Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (AMES) has replaced the aft pressure bulkhead on a Boeing 767-200 freighter for cargo carrier ABX Air.
The modification was done to satisfy a Boeing service bulletin referenced in a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness directive, which requires operators to replace the bulkhead before accumulting 43,000 flight cycles.
"Aside from Boeing, we are unaware of any operator or MRO that has completed this workscope on a Boeing 767 aircraft," says Jim Savastano, vice president of technical operations at AMES.
The process to replace the aft pressure bulkhead took about 30 days, the Wilmington, Ohio-based MRO says. It says that it is planning to perform similar work in the "near future".
In May 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration adopted an airworthiness directive requiring Boeing 767-200/300 operators to replace the aft pressure bulkhead before 43,000 flight cycles, or 5,000 flight cycles after the directive went into effect on 18 June 2012.
Operators like ABX Air must perform eddy current inspections on the aft pressure bulkhead before 43,000 flight cycles or for every 1,600 flight cycles after the AD became effective. If cracks are found during these inspections, the directive mandates that operators replace the bulkheads or repair them before flying them.
The administration said it issued the AD after reports of fatigue cracking in the radial web lap and tear strap splices on the bulkhead. Fatigue cracking on the aft pressure bulkhead can cause rapid decompression and potential damage or interference with aircraft systems, said the directive.
ABX Air operates a fleet of 28 Boeing 767-200 freighters and five Boeing 767-300 freighters, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows. Three of the 767-200s have logged cumulative cycles beyond 43,000 hours.
ABX Air and AMES are both subsidiaries of Air Transport Services Group.