December 6, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Cessna Aircraft Co. will add inspection procedures to its service manuals for aircraft built between 1946 and 1986 to detect signs of problems common to aging aircraft. The inspections will focus primarily on signs of corrosion and airframe fatigue.
The supplemental inspection procedures affect 100- and 200-series aircraft. Inspections for the 200 series are to be added this month, while supplemental inspections for 100-series aircraft will be added in April 2012.
“The supplemental inspection program we've developed is primarily a visual process aimed at supporting the continued airworthiness of aging airframes,” said Beth Gamble, Cessna's principal engineer for airframe structures. “Through this education effort, we hope to answer most questions before we release the revised service manuals. We encourage owners to check in with their local Cessna service affiliate at the appropriate times to have the mandatory inspections completed.”
The criteria for initial visual inspections will vary by model and aircraft age or hours of operation. Cessna authorized service providers will have special training and access to specific equipment for the inspections and for repairs, if required.
“Corrosion and fatigue are inevitable but with early detection and proper maintenance, severity and effects can be minimized,” Gamble said. “The new inspection requirements we’ve developed are very simple, and are based on visual inspection that can be done quickly by a trained inspector during an annual inspection.”
An interactive presentation is available for download on the customer access portion of the Customer Service page of the Cessna website, and a short video explaining the inspection process is on Cessna's YouTube channel.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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