22nd May 2009 at 04:28Dispute over an airworthiness directive (AD) concerning two of the most common GA planes:
May 20, 2009
Cessna Owners, Advocacy Groups React To FAA AD On 150s & 152s
By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Last week, the FAA issued a final airworthiness directive affecting some 17,000 Cessna 150s and 152s in the U.S., despite widespread input from owners and advocacy groups who had opposed the directive when it was proposed back in 2007. The AD requires owners to either install a placard in the airplane to prohibit spins and other aerobatic maneuvers, or to replace some parts of the rudder, which would cost about $500. "AOPA opposes this AD," Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs, said this week. "We recommended [in 2007] that the FAA issue a special airworthiness information bulletin for a one-time inspection of the rudder area. This would allow the aircraft owner or a mechanic to check to make sure the rudder parts are installed correctly." The AD stems from two fatal accidents in the aircraft, in which pilots were practicing spins and were unable to recover.
AOPA says the aircraft in the 1998 accident was not airworthy shouldn't have been flying, and the aircraft in the 2005 accident had rudder bumpers installed incorrectly. AOPA said it is working with the FAA to try to mitigate the impact of the AD and has contacted the agency's small airplane directorate "to learn why such a sweeping action was taken to address what seem to be very isolated incidents." EAA noted that there have been "no failures of the aircraft's rudder control system which would lead one to believe the aircraft's type design was at fault." Tom Carr, of the Cessna Pilots Association, told AVweb on Wednesday that "CPA voiced our concerns in our NPRM comments and the FAA did not seem to agree." He said that an FAA official had told him that "Cessna demonstrated that there could be contact between the rudder and elevator even when the aircraft met type design and Cessna felt the kit installation resolved that issue." He added that he thinks it is unlikely that the FAA is going to back off from its current stand on the issue. The AD must be complied with within 100 hours after June 17, or within 12 months, whichever occurs first.