In April of 1999, Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM) issued Critical Service Bulletin CSB-99-3A that cited seven crankshaft fractures that have occurred on low time engines manufactured during 1998. To prevent any further crankshaft failures TCMï¿½s Critical Service Bulletin mandates an ultrasonic inspection within the next ten hours time in service (TIS) for crankshafts with 300 hours or less, or within the next 50 hours TIS for crankshafts with over 300 hours. TCM has a small number of inspectors in place throughout the country to conduct the required ultrasonic inspections.
There are approximately 3,000 engines affected by this CSB. Sources at TCM indicate that the engine manufacturer contracted an engineering firm to conduct the highly specialized ultrasonic inspections. Due to the specialized nature of the inspection process, very few technicians are certified to complete the required ultrasonic inspection. Consequently, affected aircraft owners may be grounded as long as five months before a qualified TCM representative is available to conduct the required inspection.
AOPA maintains that a potential five-month (or even a three month) aircraft downtime would be unacceptable. Long periods of aircraft grounding, such as this one, can have a substantial financial impact upon affected aircraft owners. These owners must continue to pay aircraft loans, monthly hangar or tie-down rental fees, chart subscriptions, costly GPS database subscriptions, and aircraft insurance premiums regardless of whether or not their aircraft are flying. AOPA believes that the potential adverse economic impact of grounding over 3,000 aircraft for up to five months demands serious attention and consideration on the part of Teledyne-Continental Motors. It is AOPAï¿½s sincere hope that TCM recognizes and fully understands the impact of any extended periods of aircraft grounding and makes every effort to substantially reduce the downtime for affected aircraft owners.
On April 28, 1999, AOPA president Phil Boyer sent a letter to the president of TCM, Bryan Lewis. The letter highlighted AOPAï¿½s concerns and strongly urged TCM to make every effort to keep aircraft downtimes to an absolute minimum. On May 7, 1999, AOPA President Phil Boyer held a telephone conference with TCM President Bryan Lewis following up on AOPAï¿½s April 28 th letter concerning CSB 99-3A and its associated AD. TCM reported the following:
On September 15, 1999, the FAA issued AD 99-19-01, which superceded the previously issued priority letter AD 99-09-17. In the new AD, the FAA expanded the applicability of the required inspections to GTSIO-520 engines and some additional engines identified by serial number. Additionally, the FAA increased the time in service requirement to 500hrs TIS for affected engines. The FAA contends that 3000 of the 3200 engines affected by this AD have already been inspected. Engines that were previously inspected under the priority letter AD are not required to conduct any additional inspections.
Letter from AOPA president Phil Boyer to TCM president Bryan Lewis, April 28, 1999
TCM Critical Service Bulletin CSB-99-3A Synopsis, April 1999
TCM Critical Service Bulletin CSB-99-3A, April 1999
TCM Critical Service Bulletin CSB 99-6A, July 21, 1999 (514k; requires Adobe Reader)
FAA Priority letter AD 99-09-17, April 22, 1999
AOPA News Release 99-2-028
Letter to AOPA president Phil Boyer from TCM president Bryan Lewis, May 13, 1999 (requires Adobe Reader)
AD 99-19-01, September 15, 1999
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.