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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0978; Notice No. 25-12-03-SC]

Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Model EMB-550 Airplane; Electronic Flight Control System: Control Surface Awareness and Mode Annunciation

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed special conditions.
SUMMARY: This action proposes special conditions for the Embraer S.A. Model EMB-550 airplane. This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature(s) associated with the control surface awareness and mode annunciation of the electronic flight control system. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.
DATES: Send your comments on or before November 1, 2012.
ADDRESSES: *Federal eRegulations Portal:Go tohttp://www.regulations.gov/and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

*Mail:Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001.

*Hand Delivery or Courier:Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

*Fax:Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy:The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, tohttp://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in theFederal Registerpublished on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as athttp://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/.

Docket:Background documents or comments received may be read athttp://www.regulations.gov/atany time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Jacobsen, FAA, Airplane and Flight Crew Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2011; facsimile 425-227-1149.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On May 14, 2009, Embraer S.A. applied for a type certificate for their new Model EMB-550 airplane. The Model EMB-550 airplane is the first of a new family of jet airplanes designed for corporate flight, fractional, charter, and private owner operations. The aircraft has a conventional configuration with low wing and T-tail empennage. The primary structure is metal with composite empennage and control surfaces. The Model EMB-550 airplane is designed for 8 passengers, with a maximum of 12 passengers. It is equipped with two Honeywell HTF7500-E medium bypass ratio turbofan engines mounted on aft fuselage pylons. Each engine produces approximately 6,540 pounds of thrust for normal takeoff. The primary flight controls consist of hydraulically powered fly-by-wire elevators, aileron and rudder, controlled by the pilot or copilot sidestick.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17, Embraer S.A. must show that the Model EMB-550 airplane meets the applicable provisions of part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-127.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model EMB-550 airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same or similar novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model EMB-550 airplane must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36 and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The Model EMB-550 airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features: The Embraer S.A. Model EMB-550 airplane will have a fly-by-wire electronic flight control system and no direct coupling from the flightdeck controller to the control surface. As a result, the pilot is not aware of the actual control surface position as envisioned when part 25 was written.

Discussion

This special condition proposes that the flightcrew receive a suitable flight control position annunciation when a flight condition exists in which nearly full surface authority (not crew-commanded) is being used. Suitability of such a display must take into account that some pilot-demanded maneuvers (e.g., rapid roll) are necessarily associated with intended full performance, which may saturate the surface. Therefore, simple alerting systems function in both intended and unexpected control-limiting situations. As a result, they must be properly balanced between providing necessary crew awareness and being a potential nuisance to the flightcrew. A monitoring system that compares airplane motion and surface deflection with the demand of the pilot sidestick controller could help reduce nuisance alerting.

This special condition also addresses flight control system mode annunciation. It proposes suitable mode annunciation be provided to the flightcrew for events that significantly change the operating mode of the system but do not merit the classic “failure warning.”

This proposed special condition would establish a level of safety equivalent to that provided by a conventional flight control system and that contemplated in existing regulations.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Model EMB-550 airplane. Should Embraer S.A. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model of airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Proposed Special Conditions

Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions as part of the type certification basis for Model EMB-550 airplanes.

1. Electronic Flight Control System: Control Surface Awareness and Mode Annunciation. In addition to the requirements of §§ 25.143, 25.671, and 25.672, the following requirements apply:

a. The system design must ensure that the flightcrew is made suitably aware whenever the primary control means nears the limit of control authority.

Note:

The term “suitably aware” indicates annunciations provided to the flightcrew are appropriately balanced between nuisance and that necessary for crew awareness.

b. If the design of the flight control system has multiple modes of operation, a means must be provided to indicate to the crew any mode that significantly changes or degrades the normal handling or operational characteristics of the airplane.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 7, 2012. Ali Bahrami, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.