The FAA this week issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that would require certain parts in Cessna 150 and 152 rudder areas be replaced or a placard installed that prohibits spins and other aerobatic maneuvers. Replacing the parts in order to comply with the AD, which affects 17,000 aircraft, would cost aircraft owners about $500.
The AD stems from two fatal accidents in the aircraft, one in Canada and another in the United States. In both cases, the pilots were practicing spins and were unable to recover. The aircraft involved in the 1998 accident in Canada was not in an airworthy condition and should not have been flying; the aircraft that crashed in the United States in 2005 had rudder bumpers installed incorrectly.
“AOPA opposes this AD and had recommended alternatives in 2007,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “We recommended that the FAA issue a special airworthiness information bulletin for a one-time inspection of the rudder area. This would allow the aircraft owner or a mechanic to check to make sure the rudder parts are installed correctly.
AOPA is working with the FAA to try to mitigate the impact of the AD and has contacted the agency’s small airplane directorate to learn why such a sweeping action was taken to address what seem to be very isolated incidents.