Regulatory Brief -- FAA approves AMOC for emergency AD on Lycoming oil filter converter plate gaskets

Regulatory Brief

FAA approves AMOC for emergency AD on Lycoming oil filter converter plate gaskets

The issue:

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 importance to our members:

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.

Significant provisions:

  • The AD applies to the following Textron Lycoming engines: O-320-H1AD, -H2AD, -H2BD, -H3AD, -H3BD, (L)O-360-A1AD, -A1F6D, -1G6D, -A1LD, -A3AD, -A4AD, -A5AD, -E1A6D, IO-360-A1B6D, A1D6D, -A3B6D, -A3D6D, -C1E6D, -J1AD, -J1A6D, (L)TO-360-A1A6D, -C1A6D, -E1A6D, -F1A6D, TIO-360-C1A6D, (L)HIO-360-E1AD, -E1BD, -F1AD, O-540-H1A5D, -H1B5D, -H2A5D, -H2B5D, -J1A5D, -J1B5D, -J1C5D, -J1D5D, -J2A5D, -J2B5D, -J2C5D, -J2D5D, -J3A5D, -J3C5D, L3C5D, IO-540-C4D5D, -K1A5D, -K1B5D, -K1E5D, -K1F5D, -K1G5D, -K1J5D, -L1A5D, -L1B5D, -M1A5D, -M1B5D, -M2A5D, -T4A5D, -T4B5D, -T4C5D, -U1A5D, -U1B5D, -V4A5D, -W1A5D, -W3A5D, (L)TIO-540-K1AD, -S1AD, -AA1AD, -AB1AD, -AB1BD, -F2BD, -J2BD, -N2BD, -R2AD, -T2AD, -V2AD, AEIO-540-L1B5D, TIO-541-E series, TIGO-541-D1A, -D1B, -E1A, IO-720-A1BD, -C1BD, D1BD, and �D1CD.
  • FAA sources also indicate that there have been several incidents and accidents since February 14, 2000, including one fatal accident, that were a result of swollen, damaged or leaking oil filter converter plate gaskets. All of the engines involved had suspect gaskets that had anywhere from 160 to 515 hours TIS.
  • The FAA estimates that approximately 3,000 engines in the US may be affected by this AD based upon Lycoming's estimate of the number of gaskets installed at the factory or shipped since April 1, 1999.
  • The AD mandates immediate replacement of the oil filter converter plate gasket before further flight for gaskets with more than 50 hours Time-In-Service (TIS) since installation of the gasket and every 50-hour interval thereafter.
  • The AD also requires immediate inspection of gaskets with fewer then 50 hours TIS and immediate replacement of the gasket if indicated, replacement at 50 hours TIS, and every 50-hour interval thereafter.
  • The required 50-hour interval gasket replacement will stay in effect until Lycoming has found a suitable replacement gasket and/or has a better understanding of the dynamics surrounding the failure of the gasket that will allow for a less onerous compliance method. The FAA said that it would press Lycoming for a quick resolution.
  • Based on one industry source, the cost of gasket replacement will add approximately $40 � $60 to the cost of the 50-hour interval oil change.
  • On 9/19/00, FAA sources indicated that there are currently 1,700 gaskets available. These gaskets are the same part number as the defective gasket. AOPA has been unable to neither confirm nor deny their existence.
  • On 9/27/2000 FAA sources indicated that approximately 4300 new part number gaskets were being shipped to Lycoming for final quality control testing. FAA stated that the testing should be complete over the weekend and the new gaskets should be available from Lycoming and parts distributors sometime next week. The agency plans to release an approved alternative method of compliance (AMOC) making installation of a new part number gaskets terminating action for AD 2000-18-53.
  • On 10/4/2000 the FAA issued it official approval of an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) for the AD. The AMOC specifies that the one-time installation of a new part number gasket will serve as terminating action for the AD.
  • The AMOC is included in Lycoming SB No. 543A supplement No. 1, Dated October 4, 2000.
  • Lycoming indicated that the 4300 new part number gaskets have passed quality control inspections and have been shipped to distributors. To alleviate industry concerns over possible parts shortages or parts hoarding Lycoming officials have arranged for 8000 additional gaskets to be shipped to parts distributors in the coming weeks.
  • 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.
  • Lycoming has also indicated that if the distributor you contact reports that they do not have the gasket in stock, the distributor is to immediately contact Lycoming after-market sales representatives to have the part drop-shipped directly from the Lycoming factory.
  • IMPORTANT! � If you've contacted a Lycoming distributor that has no gaskets in stock and is unwilling or unable to contact Lycoming to arrange drop-shipment of the part contact AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) for further assistance. When calling, please have the name, location, and telephone number of the distributor available for the technical specialist assisting you.

AOPA position:

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.

Status:

  • On September 5, 2000, FAA issued Emergency AD 2000-18-53.
  • On September 19, 2000, the FAA stated that the installation of a new Textron-Lycoming replacement gasket with a new part number will be considered as an "ending action" to AD 2000-18-53.
  • On October 4, 2000, the FAA issued their official approval of an alternative means of compliance for AD-2000-18-53.

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