Wed, Jan 14, 2004
AOPA, T-34 Type Club Dialing Up The Pressure
AOPA and the T-34
Association are telling the FAA that the proposed timeframe for
owners of Beechcraft T-34 Mentors to comply with an airworthiness
concern is too short and needs to be extended.
The FAA issued an Airworthiness Concern Sheet (ACS) following a
recent fatal T-34 accident involving a wing-spar failure. The FAA
also issued Flight Standards Information Bulletin FSAW 03-11,
Special Inspection for T-34 Mentor Aircraft, which requires each
flight standards district office to inspect every T-34 in its
district for compliance with an earlier wing spar airworthiness
directive (2001-13-18), annual or 100-hour inspection, and general
aircraft condition. The FAA also intends to require owners to
comply with Raytheon Service Bulletin SB57-3329. But doing so could
mean owners would not be able to utilize the alternate means of
compliance currently under development.
But the T-34 association told the FAA that all of the wing-spar
failures involved aircraft that are used for simulated combat
flight or "upset" training, which involve much greater stresses
than the more normal flight operations that the majority of T-34s
are used for.
Both AOPA and the T-34 Association have told the agency that the
20-flight-hour or 30-day time limit is unnecessarily short. "The
resulting demand on the limited number of providers capable of
performing the inspections could lead to a considerable number of
aircraft unable to comply in this narrow timeframe," wrote Rob
Hackman, AOPA's manager of Regulatory and Certification Policy.
Hackman also pointed out that the original wing-spar AD gave
owners a 200-hour extension in which to comply but that the ACS
apparently makes no provision for that extension. "We would ask
that a provision allowing these aircraft to continue flying be
considered in any action taken by the FAA," wrote Hackman.
The T-34 Association has
developed an airworthiness status checklist to help owners prepare
for the upcoming FAA inspections.
The Airworthiness Concern process was developed jointly by the
FAA and aviation industry to allow the agency to collect
preliminary information from the industry before determining the
best way to address airworthiness issues.
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