April 6, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring a one-time inspection of elevator spars for cracks on the Commander 112 and 114 series of single-engine aircraft.
The inspection must be performed within the next five hours of aircraft time in service following the AD’s effective date of April 4. If a crack is found, the AD requires either replacement with a serviceable elevator spar “that is found free of cracks, or repair/modification with an FAA-approved method” before further flight.
The AD affects CPAC Inc. (type certificate formerly held by Commander Aircraft Cor., Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., and Rockwell International) models 112, 112B, 112TC, 112TCA, 114, 114A, 114B, and 114TC airplanes.
Reports of nine elevator spar cracks on seven affected airplanes, “including a crack of 2.35 inches just below the outboard hinge of the right-hand elevator,” led to the issuance of the AD, the FAA said. The repair prescribed for the AD includes reassembly and testing procedures approved by the FAA’s Wichita Aircraft Certification Office (ACO).
The FAA estimated that the AD pertains to 773 U.S.-registered aircraft, at an estimated cost of compliance of $680 per aircraft for inspections.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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