The FAA is alerting owners and operators of Cessna 180, 185, and A185 aircraft to the potential for cracks and corrosion of stabilizer hinge brackets and tailcone reinforcement brackets on airplanes equipped with floats or skis.
An airworthiness concern sheet issued Feb. 8 notes that “the horizontal tail section was observed to move up and down excessively” in an inspection of a float-equipped Cessna 185. A detailed inspection revealed that the tailcone reinforcements were broken on one side and cracked in the same location on the other side. The stabilizer hinge brackets also had cracks.
The FAA noted that tailwheel-equipped airplanes could be susceptible to the cracking if two bushings at the aft end of the tailcone have deteriorated.
In May 2016 the FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin to alert and make recommendations to mechanics and inspectors to the tailcone reinforcement failures.
The FAA has not yet determined what corrective action, if any, is necessary to address the problem, and will consider responses submitted to the address shown in the ACS when making the decision. Members who have information relating to this airworthiness concern sheet are encouraged to contact AOPA.