AOPA is formally opposing a proposed airworthiness directive (AD) for Cessna 150 and 152 aircraft that would require the rudder stop, rudder stop bumper, and attachment hardware be replaced and safety wires substituted with jamnuts within the next 100 hours time in service or 12 months.
AOPA is proposing that the FAA issue a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB), providing for a one-time inspection by the owner of the aircraft or a mechanic to check for proper installation. This is an appropriate way to address what is ultimately a maintenance issue.
The proposed AD is based on two fatal accidents in the aircraft, one in Canada in 1998 and another in the United States in 2005. In both cases, the pilots were practicing spins and were unable to recover because the rudders were jammed beyond their travel limits.
"What the FAA isn't taking into consideration is that in the 1998 accident, the aircraft wasn't airworthy before the flight; in the 2005 accident, the rudder bumpers were installed incorrectly," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. "This is an overreaction to maintenance issues that affected these aircraft prior to their respective accidents."
The AD would affect nearly 19,000 aircraft, and AOPA believes there is evidence to suggest that the proposed fix could inhibit rudder travel.
A Canadian pilot, who had complied with a Canadian AD that required the same fix that the FAA is proposing, said that the enlarged rudder stop bolts that were required in the AD caused binding between the rudder and rudder stop bolts.
June 20, 2007