May 26, 2004 - The FAA withdrew on Tuesday expensive proposed airworthiness directives against 400-series twin Cessna aircraft. That after significant input from AOPA and major Cessna owner organizations. The proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would have ADs that 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.
"To the FAA's credit, they have determined that the best way to address this issue is to work with AOPA and others who represent affected owners," said Melissa Bailey Rudinger, AOPA's vice president of Regulatory Affairs. "By doing so, the FAA hopes to develop alternative solutions to address a potentially unsafe condition."
The FAA intends to reissue the ADs after alternative solutions have been developed. The FAA is also planning a second public meeting later this summer to review the alternatives with industry and owners and to come up with a strategy for continued airworthiness of the aircraft.
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.
"This time, the FAA got it right," said AOPA Director of Certification and Regulatory Policy Luis Gutierrez. "They held a true dialog and listened to the people who know the aircraft best. Now they are choosing to work with the owners to find alternate solutions to what they determined was an 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.