aircraft.
Also, this AD applies to buckle P/Ns 1111430 and 1111475, all dash
numbers, and is not dependent on the restraint P/Ns. The EASA AD
requires inspecting the buckles within 30 days, whereas this AD
requires inspecting the buckle handle for a crack within 6 months and
the buckle handle vane thickness within 12 months instead. The EASA AD
requires a repetitive inspection of each buckle for cracks before any
flight for up to 6 months following the effective date of the EASA AD
until the buckle is replaced. This AD does not require an inspection
for cracks before any flight for the 6 months until the affected
buckles are replaced. The EASA AD identifies suspect parts by date of
manufacture, and this AD does not. Finally, the EASA AD allows for
marking a seat as ``un-operative'' and this AD does not.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed SB 25-1111432, which specifies inspecting each
buckle P/Ns 1111430-XX and 1111475-XX with a date of manufacture
between November 2004 and May 2007, to identify whether the handle is
one susceptible to cracking by checking the P/N on the reverse side of
the buckle assembly or by measuring the thickness of the handle vane.
If the buckle is identified as a ``suspect'' buckle, this service
information provides procedures for removing the buckle and replacing
it with an acceptable buckle. Information in this service information
also advises that buckles with a cracked handle should be removed from
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
The FAA estimates that this AD will affect 1,435 restraint systems
installed on aircraft of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at
$85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates that
operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this
Inspecting a buckle costs a minimal amount and takes a nominal
amount of time. Replacing a buckle takes about 0.5 work-hour and parts
cost about $636 for an estimated cost of $679 per buckle and up to
$974,365 for the U.S. fleet.
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 helicopters identified in this rulemaking action.
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) 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
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