The FAA this week issued an urgent reminder to Cessna owners, inspectors, operators, and maintenance technicians to inspect their airplane’s seat tracks and make repairs as needed.
The safety alert for operators, or SAFO, was issued on Feb. 2 after the FAA noted an increase in the accident rate related to the failure of seat retention pins. The FAA warned that failure to comply with Airworthiness Directive 87-20-03 R2, which requires periodic inspections of the seat tracks, could result in fatalities if seat latches fail at critical moments, such as during takeoff.
The NTSB determined in December 2008 that the fatal September 2007 takeoff crash of a Cessna 180 was due to the failure of the seat retention pins. The NTSB report suggests the pilot may have instinctively pulled back on the plane’s yoke when his seat slid back, leading to a violent departure stall.
The airworthiness directive affects Cessna 336 and 337 models, as well as pre-1986 single-engine Cessna models: 150, 152, 170, 172, 175, 177, 180, 182, 185, 188, 190, 195, 205, 206, 207, and 210.