Continental improves response to owners affected by emergency crankshaft AD
Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) is improving its response to aircraft owners affected by the April emergency crankshaft airworthiness directive by hiring and training more inspectors, AOPA has learned.
In an April 28 letter, AOPA President Phil Boyer had asked TCM President Bryan Lewis to do more for owners of some 3,200 big-bore Continental engines affected by the AD, which requires a crankshaft inspection by an authorized TCM inspector. TCM initially scheduled 10 inspectors, meaning that some aircraft might have been grounded for long periods awaiting inspection.
Boyer followed up his letter with a May 7 telephone call to Lewis. The TCM president advised AOPA the company was hiring and training additional inspectors. Forty inspectors should be fanning out across the country by May 11. Lewis also told Boyer the inspections could be accomplished more efficiently than originally thought.
“TCM is making an effort to minimize the amount of time that aircraft will be grounded,” noted Boyer. “To an owner, any downtime is too much, but TCM is trying to do the right thing.” Because of seven recent crankshaft failures, owners of Continental 470-, 520-, and 550-series engines with crankshafts manufactured in 1998 have been hit with Emergency Airworthiness Directive 99-09-17. The AD requires a partial teardown to inspect the crankshaft ultrasonically. That inspection must occur within 10 hours if the engine has less than 300 hours time in service, and within 50 hours for engines with more than 300 hours TIS.
TCM has designated a number of service centers at FBOs across the country and has set a schedule for when inspectors will be at those sites. Owners of affected aircraft should log onto the TCM Web site or call TCM at 888/200-7565 to register and find the nearest designated inspection station.
TCM is leasing aircraft to fly inspection teams to those sites for the scheduled ultrasonic inspections. AOPA advises owners to ensure their aircraft are properly prepared by the FBO (removal of engine cowling and two cylinders to expose the crankshaft) prior to arrival of the TCM inspection team. If engines are ready for inspection, the TCM inspectors can conduct 80 to 100 ultrasonic crankshaft inspections per day.
AOPA members with questions about airworthiness directives or any other aviation issue can call AOPA’s toll-free Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) to speak with an aviation technical specialist.
The 345,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world’s largest civil aviation organization. More than one half of the nation’s pilots, and more than three quarters of U.S. aircraft owners, are AOPA members.
May 7, 1999