Regulatory Brief -- FAA rescinds AD mandating installation of placards on various model Raytheon Beech aircraft

Regulatory Brief

FAA rescinds AD mandating installation of placards on various model Raytheon Beech aircraft

The issue:

In March 1999 the FAA issued AD 99-05-13 mandating the installation of a placard on the fuel selector valve of various model Raytheon Beechcraft airplanes. According to the FAA, the mandatory placard is to be installed "to warn pilots of the no-flow condition that exists between the fuel tank detents" and is the result of reports of engine stoppage due to improperly positioned fuel selector valves.

The importance to our members:

A large number of AOPA members own aircraft affected by this AD. The required placard is being provided by Raytheon at no cost and installation can be performed by the aircraft owner. However, mandatory installation of placards containing operational information, rather than emergency information, can potentially degrade the safety of flight.

Significant provisions:

  • AD 99-05-13 applies to Beechcraft 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 33, 35, 36, A36, A36TC/B36TC, 45, 50, 56, 58, 58P, 58TC, 60, 65, 70, 76, 77, 80, 88, and 95 series airplanes and requires installing a placard on the fuel tank selector to warn of the no-flow condition that exists between the fuel tank detents.
  • In the majority of aircraft affected by this AD, the fuel selector is positioned in such a place that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a pilot to see or read any warning placard.
  • The pilot operating handbook (POH) of most new models of aircraft affected by AD 99-05-13 currently contains warning information regarding improper positioning of the fuel selector valve.
  • The military utilizes strict guidelines regarding the installation of placards on vehicles such as aircraft and tanks, and reserves placards solely for emergency information. Operational and performance information is included in operating manuals rather than placards.

AOPA position:

AOPA has always held that the military doctrine regarding the use of placards should be imposed on the FAA. If placards continue to be applied to every error a pilot can make, critical emergency information will become lost in the muddle of general operating information. The placards will eventually become meaningless. AOPA holds that a pilot's failure to properly position the fuel selector valve is an operational concern rather than an airworthiness issue. Operational concerns such as this are more appropriately addressed by including supplementary information in the POH or AFM. Consequently, AOPA recommends that AD 99-05-13 be rescinded.

Status:

  • On May 4, 1999, AOPA sent a letter to the FAA Wichita Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) requesting that AD 99-05-13 be rescinded.
  • On August 2, 1999, the FAA issued NPRM 98-CE-61-AD, proposing to rescind the requirement to install a fuel selector warning placard on affected aircraft.
  • On July 12, 2000, the FAA issued a final rule rescission of AD 99-05-13.

Related documents:

Rescission of AD 99-05-13, July 12, 2000 (requires Adobe Reader)

NPRM 98-CE-61-AD, August 2, 1999

AOPA letter to FAA Wichita ACO, May 4, 1999

AD 99-05-13

990802R2