On May 9, 2000, the FAA issued final Rule AD 2000-09-06 mandating inspection of all Nicopress sleeve terminal ends on various model Maule airplanes. The AD is intended to prevent a control cable from slipping from an improperly crimped Nicopress sleeve that could result in loss of rudder, elevator, aileron, or flap control.
The AD affects all models of Maule airplanes manufactured over the past 37 years. During that time span, Maule has manufactured over 2200 airplanes (each with an average of 27 Nicopress sleeves) with no previous problems. Citing one accident in which a rudder cable slipped out itï¿½s Nicopress sleeve during landing, the FAA issued a direct-final rule (no public comment period allowed) AD mandating the inspections.
AOPA agrees that in this particular situation, the potential for in-flight loss of control authority may warrant airworthiness action for Maule airplanes less than 10 years old. However, AOPA fails to see any evidence that suggests that Maule airplanes more than 10 years old may exhibit any of the Nicopress sleeve problems associated with the accident airplane cited in the AD. In their service bulletin, Maule indicates that theyï¿½ve produced more than 2200 airplanes over the past 37 years, for a total of approximately 60,000 Nicopress sleeves without any previous problem. AOPA maintains that the exemplary 37 year service history of the Nicopress sleeves on Maule airplanes is evidence enough that Maule airplanes more than 10 years old are not likely to be affected by Nicopress sleeve problems. AOPA will submit comments to the FAA on the provisions of this AD and will update the membership as this situation develops.
AD 2000-09-06, May 9, 2000 (requires Adobe Reader)
Maule Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 20, December 29, 1999 (requires Adobe Reader)
NTSB Preliminary Accident Report, December 15, 1999
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.