Regulatory and Certification Policy
FAA Issues "Direct-Final Rule" AD on Maule airplanes
On May 9, 2000, the FAA issued final Rule AD 2000-09-06 mandating inspection of all Nicopress sleeve terminal ends on various model Maule airplanes. The AD is intended to prevent a control cable from slipping from an improperly crimped Nicopress sleeve that could result in loss of rudder, elevator, aileron, or flap control.
The importance to our members:
The AD affects all models of Maule airplanes manufactured over the past 37 years. During that time span, Maule has manufactured over 2200 airplanes (each with an average of 27 Nicopress sleeves) with no previous problems. Citing one accident in which a rudder cable slipped out it�s Nicopress sleeve during landing, the FAA issued a direct-final rule (no public comment period allowed) AD mandating the inspections.
- The FAA cites a December 1999 incident involving a Maule M-7-235C in which a rudder cable slipped out of its Nicopress sleeve during landing as cause for the AD. The FAA indicates that further investigations revealed that the Nicopress sleeve had been improperly crimped and was slightly larger than gauge dimension.
- Maule began producing M-7-235C airplanes in 1996.
- The AD affects Maule M-4. M-5, M-6, M-7, MX-7, MXT-7, MT-7-235, and M-8-235 airplanes.
- The AD requires a one-time inspection of all Nicopress sleeve terminal ends for correct size and compression and mandates adjustment or replacement as necessary in accordance with Maule Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 20, dated December 27, 1999.
- Airplanes manufactured in 1990 or later are required to comply with the AD within the 25 hours TIS after the effective date of the AD.
- Airplanes manufactured before 1990 must comply with the AD within the next 100 hours TIS after the effective date of the AD.
- The AD is effective on May 30, 2000.
- Sources at Maule indicate that the manufacturer will pay for inspections on aircraft still under the 1-year warranty period. Owners of out-of-warranty airplanes will not be reimbursed for the expenses of complying with this AD.
- Comments must be received by the FAA no later than June 23, 2000.
- Affected aircraft owners are encouraged to submit their objective and specific comments regarding the provisions of this AD, in triplicate, to: FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, ATTN: Rules Docket No. 2000-CE-04-AD, 901 Locust, Room 506, Kansas City, MO 64106.
AOPA agrees that in this particular situation, the potential for in-flight loss of control authority may warrant airworthiness action for Maule airplanes less than 10 years old. However, AOPA fails to see any evidence that suggests that Maule airplanes more than 10 years old may exhibit any of the Nicopress sleeve problems associated with the accident airplane cited in the AD. In their service bulletin, Maule indicates that they�ve produced more than 2200 airplanes over the past 37 years, for a total of approximately 60,000 Nicopress sleeves without any previous problem. AOPA maintains that the exemplary 37 year service history of the Nicopress sleeves on Maule airplanes is evidence enough that Maule airplanes more than 10 years old are not likely to be affected by Nicopress sleeve problems. AOPA will submit comments to the FAA on the provisions of this AD and will update the membership as this situation develops.
- On December 29, 1999, Maule published Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 20.
- On May 9, 2000, the FAA published direct-to-final AD 2000-09-06
NTSB Preliminary Accident Report, December 15, 1999