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Mon, Apr 14, 2008

AAR: Boeing Signs Off On Painted Landing Gear Surfaces Over FAA Protests

Says Manufacturer's MOM Allows Enamel Paint, So There

Hoping to put a swift end to an FAA investigation into its servicing methods, on Monday AAR Corp. announced Boeing has issued a Multi Operator Message ("MOM") to its 707, 747, 757 and 767 customers, dated April 8, 2008, referencing a FAA South Florida FSDO notice (UPN No. 2008-S2008 0110024) issued last month regarding enamel paint applied by AAR to the inside surfaces of the respective aircraft main landing gear ("MGL") truck beams.

As ANN reported, the FAA took the Miami, FL maintenance facility to task for outfitting hundreds of Boeing jetliners with landing-gear equipment that had been painted in an "unapproved" fashion, over a period of years. The March 25 "unapproved parts notification" from the FAA's flight standards service said in some cases overhauled truck beams had been sent back into service with a glossy enamel on certain surfaces, contrary to Boeing's maintenance manuals.

The FAA says that violates one of its directives, issued in September of 2001. AAR responded the directive mentioned only painting over a drain hole, and that Boeing has authorized the glossy enamel paint it used.

AAR appears to have the documents to back that up. According to the company, Boeing's MOM reconfirms the enamel applied by AAR as a top coat to the inner diameter of landing gear truck beams "...to be equivalent to drawing finish requirements and can be considered acceptable subject to all other standard overhaul processes and applicable CMM [Component Maintenance Manual] instructions being followed at the time of the overhaul."

Boeing also stated in the MOM that while the preferred finishing method described in the applicable truck beam CMMs for 747, 757 and 767 aircraft does not require an enamel top coat "...the presence of enamel top coat is not detrimental and is equivalent to the design finish and hence type design" for these aircraft models.

They further stated that "For all 707 model aircraft, the design finish scheme [described in the 707 CMM] includes both primer and enamel paint in the inner diameter of the truck beam". Accordingly, a top coat of enamel as used by AAR is required on the inner surface of 707 landing gear truck beams. In deference to Boeing's preferred finishing method, AAR Landing Gear Services discontinued applying the enamel top coat to internal truck beam surfaces of 747,757 and 767 landing gear earlier this year.

FAA approval of enamel coating on MGL truck beam inner surfaces is available through the issuance of an FAA Form 8100-9 upon customer request to Boeing. The FAA is reviewing the Boeing top coating equivalency determination in the MOM for its effect on the UPN. The Company expects no contingent liability or financial penalties related to the FAA Notice.

AAR has been operating FAA approved Repair Stations since 1968, The company says it has and will continue to work with Boeing and the FAA to clarify and resolve this issue with out disruption to its customers.

FMI: www.aarcorp.com, www.boeing.com, www.faa.gov

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