Industry scores victory for T-34 and aging aircraft

January 8, 2002

T-34 owners can continue to fly their aircraft without having to immediately comply with a $12,000 inspection airworthiness directive, thanks to the efforts of the T-34 Association, T-34 owners, and AOPA. This week, the FAA issued Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) No. CE-02-38, granting a deadline extension to an onerous T-34 wing spar inspection AD.

AD 2001-13-08 requires a Raytheon-recommended repetitive and invasive wing spar inspection of the former military trainers, which are based on the Beechcraft Bonanza. The inspections are to prevent a possible in-flight wing failure.

AOPA, T-34 owners, the T-34 Association, and other groups strongly opposed the AD, recommending that the FAA work with industry groups to develop more effective and more affordable means to comply with the AD.

Since adoption of the AD, the FAA approved several alternative compliance methods (AMOCs).

The SAIB extends the compliance deadline of AD 2001-13-08 and allows owners to continue operating their T-34s (with certain operational limitations) while they await completion of an approved AMOC.

"This is great news for T-34 owners and all operators of aging aircraft," said Andrew Werking, AOPA associate director of regulatory and certification policy. "This action shows the FAA is willing to work with industry and owner groups to develop reasonable and affordable fixes in the absence of factory support."

For more information and a copy of the SAIB, see AOPA's issue brief.

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