Jan. 29, 2004 - The FAA will hold two days of meetings on proposed airworthiness directives for twin Cessnas that could cost owners more than the aircraft is worth and take years to comply with. AOPA says the ADs appear to be based on theory. The FAA has so far refused to reveal any data that might support a safety issue. The association has lobbied for the agency to give owners a chance to be heard.
The meetings were announced in a special airworthiness information bulletin and will be held March 3 and 4 at a hotel near Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport.
The ADs are based on theoretical modeling done by Cessna. AOPA has had to file a freedom of information request to try to get additional information, but to date, the FAA has not responded.
The ADs would require owners of Cessna models 401, 401A, 401B, 402, 402A, 402B, 402C, 411, 411A, and 414A to install an expensive spar strap modification and complete repetitive spar inspections. AOPA estimates the cost of compliance to be $70,000 per aircraft - more than many of these models are worth. There are also fewer than half a dozen shops capable of performing the necessary work, meaning it could be years before all of the affected models could be brought into compliance.
"AOPA is pleased to hear that the FAA is holding these meetings," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula. "Likewise, the FAA must make the supporting safety and engineering data available for analysis."
AOPA urges owners either to attend the meetings or file formal comments before the extended comment period ends on April 5, 2004.