Updated June 19, 2002
On September 5, 2000 the FAA issued Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2000-18-53 requiring inspection and or replacement of oil filter converter plate gaskets on various model Textron Lycoming engines. The AD was issued as a result of several incidents and accidents in which the oil filter gaskets swelled resulting in oil loss, and in some cases in-flight fire and engine failure.
On June 18, 2002 the FAA superceded Emergency AD 2000-18-53 by formally introducing a terminating action in a new AD 2002-12-07.
AD 2002-12-07 affects an estimated 3,000 aircraft on the U.S. Registry. The FAA maintains that if the unsafe condition remains uncorrected, these airplanes may be subjected to in-flight oil loss and subsequent engine fire/engine failure. At the time AD 2000-18-53 was issued, AOPA and many affected owners questioned the availability of the approximately 3,000 replacement gaskets that would have been needed immediately to comply with this AD and were fearful of the aircraft down time that would result from a parts shortage.
Superceding AD 2002-12-07 provides formal terminating actions to the condition addressed in the original AD 2000-18-53.
An alternative method of compliance (AMOC) or adjustment of the compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used if approved by the Manager, FAA New York Aircraft Certification Office. Operators must submit their requests through an appropriate FAA Maintenance Inspector, who may add comments and then send it to the Manager, FAA New York Aircraft Certification Office. Information concerning the existence of approved AMOCs with this airworthiness directive, if any, may be obtained from the FAA New York Aircraft Certification Office.Lycoming has instructed owners of affected aircraft to contact any factory Authorized Lycoming parts distributor to order the new part number replacement gaskets. A list of official Lycoming parts distributors is attached below.
AOPA agreed that in this particular instance the probability of in-flight oil loss and subsequent engine failure and/or fire warrants airworthiness action. However, AOPA had serious concerns regarding the availability of replacement gaskets and the widespread aircraft downtime that would likely result from a parts shortage. AOPA also maintained that the replacement of this gasket requires the working of fastener-type hardware that was not designed for such repetitive intervals. Repetitive removal of the gasket also requires scraping of the gasket material from base surface of the adapter and the accessory case (which also requires the additional handling of the chemical Methyl Ethyl Ketone or MEK).
Although the FAA had not formally requested public comments regarding AD 2000-18-53, AOPA negotiated the compliance provisions of this AD with appropriate FAA officials. AOPA continued to voice concerns regarding possible parts shortage, aircraft downtime, and repetitive field replacement of the gasket and was confident that a more reasonable solution can be reached.
Since AD 2000-18-53 essentially grounded all affected aircraft until the gasket is replaced, AOPA resolutely believed that both Textron-Lycoming and the FAA had a strong obligation to assure equal and ready access to this critical replacement part. Therefore, AOPA asked Lycoming and the FAA to take appropriate actions to assure that this new gasket became available as soon as possible and assure that all affected engine owners had equal and ready access to the replacement gasket.
AOPA is pleased that the FAA has issued superceding AD 2002-12-07 as it formally introduces much needed terminating actions to AD 2000-18-53.
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