Fire Hazard: B/E Protective Breathing Equipment (PBE), P/N 119003-11

The FAA has revised a proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) for the B/E Aerospace protective breathing equipment (PBE) part number 119003-11.

This AD is in the NPRM stage. This means that it is a proposal – not yet a regulation – but that the FAA intends to issue a final regulation related to this article. A previous NPRM required inspection of the units, but it appears that the FAA has decided that inspection is insufficient; the FAA has changed its remedy to inspection and replacement of units that fail inspection.

The FAA reports that there have been incidents of fires when the PBEs were activated.  Problems with these PBEs have been reported in the past, and B/E Aerospace issued Service Bulletin 119003-35-5 (April 19 2010) addressed certain PBE problems in this part number (but only for a limited range of serial numbers).  Note that the current proposed AD would affect all serial numbers.

The newly issued NPRM would supersede a 2011 final AD against a limited number of serial numbers of the same units. That AD required inspection of the units.  A June 2015 NPRM would have required inspection of all units (regardless of serial number) but the FAA has decided that the inspection instruction (alone) is inadequate.  This AD is being issued as a supplemental NPRM (in addition to the June 2015 NPRM) in order to permit comments due to the burden being changed; but it is very likely that this will go to final rule.  In 2011,the FAA received comments opposing the original AD and implemented it anyway, explaining that there was an safety danger.

If an operator has a faulty unit, then the FAA has directed that they replace it with either B/E Aerospace P/N 119003-21 or any other serviceable, FAA-approved, PBE.

Distributors should take two different messages from this NPRM:

  • First, if you have these units in stock, you should consider how best to safely disposition them.  Remember, PBEs are class five hazardous materials (oxidizers).  You should only be shipping them if you are properly trained under the regulations.
  • Second, operators who may have inspected the limited run of serial numbers in 2011 (pursuant to the original AD) and then retained them in service will need replacements when the AD becomes final.  In addition, operators who have units of all serial numbers may require replacements.  This could be a sales opportunity for some distributors!

 

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About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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