The FAA will hold the second of two hearings on fatigue cracking in wing spars of 400-series Cessna twin-engine aircraft. The hearing will start at 8:30 a.m. on August 18 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown in Kansas City, Missouri. The purpose is to develop alternative means of addressing what may be an unsafe condition in some Cessna 401, 401A, 401B, 402, 402A, 402B, 402C, 411, 411A, and 414A aircraft. The FAA had originally issued two expensive proposed airworthiness directives on these aircraft but withdrew the proposals after vehement objections from AOPA and major Cessna owner organizations.
The original ADs would have grounded most models in the 400 series of twin-engine Cessna aircraft while they underwent inspection and installation of a wing spar strap kit at an estimated cost of $75,000 per aircraft. Following an extended public comment period that included a two-day government/industry summit, the FAA decided to rethink its proposal.
AOPA worked closely with twin Cessna owner groups to fight the original ADs. As originally proposed, the ADs would have forced the grounding of nearly 1,500 twin Cessnas as they waited for expensive repairs that, in many instances, would exceed the value of the aircraft.
Based on public input, the FAA determined that the best way to address the unsafe condition is for the "FAA, the public, and industry to develop alternative solutions for addressing the unsafe condition."
To assist ongoing efforts, owners are asked to provide relevant aircraft information by completing a survey sponsored by AOPA, the Cessna Pilots Association, Cessna Twin Spar Corp., Cessna Owners Organization, Twin Cessna Flyers, and Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association. The intent of the survey is to gather information that will help determine if the proposed ADs can be made less burdensome, compliance times increased, implementation schedule altered, and/or alternative means of compliance (AMOC) approved.
July 22, 2004