US FAA officials are proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Embraer 170/190 aircraft after the Brazilian manufacturer developed a modification to address an unsafe condition involving the airliners' cargo doors.
In spring 2007 the FAA issued an AD requiring that cargo doors on E-Jets be visually inspected before each flight, after a JetBlue Airways E-190's rear cargo door opened just after take-off. The incident is one of two known events of aircraft being dispatched with the cargo door opened without indication.
The 2007 AD was considered "interim action", as Embraer developed a modification to address the situation. "The manufacturer now has developed such a modification, and we have determined that further rulemaking is indeed necessary; this proposed AD follows from that determination," says the FAA.
Unless they have accomplished the fix previously, operators will be required by the proposed AD to conduct repetitive inspections of the forward and aft cargo doors to detect signs of interference between the lock handle and the aft edge liner assembly and reworking the assembly; a one-time inspection for signs of damage of the lateral roller fitting on the forward and aft cargo door frames at the fuselage and replacement of the roller if necessary, and modification of the cargo door, which ends the repetitive inspections.
After completing the modification, the actions include incorporating information into the maintenance programme to include the operational (OPC) and functional (FNC) checks of the forward and aft cargo doors and accomplishing repetitive OPC and FNC checks.
The FAA estimates that the proposed AD will affect 145 E-Jets of US registry and take about seven work-hours per product to comply with the new basic requirements.
Based on an average labour rate of $80 per work-hour and required parts of about $17,162 per product, the FAA estimates the total cost of the proposed AD on US operators to be nearly $2.6 million.
It notes, however, that since the agency does not control warranty coverage for affected parties, some parties may incur costs higher than estimated.