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Thu, Feb 16, 2023

Continental Engine Issue Affects More than Just Cirrus

Upcoming Service Bulletin Precludes More than 5 Hours of Operation Before Service

News broke, recently, regarding an operational pause at Cirrus Aircraft, when they paused all flight operations on SR22/SR22T aircraft manufactured between June 1, 2021 and February 7, 2023 - but the issue runs even deeper than expected -- even for Cirrus.

When news broke of an upcoming service bulletin from Continental Aerospace Technologies, details were slim regarding the extent of the issue, until Continental gave out a worrisome Valentine's day gift: A Service Bulletin for thousands of its newer engines, affecting 360, 470, and 550 series engines made between 2021 and now. The company said that the snap rings on crankshaft counterweights on such 6-cylinder engines may have been improperly seated at the factory, and could prematurely fail. Should the rings be installed incorrectly, the engine could quickly experience catastrophic failure as the counterweights come undone during flight. Continental describes the issue as a "potential assembly error affecting 2,000 crankshaft assemblies". 

The bulletin requires that planes outfitted with the affected serials be serviced - provided they have flown less than 200 flight hours so far. Continental says that those which have already flown more than 200 hours may continue regular flight operations, tacitly signaling that any affected engines would have already failed. Those under 200 hours of engine time are allowed to fly no more than 5 hours to reach a service center and get inspected for proper snap ring seating. The service may be a pricey one for Continental, with O-470-R and IO-360's being the quickest inspection with a single cylinder removal. GTSIO-520 owners will see a little more downtime, since the model requires the removal of cylinders 1, 3, and 5 for adequate snap ring inspection. The work will be covered by the company, however, so aside from the inconvenience, owners will come out the other end with peace of mind. Continental has created a dedicated support team for the Service Bulletin, which can assist with customer inquiries, processing tool requests, and reimbursement for bulletin fulfillment.

Affected customers can find the phone numbers and email addresses under Section 5 of the Document below. Once complete, customers must submit the appropriate compliance form, work invoice, and copy of the repair agency's W-9 for reimbursement.

FMI: www.continental.aero
(An initial release of this story indicated that customers may be liable for costs of the inspection. Continental confirmed to Aero-News that the inspection will indeed be covered under warranty per Section V of MSB23-01A. We regret the error.)

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