EASA orders inspection of A380 for cracks in wing rib feet

January 20, 2012

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD), ordering inspection of certain Airbus A380 aircraft for the possible presence of cracks in the wing rib feet.

The AD states:

Following an unscheduled internal inspection of an A380 wing, some rib feet have been found with cracks originating from the rib to skin panel attachment holes (Type 1 cracks according to Airbus All Operator Telex (AOT) terminology).

Further to this finding, inspections were carried out on a number of other aeroplanes where further cracks have been found. During one of those inspections, a new form of rib foot cracking originating from the forward and aft edges of the vertical web of the rib feet has been identified (Type 2 cracks according to Airbus AOT terminology). The new form of cracking is more significant than the original rib foot hole cracking. It has been determined that the Type 2 cracks may develop on other aeroplanes after a period of time in service.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

For the reasons described above, this AD requires a Detailed Visual Inspection (DVI) of certain wing rib feet. This AD also requires reporting the inspection results to Airbus.

This AD is considered to be an interim action to immediately address this condition. As a result of the on-going investigation, further mandatory actions might be considered.

The cracks were discovered by Airbus engineers while performing repair work to a Qantas A380 that had suffered an uncontained engine failure near Singapore’s Changi Airport. Singapore Airlines also discovered some cracks in on the L-shaped feet of the wing ribs. The feet attach the rib, a vertical fixture, to the cover of the wing.

On January 9th a spokesman for the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association demanded that all A380 aircraft should be grounded for inspections. Airbus reported that all planes were safe to fly and that the cracks did not pose a safety threat.

More information:


EASA issues emergency AD on life limits of A330 and A340 landing gear parts

June 30, 2011

The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) effecting specific Airbus A330 and A340-200/-300 aeroplanes. EASA requires reduction of the existing main landing gear (MLG) bogie beam life limits and replacement of each MLG bogie beam that has already exceeded the new limit.

During ground load test cycles on an A340-600 aeroplane, the MLG bogie beam prematurely fractured.
The results of the investigation identified that this premature fracture was due to high tensile standing stress, resulting from dry fit axle assembly method.
Improvement has been introduced subsequently with a grease fit axle assembly method.
Analysis was performed on other bogie beam with dry fit axles. It has been determined that MLG bogie beams with specific part numbers  are more likely to suffer from standing stress generated by dry-fit axles because these bogie beams are stiffer between the axle sockets. These two part numbers are fitted on A330, A340-200 and -300 series aircraft.

Fracture of a MLG bogie beam under high speed could ultimately result in the aeroplane departing the runway, or in the bogie detaching from the aeroplane, or MLG collapse, which could cause structural damage to the aeroplane and injury to the occupants.

More information:


Dassault Falcon 7X flight suspension partly lifted

June 17, 2011

A Dassault-owned Falcon 7X arrives at Rotterdam Airport (EHRD) on the day following the lifting of the ban (Photo: Harro Ranter, 17 June 2011)

On May 26, 2011 all flights involving Dassault Falcon 7X jets were prohibited following the EASA’s  issuance of  emergency AD 2011-0102-E. This suspension is now lifted for certain aircraft as of June 16, 2011.

The suspension of flight operations was considered to be an interim measure pending the outcome of an investigation into a serious incident involving an uncontrolled pitch trim runaway during descent.

The initial results of the investigations are showing that there was a production defect in the Horizontal Stabilizer Electronic Control Unit (HSECU) which could have contributed to the cause of the event.  One specific HSECU is potentially affected by this production defect. Investigations are continuing to confirm this cause.

In the meantime, to allow re-starting flight operations and providing protection against further pitch trim runaway events, Dassault Aviation have developed two modifications which are implemented through accomplishment of Dassault Service Bulletin (SB) F7X-211. In addition, it has determined that the flight envelope must be restricted, compared to the original certified flight envelope.

For aeroplanes equipped with HSECU P/N 051244-02, this AD, which supersedes EASA AD 2011-0102-E, requires:

  1. accomplishment of two Dassault Aviation modifications,
  2. amending the AFM and installing a placard in the cockpit,
  3. amending the Minimum Equipment List (MEL), and
  4. implementing an operational test of the HSTA electric motors reversion relays.

For aeroplanes equipped with HSECU P/N 051244-04, the prohibition of flights is maintained.

View this document on Scribd

Download PDF: EASA EAD 2011-0114-E


EASA grounds all Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft pending incident investigation

May 26, 2011

A Falcon 7X jet (photo: Jerome K. /CC: by-nc-nd)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD), prohibiting flight operations of Dassault Falcon 7X jets.

The AD is considered to be an interim measure pending the outcome of an investigation into a serious incident currently carried out by the manufacturer. Further AD action is expected to follow when additional information is available.

The incident involved a Falcon 7X which experienced an uncontrolled pitch trim runaway during descent. The crew succeeded in recovering a stable situation and performed an uneventful landing. Analysis of the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Fault History Database (FHDB) confirmed the event, but did not allow explaining the origin of the pitch trim runaway.

This condition, if occurring again, could lead to loss of control of the aeroplane. To address this potential unsafe condition, Dassault Aviation has proposed to EASA to prohibit, from the effective date of this AD, any flight operations of Falcon 7X aeroplanes, to which EASA agreed by issuing this AD.

View this document on Scribd

FAA will mandate inspections for early models of 737 aircraft

April 5, 2011

The U.S. FAA issues an emergency directive that will require operators of specific early Boeing 737 models to conduct initial and repetitive electromagnetic inspections for fatigue damage. This action will initially apply to a total of approximately 175 aircraft worldwide, 80 of which are U.S.-registered aircraft. Most of the aircraft in the U.S. are operated by Southwest Airlines.

The FAA airworthiness directive will require initial inspections using electromagnetic, or eddy-current, technology in specific areas of the aircraft fuselage on certain Boeing 737 aircraft in the -300, -400 and -500 series that have accumulated more than 30,000 flight cycles. It will then require repetitive inspections at regular intervals.

In  November 2010, the FAA published a rule designed specifically to address widespread fatigue damage in aging aircraft. The rule requires aircraft manufacturers to establish a number of flight cycles or hours a plane can operate and be free from fatigue damage. The rule requires aircraft manufacturers to incorporate the limits into their maintenance programs.


EASA amends emergency AD on Trent engines

November 22, 2010

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a new  emergency airworthiness directive (2010-0242-E) for Rolls Royce RB211 Trent 900 series engines following a recent incident involving  such an engine on a Qantas A380.  This AD supersedes a previous emergency AD ( 2010-0236-E) that was issued on Novemer 10, 2010.

Since issuance of AD 2010-0236-E, the incident investigation has progressed and inspection data from in-service engines has been gathered and analysed.
The results of this analysis show the need to amend the inspection procedure, retaining the inspection of the air buffer cavity and focusing on the oil servicetubes within the HP/IP structure.

This AD partially retains the requirements of AD 2010-0236-E, which is superseded, and requires implementation of the amended procedure and accomplishment of the associated inspections.

 


Transport Canada issues emergency AD on RegionalJet landing gear extension problems

October 19, 2010

Transport Canada issued an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD CF-2010-36) for several models of the Canadair / Bombardier RegionalJet following main landing gear extension problems.

Transport Canada reports two cases of main landing gear (MLG) failure to fully extend on CRJ aircraft.  Preliminary investigation has shown that interference between the MLG door and the MLG fairing seal prevented the MLG door from opening. This directive mandates the inspection and rectification, as required, of the MLG fairing and seal, MLG door, and adjacent structures.

Affected are the following models:

  • CL-600-2C10 (CRJ-700 series), serial numbers 10003 and subsequent
  • CL-600-2D15 (CRJ-705 series)
  • CL-600-2D24 (CRJ-900 series), serial number 15001 and subsequent

The AD does not specify the two occurrences, but one of those was probably an incident that occurred on September 25, 2010 involving an Atlantic Southeast Airlines CRJ-900. The airplane landed on at New York-JFK with the right MLG fully retracted.


EASA issues emergency AD on Falcon 50 emergency brake installations

October 12, 2010

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2010-0208-E) with regards to an inspection of emergency brake installations on Dassault Falcon 50 jets.

On two occurrences on Dassault Falcon 50 aircraft  in service, it was detected that two pipes of the emergency brake system #2 located near the nose landing gear bearing were swapped.

The swapping of these two pipes implies that when the Left Hand (LH) brake pedal is depressed, the Right Hand (RH) brake unit is activated, and conversely, when the RH brake pedal is depressed, the LH brake unit is actuated. This constitutes an unsafe condition, which may go unnoticed asthe condition is latent until the emergency brake system #2 is used. This condition, if not corrected, could ultimately lead to a runway excursion of the airplane.

The AD requires an inspection of the main landing gear braking system and, in case of findings, proper re-installation of the emergency brake system #2 pipes. It also requires painting the affected pipes for clear identification in order to avoid mistakes while reinstalling them after maintenance.

 


FAA proposes civil penalty against American Airlines of $24.2 million

August 28, 2010

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $24.2 million civil penalty against American Airlines Inc. for failing to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the maintenance of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. This civil penalty is the largest ever proposed by the FAA.

The FAA alleges American did not follow steps outlined in a 2006 Airworthiness Directive requiring operators to inspect wire bundles located in the wheel wells of MD-80 aircraft. The Airworthiness Directive, AD 2006-15-15, required a one-time general visual inspection by March 5, 2008 for chafing or signs of arcing of the wire bundle for the auxiliary hydraulic pump. It also required operators to perform corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of the applicable manufacturer’s Service Bulletin.

The purpose of the Airworthiness Directive was to prevent the shorting of wires or arcing at the auxiliary hydraulic pump, which could result in loss of auxiliary hydraulic power or a fire in the wheel well of the aircraft. The Airworthiness Directive also sought to reduce the potential of an ignition source adjacent to the fuel tanks, which, in combination with the flammable vapors, could result in a fuel tank explosion.

The FAA first detected the violations on March 25, 2008, during an inspection of two aircraft. The FAA informed American’s management that the aircraft did not comply with the AD, prompting a series of re-inspections and additional maintenance work that occurred during the following two weeks. On March 26, after American performed additional maintenance on its MD-80 fleet, the FAA inspected eight aircraft at American’s Tulsa maintenance base and found that seven did not comply with the Airworthiness Directive. On April 7, the FAA inspected another nine MD-80 aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and found that eight of them still did not comply with the AD.  A tenth aircraft inspected by American mechanics also did not comply. On April 8, American began grounding its MD-80 fleet to conduct new inspections and redo work as necessary.

The FAA subsequently determined that 286 of the airline’s MD-80s were operated on a combined 14,278 passenger flights while the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Regulations. American ultimately completed the work required by the 2006 Airworthiness Directive. Over the last year and a half, FAA safety officials have reported progress in working with American Airlines to help improve the airline’s maintenance culture. The FAA is committed to continuing that work.

American has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

The Dallas Morning News quotes an American statement on the issue: “These events happened more than two years ago, and we believe this action is unwarranted….We plan to follow the FAA’s process and will challenge any proposed civil penalty. We are confident we have a strong case and the facts will bear this out.”


FAA proposes $348,000 civil penalty against Chautauqua Airlines

April 28, 2010

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $348,000 civil penalty against Chautauqua Airlines for allegedly operating some of its regional jets without performing inspections required by five different FAA airworthiness directives (ADs).

FAA investigations found that problems with Chautauqua’s management of its maintenance program and its system for tracking the status of airworthiness directives led to the alleged violations.

One AD compliance issue involved mandated repetitive inspections for possible cracks in the lower wing planks of Canadair Regional Jets (CRJ) after every 5,000 flights (FAA AD 2002-03-14). The FAA alleges that:

  • Eight different Chautauqua CRJs conducted more than 9,900 flights between October 2007 and December 2008 before the required lower wing inspections were done.
  • In January 2009, the airline operated another CRJ on 231 flights without inspecting a different section of the lower wings for cracks and flew a different CRJ for 61 hours without a required inspection of electrical relays.
  • Another Chautauqua CRJ made more than 17,600 flights between November 2007 and January 2009 before mandatory inspections of the plane’s GE engines were performed. Chautauqua also flew one of its Embraer 145 regional jets for 43 days past the time one of its inertial navigation units should have been replaced.

Chautauqua has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.


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