June 22, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive (AD) on Piper PA-24 airplanes in response to reports of cracks developing in the stabilator horn assembly.
The AD covers Piper PA-24, PA-24-250, and PA-24-260 aircraft and would correct a condition which the FAA said could result in loss of pitch control during flight. Compliance would involve either replacement of the stabilator horn assembly, or repetitive inspection of the stabilator horn assembly for corrosion or cracks, with replacement of the stabilator horn assembly required if corrosion or cracks are found.
This proposed AD requires following one of two procedures. One option is to conduct an initial inspection of the stabilator horn assembly upon reaching 1,000 hours time in service, or within 100 hours time in service after the effective date of the AD, whichever occurs later, with repetitive inspections every 500 hours time in service or three years, whichever occurs first.
The second option is to replace the stabilator horn assembly upon reaching 1,000 hours time in service, or within the next 100 hours time in service after the effective date of the AD, whichever occurs later. After replacing the stabilator horn assembly, within 1,000 hours time in service or 10 years, whichever occurs first, the stabilator horn assembly must be replaced or be initially inspected and start the inspection cycle defined in the first option.
The FAA estimated that the proposed AD affects 3,100 airplanes of U.S. registry. Inspection costs were estimated at $1,020 per aircraft. Replacement of the stabilator horn assembly was estimated at $1,592 per aircraft, including parts.
Members may comment on the proposed AD by Aug. 8 online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590.
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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