The U.S. FAA finalized a new rule designed to mitigate conditions that put airliners at risk for wire failures, smoke and fire.
The final rule greatly enhances the safety requirements for design, installation and maintenance of electrical wiring in new and existing airplane designs. It moves existing rules on wiring into a single section of the regulations, and adds new certification standards to address wire degradation and inadequate design or maintenance.
Under the rule, manufacturers must complete FAA-approved instructions for new wiring-related maintenance and inspection tasks within 24 months of the effective date for existing airplanes. U.S. scheduled air carriers and foreign airlines operating U.S.-registered aircraft must develop maintenance and inspection programs for wiring based on the manufacturers` instructions within 39 months of the effective date, and update those programs as needed for subsequent aircraft modifications.
This final rule is a result of recommendations made by industry groups working with the FAA and international authorities. The new maintenance requirements apply to aircraft carrying more than 30 passengers or having a maximum payload of 7,500 pounds or more. The estimated total cost of this final rule is $416 million ($233 million present value) over 25 years.
The rule is part of a broader FAA effort to improve the safety of a variety of aircraft systems, including wiring. The program looked at how connectors, wiring harnesses and cables were installed and how they degraded during an aircraft`s service. (FAA)