On September 5, 2000 the FAA issued Emergency Airworthiness Directive 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.
The AD affects an estimated 3,000 aircraft, out of approximately 22,000, 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. AOPA and many affected owners question the availability of the approximately 3,000 replacement gaskets that will be needed immediately to comply with this AD and are fearful of the aircraft down time that will result from a parts shortage.
AOPA agrees that in this particular instance the probability of in-flight oil loss and subsequent engine failure and/or fire warrants airworthiness action. However, AOPA has serious concerns regarding the availability of replacement gaskets and the widespread aircraft downtime that will likely result from a parts shortage. AOPA also maintains 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 has not formally requested public comments regarding AD 2000-18-53, AOPA continues to negotiate the compliance provisions of this AD with appropriate FAA officials. AOPA continues to voice concerns regarding possible parts shortage, aircraft downtime, and repetitive field replacement of the gasket and is confident that a more reasonable solution can be reached. AOPA will continue to closely monitor this situation and will update the membership as this situation evolves.
Since this AD essentially grounds all affected aircraft until the gasket is replaced, AOPA resolutely believes that both Textron-Lycoming and the FAA have a strong obligation to assure equal and ready access to this critical replacement part. Therefore, AOPA has asked Lycoming and the FAA to take appropriate actions to assure that this new gasket becomes available as soon as possible and assure that all affected engine owners have equal and ready access to the replacement gasket.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.