The FAA issued yet another airworthiness directive on Lycoming TIO-540 crankshafts. This AD covers crankshafts manufactured between March 1997 and now. Meanwhile, Lycoming has announced its "customer care package" aimed at providing compensation to aircraft owners affected by the series of crankshaft ADs.
An emergency AD issued in late August required immediate replacement of crankshafts in more than 850 turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540 engines. The superseding AD to be issued tomorrow still requires immediate replacement of crankshafts affected by the original AD and mandates inspection of more than 600 additional crankshafts.
The FAA's superseding AD requires metallurgical inspection of the crankshaft within a prescribed time-in-service (TIS) interval, depending upon date of manufacture. Crankshafts deemed free of any metallurgical deficiency will be cleared for immediate return to service, while defective cranks will be required to be replaced prior to further flight. The new AD affects all aircraft equipped with a Lycoming TIO-540 (turbocharged at the factory or by STC) rated at 300 horsepower or more with crankshafts installed between March 1997 and the present. This includes Piper Mojave, Navajo, Malibu Mirage, and Saratoga, Aerostar, and the turbocharged Cessna Stationair. Crankshafts affected by the superseded AD, 2002-17-53, must still be replaced prior to further flight.
In a customer letter dated September 16, Lycoming announced that they will "cover the reasonable cost of alternate transportation while your airplane is grounded." The "loss of use" compensation will be available for all preapproved business or pleasure uses. The company will also pay storage fees for aircraft stranded away from their home airport, and extended warranty coverage is also offered for 12 additional months from the date an affected aircraft is returned to service after crankshaft replacement.
Lycoming representatives will reportedly conduct the AD-required inspections (a small "core sample" taken from the propeller flange for examination) at locations throughout the country. FAA sources indicate it will be at least two months before Lycoming is prepared to begin production of replacement crankshafts.
Owners affected by the current Lycoming crankshaft AD should contact Lycoming at 570/323-6181 to schedule crankshaft inspections or return of their engine. More information regarding Lycoming's customer care package is available on the Lycoming Web site. See AOPA's regulatory brief for more information and a copy of the AD.