The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) to require continued repetitive inspections of aft fuselage structures for cracks on certain models of Alexandria Aircraft LLC airplanes with type certificates previously held by Bellanca Aircraft Corp., Viking Aviation Inc., and Bellanca Inc.
The AD, which takes effect Nov. 12, supersedes an AD issued in 1975, eliminating a provision that allowed the installation of a manufacturer’s service repair kit to serve as a "terminating action" for continued inspections. The applicability of the new AD also has been expanded to include all serial numbers of the affected models.
The new AD requires continued repetitive inspections, at intervals of no more than 100 hours time in service, of the aft fuselage structure near the top of the vertical side tubing for cracks, and making all necessary replacements of cracked parts before further flight, the FAA said. Affected models include 14-19-3A, 17-30, 17-30A, 17-31, 17-31A, 17-31ATC, and 17-31TC.
The agency explained that since issuing the 1975 AD, it determined, based on reports, "that installing the service kit has not prevented cracks from occurring," leaving uncorrected an unsafe condition that could result in reduced structural integrity and loss of control.
The FAA estimated the cost of any necessary replacements at $3,125 per aircraft. The number of affected aircraft was estimated at 847.