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Title 14Chapter ISubchapter CPart 25Subpart E → Subject Group


Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
PART 25—AIRWORTHINESS STANDARDS: TRANSPORT CATEGORY AIRPLANES
Subpart E—Powerplant


Fuel System

§25.951   General.

(a) Each fuel system must be constructed and arranged to ensure a flow of fuel at a rate and pressure established for proper engine and auxiliary power unit functioning under each likely operating condition, including any maneuver for which certification is requested and during which the engine or auxiliary power unit is permitted to be in operation.

(b) Each fuel system must be arranged so that any air which is introduced into the system will not result in—

(1) Power interruption for more than 20 seconds for reciprocating engines; or

(2) Flameout for turbine engines.

(c) Each fuel system for a turbine engine must be capable of sustained operation throughout its flow and pressure range with fuel initially saturated with water at 80 °F and having 0.75cc of free water per gallon added and cooled to the most critical condition for icing likely to be encountered in operation.

(d) Each fuel system for a turbine engine powered airplane must meet the applicable fuel venting requirements of part 34 of this chapter.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR 5677, Apr. 8, 1970; Amdt. 25-36, 39 FR 35460, Oct. 1, 1974; Amdt. 25-38, 41 FR 55467, Dec. 20, 1976; Amdt. 25-73, 55 FR 32861, Aug. 10, 1990]

§25.952   Fuel system analysis and test.

(a) Proper fuel system functioning under all probable operating conditions must be shown by analysis and those tests found necessary by the Administrator. Tests, if required, must be made using the airplane fuel system or a test article that reproduces the operating characteristics of the portion of the fuel system to be tested.

(b) The likely failure of any heat exchanger using fuel as one of its fluids may not result in a hazardous condition.

[Amdt. 25-40, 42 FR 15043, Mar. 17, 1977]

§25.953   Fuel system independence.

Each fuel system must meet the requirements of §25.903(b) by—

(a) Allowing the supply of fuel to each engine through a system independent of each part of the system supplying fuel to any other engine; or

(b) Any other acceptable method.

§25.954   Fuel system lightning protection.

(a) For purposes of this section—

(1) A critical lightning strike is a lightning strike that attaches to the airplane in a location that, when combined with the failure of any design feature or structure, could create an ignition source.

(2) A fuel system includes any component within either the fuel tank structure or the fuel tank systems, and any airplane structure or system components that penetrate, connect to, or are located within a fuel tank.

(b) The design and installation of a fuel system must prevent catastrophic fuel vapor ignition due to lightning and its effects, including:

(1) Direct lightning strikes to areas having a high probability of stroke attachment;

(2) Swept lightning strokes to areas where swept strokes are highly probable; and

(3) Lightning-induced or conducted electrical transients.

(c) To comply with paragraph (b) of this section, catastrophic fuel vapor ignition must be extremely improbable, taking into account flammability, critical lightning strikes, and failures within the fuel system.

(d) To protect design features that prevent catastrophic fuel vapor ignition caused by lightning, the type design must include critical design configuration control limitations (CDCCLs) identifying those features and providing information to protect them. To ensure the continued effectiveness of those design features, the type design must also include inspection and test procedures, intervals between repetitive inspections and tests, and mandatory replacement times for those design features used in demonstrating compliance to paragraph (b) of this section. The applicant must include the information required by this paragraph in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness required by §25.1529.

[Doc. No. FAA-2014-1027, Amdt. 25-146, 83 FR 47556, Sept. 20, 2018]

§25.955   Fuel flow.

(a) Each fuel system must provide at least 100 percent of the fuel flow required under each intended operating condition and maneuver. Compliance must be shown as follows:

(1) Fuel must be delivered to each engine at a pressure within the limits specified in the engine type certificate.

(2) The quantity of fuel in the tank may not exceed the amount established as the unusable fuel supply for that tank under the requirements of §25.959 plus that necessary to show compliance with this section.

(3) Each main pump must be used that is necessary for each operating condition and attitude for which compliance with this section is shown, and the appropriate emergency pump must be substituted for each main pump so used.

(4) If there is a fuel flowmeter, it must be blocked and the fuel must flow through the meter or its bypass.

(b) If an engine can be supplied with fuel from more than one tank, the fuel system must—

(1) For each reciprocating engine, supply the full fuel pressure to that engine in not more than 20 seconds after switching to any other fuel tank containing usable fuel when engine malfunctioning becomes apparent due to the depletion of the fuel supply in any tank from which the engine can be fed; and

(2) For each turbine engine, in addition to having appropriate manual switching capability, be designed to prevent interruption of fuel flow to that engine, without attention by the flight crew, when any tank supplying fuel to that engine is depleted of usable fuel during normal operation, and any other tank, that normally supplies fuel to that engine alone, contains usable fuel.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6912, May 5, 1967]

§25.957   Flow between interconnected tanks.

If fuel can be pumped from one tank to another in flight, the fuel tank vents and the fuel transfer system must be designed so that no structural damage to the tanks can occur because of overfilling.

§25.959   Unusable fuel supply.

The unusable fuel quantity for each fuel tank and its fuel system components must be established at not less than the quantity at which the first evidence of engine malfunction occurs under the most adverse fuel feed condition for all intended operations and flight maneuvers involving fuel feeding from that tank. Fuel system component failures need not be considered.

[Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR 5677, Apr. 8, 1970, as amended by Amdt. 25-40, 42 FR 15043, Mar. 17, 1977]

§25.961   Fuel system hot weather operation.

(a) The fuel system must perform satisfactorily in hot weather operation. This must be shown by showing that the fuel system from the tank outlets to each engine is pressurized, under all intended operations, so as to prevent vapor formation, or must be shown by climbing from the altitude of the airport elected by the applicant to the maximum altitude established as an operating limitation under §25.1527. If a climb test is elected, there may be no evidence of vapor lock or other malfunctioning during the climb test conducted under the following conditions:

(1) For reciprocating engine powered airplanes, the engines must operate at maximum continuous power, except that takeoff power must be used for the altitudes from 1,000 feet below the critical altitude through the critical altitude. The time interval during which takeoff power is used may not be less than the takeoff time limitation.

(2) For turbine engine powered airplanes, the engines must operate at takeoff power for the time interval selected for showing the takeoff flight path, and at maximum continuous power for the rest of the climb.

(3) The weight of the airplane must be the weight with full fuel tanks, minimum crew, and the ballast necessary to maintain the center of gravity within allowable limits.

(4) The climb airspeed may not exceed—

(i) For reciprocating engine powered airplanes, the maximum airspeed established for climbing from takeoff to the maximum operating altitude with the airplane in the following configuration:

(A) Landing gear retracted.

(B) Wing flaps in the most favorable position.

(C) Cowl flaps (or other means of controlling the engine cooling supply) in the position that provides adequate cooling in the hot-day condition.

(D) Engine operating within the maximum continuous power limitations.

(E) Maximum takeoff weight; and

(ii) For turbine engine powered airplanes, the maximum airspeed established for climbing from takeoff to the maximum operating altitude.

(5) The fuel temperature must be at least 110 °F.

(b) The test prescribed in paragraph (a) of this section may be performed in flight or on the ground under closely simulated flight conditions. If a flight test is performed in weather cold enough to interfere with the proper conduct of the test, the fuel tank surfaces, fuel lines, and other fuel system parts subject to cold air must be insulated to simulate, insofar as practicable, flight in hot weather.

[Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6912, May 5, 1967, as amended by Amdt. 25-57, 49 FR 6848, Feb. 23, 1984]

§25.963   Fuel tanks: general.

(a) Each fuel tank must be able to withstand, without failure, the vibration, inertia, fluid, and structural loads that it may be subjected to in operation.

(b) Flexible fuel tank liners must be approved or must be shown to be suitable for the particular application.

(c) Integral fuel tanks must have facilities for interior inspection and repair.

(d) Fuel tanks must, so far as it is practicable, be designed, located, and installed so that no fuel is released in or near the fuselage, or near the engines, in quantities that would constitute a fire hazard in otherwise survivable emergency landing conditions, and—

(1) Fuel tanks must be able to resist rupture and retain fuel under ultimate hydrostatic design conditions in which the pressure P within the tank varies in accordance with the formula:

P = KρgL

Where—

P = fuel pressure at each point within the tank

ρ = typical fuel density

g = acceleration due to gravity

L = a reference distance between the point of pressure and the tank farthest boundary in the direction of loading

K = 4.5 for the forward loading condition for those parts of fuel tanks outside the fuselage pressure boundary

K = 9 for the forward loading condition for those parts of fuel tanks within the fuselage pressure boundary, or that form part of the fuselage pressure boundary

K = 1.5 for the aft loading condition

K = 3.0 for the inboard and outboard loading conditions for those parts of fuel tanks within the fuselage pressure boundary, or that form part of the fuselage pressure boundary

K = 1.5 for the inboard and outboard loading conditions for those parts of fuel tanks outside the fuselage pressure boundary

K = 6 for the downward loading condition

K = 3 for the upward loading condition

(2) For those parts of wing fuel tanks near the fuselage or near the engines, the greater of the fuel pressures resulting from paragraphs (d)(2)(i) or (d)(2)(ii) of this section must be used:

(i) The fuel pressures resulting from paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and

(ii) The lesser of the two following conditions:

(A) Fuel pressures resulting from the accelerations specified in §25.561(b)(3) considering the fuel tank full of fuel at maximum fuel density. Fuel pressures based on the 9.0g forward acceleration may be calculated using the fuel static head equal to the streamwise local chord of the tank. For inboard and outboard conditions, an acceleration of 1.5g may be used in lieu of 3.0g as specified in §25.561(b)(3).

(B) Fuel pressures resulting from the accelerations as specified in §25.561(b)(3) considering a fuel volume beyond 85 percent of the maximum permissible volume in each tank using the static head associated with the 85 percent fuel level. A typical density of the appropriate fuel may be used. For inboard and outboard conditions, an acceleration of 1.5g may be used in lieu of 3.0g as specified in §25.561(b)(3).

(3) Fuel tank internal barriers and baffles may be considered as solid boundaries if shown to be effective in limiting fuel flow.

(4) For each fuel tank and surrounding airframe structure, the effects of crushing and scraping actions with the ground must not cause the spillage of enough fuel, or generate temperatures that would constitute a fire hazard under the conditions specified in §25.721(b).

(5) Fuel tank installations must be such that the tanks will not rupture as a result of the landing gear or an engine pylon or engine mount tearing away as specified in §25.721(a) and (c).

(e) Fuel tank access covers must comply with the following criteria in order to avoid loss of hazardous quantities of fuel:

(1) All covers located in an area where experience or analysis indicates a strike is likely must be shown by analysis or tests to minimize penetration and deformation by tire fragments, low energy engine debris, or other likely debris.

(2) All covers must be fire resistant as defined in part 1 of this chapter.

(f) For pressurized fuel tanks, a means with fail-safe features must be provided to prevent the buildup of an excessive pressure difference between the inside and the outside of the tank.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-40, 42 FR 15043, Mar. 17, 1977; Amdt. 25-69, 54 FR 40354, Sept. 29, 1989; Amdt. 25-139, 79 FR 59430, Oct. 2, 2014]

§25.965   Fuel tank tests.

(a) It must be shown by tests that the fuel tanks, as mounted in the airplane, can withstand, without failure or leakage, the more critical of the pressures resulting from the conditions specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section. In addition, it must be shown by either analysis or tests, that tank surfaces subjected to more critical pressures resulting from the condition of paragraphs (a)(3) and (4) of this section, are able to withstand the following pressures:

(1) An internal pressure of 3.5 psi.

(2) 125 percent of the maximum air pressure developed in the tank from ram effect.

(3) Fluid pressures developed during maximum limit accelerations, and deflections, of the airplane with a full tank.

(4) Fluid pressures developed during the most adverse combination of airplane roll and fuel load.

(b) Each metallic tank with large unsupported or unstiffened flat surfaces, whose failure or deformation could cause fuel leakage, must be able to withstand the following test, or its equivalent, without leakage or excessive deformation of the tank walls:

(1) Each complete tank assembly and its supports must be vibration tested while mounted to simulate the actual installation.

(2) Except as specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the tank assembly must be vibrated for 25 hours at an amplitude of not less than 132 of an inch (unless another amplitude is substantiated) while 23 filled with water or other suitable test fluid.

(3) The test frequency of vibration must be as follows:

(i) If no frequency of vibration resulting from any r.p.m. within the normal operating range of engine speeds is critical, the test frequency of vibration must be 2,000 cycles per minute.

(ii) If only one frequency of vibration resulting from any r.p.m. within the normal operating range of engine speeds is critical, that frequency of vibration must be the test frequency.

(iii) If more than one frequency of vibration resulting from any r.p.m. within the normal operating range of engine speeds is critical, the most critical of these frequencies must be the test frequency.

(4) Under paragraphs (b)(3)(ii) and (iii) of this section, the time of test must be adjusted to accomplish the same number of vibration cycles that would be accomplished in 25 hours at the frequency specified in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section.

(5) During the test, the tank assembly must be rocked at the rate of 16 to 20 complete cycles per minute, through an angle of 15° on both sides of the horizontal (30° total), about the most critical axis, for 25 hours. If motion about more than one axis is likely to be critical, the tank must be rocked about each critical axis for 1212 hours.

(c) Except where satisfactory operating experience with a similar tank in a similar installation is shown, nonmetallic tanks must withstand the test specified in paragraph (b)(5) of this section, with fuel at a temperature of 110 °F. During this test, a representative specimen of the tank must be installed in a supporting structure simulating the installation in the airplane.

(d) For pressurized fuel tanks, it must be shown by analysis or tests that the fuel tanks can withstand the maximum pressure likely to occur on the ground or in flight.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6913, May 5, 1967; Amdt. 25-40, 42 FR 15043, Mar. 17, 1977]

§25.967   Fuel tank installations.

(a) Each fuel tank must be supported so that tank loads (resulting from the weight of the fuel in the tanks) are not concentrated on unsupported tank surfaces. In addition—

(1) There must be pads, if necessary, to prevent chafing between the tank and its supports;

(2) Padding must be nonabsorbent or treated to prevent the absorption of fluids;

(3) If a flexible tank liner is used, it must be supported so that it is not required to withstand fluid loads; and

(4) Each interior surface of the tank compartment must be smooth and free of projections that could cause wear of the liner unless—

(i) Provisions are made for protection of the liner at these points; or

(ii) The construction of the liner itself provides that protection.

(b) Spaces adjacent to tank surfaces must be ventilated to avoid fume accumulation due to minor leakage. If the tank is in a sealed compartment, ventilation may be limited to drain holes large enough to prevent excessive pressure resulting from altitude changes.

(c) The location of each tank must meet the requirements of §25.1185(a).

(d) No engine nacelle skin immediately behind a major air outlet from the engine compartment may act as the wall of an integral tank.

(e) Each fuel tank must be isolated from personnel compartments by a fumeproof and fuelproof enclosure.

§25.969   Fuel tank expansion space.

Each fuel tank must have an expansion space of not less than 2 percent of the tank capacity. It must be impossible to fill the expansion space inadvertently with the airplane in the normal ground attitude. For pressure fueling systems, compliance with this section may be shown with the means provided to comply with §25.979(b).

[Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6913, May 5, 1967]

§25.971   Fuel tank sump.

(a) Each fuel tank must have a sump with an effective capacity, in the normal ground attitude, of not less than the greater of 0.10 percent of the tank capacity or one-sixteenth of a gallon unless operating limitations are established to ensure that the accumulation of water in service will not exceed the sump capacity.

(b) Each fuel tank must allow drainage of any hazardous quantity of water from any part of the tank to its sump with the airplane in the ground attitude.

(c) Each fuel tank sump must have an accessible drain that—

(1) Allows complete drainage of the sump on the ground;

(2) Discharges clear of each part of the airplane; and

(3) Has manual or automatic means for positive locking in the closed position.

§25.973   Fuel tank filler connection.

Each fuel tank filler connection must prevent the entrance of fuel into any part of the airplane other than the tank itself. In addition—

(a) [Reserved]

(b) Each recessed filler connection that can retain any appreciable quantity of fuel must have a drain that discharges clear of each part of the airplane;

(c) Each filler cap must provide a fuel-tight seal; and

(d) Each fuel filling point must have a provision for electrically bonding the airplane to ground fueling equipment.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-40, 42 FR 15043, Mar. 17, 1977; Amdt. 25-72, 55 FR 29785, July 20, 1990; Amdt. 25-115, 69 FR 40527, July 2, 2004]

§25.975   Fuel tank vents and carburetor vapor vents.

(a) Fuel tank vents. Each fuel tank must be vented from the top part of the expansion space so that venting is effective under any normal flight condition. In addition—

(1) Each vent must be arranged to avoid stoppage by dirt or ice formation;

(2) The vent arrangement must prevent siphoning of fuel during normal operation;

(3) The venting capacity and vent pressure levels must maintain acceptable differences of pressure between the interior and exterior of the tank, during—

(i) Normal flight operation;

(ii) Maximum rate of ascent and descent; and

(iii) Refueling and defueling (where applicable);

(4) Airspaces of tanks with interconnected outlets must be interconnected;

(5) There may be no point in any vent line where moisture can accumulate with the airplane in the ground attitude or the level flight attitude, unless drainage is provided;

(6) No vent or drainage provision may end at any point—

(i) Where the discharge of fuel from the vent outlet would constitute a fire hazard; or

(ii) From which fumes could enter personnel compartments; and

(7) Each fuel tank vent system must prevent explosions, for a minimum of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, caused by propagation of flames from outside the tank through the fuel tank vents into fuel tank vapor spaces when any fuel tank vent is continuously exposed to flame.

(b) Carburetor vapor vents. Each carburetor with vapor elimination connections must have a vent line to lead vapors back to one of the fuel tanks. In addition—

(1) Each vent system must have means to avoid stoppage by ice; and

(2) If there is more than one fuel tank, and it is necessary to use the tanks in a definite sequence, each vapor vent return line must lead back to the fuel tank used for takeoff and landing.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Docket No. FAA-2014-0500, Amdt. No. 25-143, 81 FR 41207, June 24, 2016]

§25.977   Fuel tank outlet.

(a) There must be a fuel strainer for the fuel tank outlet or for the booster pump. This strainer must—

(1) For reciprocating engine powered airplanes, have 8 to 16 meshes per inch; and

(2) For turbine engine powered airplanes, prevent the passage of any object that could restrict fuel flow or damage any fuel system component.

(b) [Reserved]

(c) The clear area of each fuel tank outlet strainer must be at least five times the area of the outlet line.

(d) The diameter of each strainer must be at least that of the fuel tank outlet.

(e) Each finger strainer must be accessible for inspection and cleaning.

[Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6913, May 5, 1967, as amended by Amdt. 25-36, 39 FR 35460, Oct. 1, 1974]

§25.979   Pressure fueling system.

For pressure fueling systems, the following apply:

(a) Each pressure fueling system fuel manifold connection must have means to prevent the escape of hazardous quantities of fuel from the system if the fuel entry valve fails.

(b) An automatic shutoff means must be provided to prevent the quantity of fuel in each tank from exceeding the maximum quantity approved for that tank. This means must—

(1) Allow checking for proper shutoff operation before each fueling of the tank; and

(2) Provide indication at each fueling station of failure of the shutoff means to stop the fuel flow at the maximum quantity approved for that tank.

(c) A means must be provided to prevent damage to the fuel system in the event of failure of the automatic shutoff means prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) The airplane pressure fueling system (not including fuel tanks and fuel tank vents) must withstand an ultimate load that is 2.0 times the load arising from the maximum pressures, including surge, that is likely to occur during fueling. The maximum surge pressure must be established with any combination of tank valves being either intentionally or inadvertently closed.

(e) The airplane defueling system (not including fuel tanks and fuel tank vents) must withstand an ultimate load that is 2.0 times the load arising from the maximum permissible defueling pressure (positive or negative) at the airplane fueling connection.

[Amdt. 25-11, 32 FR 6913, May 5, 1967, as amended by Amdt. 25-38, 41 FR 55467, Dec. 20, 1976; Amdt. 25-72, 55 FR 29785, July 20, 1990]

§25.981   Fuel tank explosion prevention.

(a) No ignition source may be present at each point in the fuel tank or fuel tank system where catastrophic failure could occur due to ignition of fuel or vapors. This must be shown by:

(1) Determining the highest temperature allowing a safe margin below the lowest expected autoignition temperature of the fuel in the fuel tanks.

(2) Demonstrating that no temperature at each place inside each fuel tank where fuel ignition is possible will exceed the temperature determined under paragraph (a)(1) of this section. This must be verified under all probable operating, failure, and malfunction conditions of each component whose operation, failure, or malfunction could increase the temperature inside the tank.

(3) Except for ignition sources due to lightning addressed by §25.954, demonstrating that an ignition source could not result from each single failure, from each single failure in combination with each latent failure condition not shown to be extremely remote, and from all combinations of failures not shown to be extremely improbable, taking into account the effects of manufacturing variability, aging, wear, corrosion, and likely damage.

(b) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(2) and (c) of this section, no fuel tank Fleet Average Flammability Exposure on an airplane may exceed three percent of the Flammability Exposure Evaluation Time (FEET) as defined in Appendix N of this part, or that of a fuel tank within the wing of the airplane model being evaluated, whichever is greater. If the wing is not a conventional unheated aluminum wing, the analysis must be based on an assumed Equivalent Conventional Unheated Aluminum Wing Tank.

(1) Fleet Average Flammability Exposure is determined in accordance with Appendix N of this part. The assessment must be done in accordance with the methods and procedures set forth in the Fuel Tank Flammability Assessment Method User's Manual, dated May 2008, document number DOT/FAA/AR-05/8 (incorporated by reference, see §25.5).

(2) Any fuel tank other than a main fuel tank on an airplane must meet the flammability exposure criteria of Appendix M to this part if any portion of the tank is located within the fuselage contour.

(3) As used in this paragraph,

(i) Equivalent Conventional Unheated Aluminum Wing Tank is an integral tank in an unheated semi-monocoque aluminum wing of a subsonic airplane that is equivalent in aerodynamic performance, structural capability, fuel tank capacity and tank configuration to the designed wing.

(ii) Fleet Average Flammability Exposure is defined in Appendix N to this part and means the percentage of time each fuel tank ullage is flammable for a fleet of an airplane type operating over the range of flight lengths.

(iii) Main Fuel Tank means a fuel tank that feeds fuel directly into one or more engines and holds required fuel reserves continually throughout each flight.

(c) Paragraph (b) of this section does not apply to a fuel tank if means are provided to mitigate the effects of an ignition of fuel vapors within that fuel tank such that no damage caused by an ignition will prevent continued safe flight and landing.

(d) To protect design features that prevent catastrophic ignition sources within the fuel tank or fuel tank system according to paragraph (a) of this section, and to prevent increasing the flammability exposure of the tanks above that permitted in paragraph (b) of this section, the type design must include critical design configuration control limitations (CDCCLs) identifying those features and providing instructions on how to protect them. To ensure the continued effectiveness of those features, and prevent degradation of the performance and reliability of any means provided according to paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of this section, the type design must also include necessary inspection and test procedures, intervals between repetitive inspections and tests, and mandatory replacement times for those features. The applicant must include information required by this paragraph in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness required by §25.1529. The type design must also include visible means of identifying critical features of the design in areas of the airplane where foreseeable maintenance actions, repairs, or alterations may compromise the CDCCLs.

[Doc. No. 1999-6411, 66 FR 23129, May 7, 2001, as amended by Doc. No. FAA-2005-22997, 73 FR 42494, July 21, 2008; Doc. No. FAA- 2014-1027, Amdt. No. 25-146, 83 FR 47556, Sept. 20, 2018]

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