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Cessna gear inspection urged

The FAA on June 9 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) applied to a range of Cessna aircraft with retractable gear, stopping short of an airworthiness directive after concluding that the concern does not rise to that level. The bulletin urges owners to complete inspections as previously recommended by the manufacturer.

Figures 1 and 2 from the FAA bulletin of June 9 show two example actuators with the crack in the location where it is most commonly noted. FAA photos.

The bulletin applies to Cessna models 172RG, R182, TR182, FR182, and all 210-series variants, and was prompted by an accident involving a 172RG that made a gear-up landing after the pilot was unable to deploy and lock the left main wheel. Investigators found the gear actuator housing (part 9882015-2) was cracked across the forward hatch bolt hole. The crack compromised the assembly and prevented successful deployment of the affected landing gear.

The same main landing gear assembly was subject to an AD in 2001, however the required scope of inspection did not include the more recently identified area of concern, where the actuator assembly connects with the main gear pivot. The FAA has previously published maintenance alerts, and Textron Aviation (Cessna Aircraft’s parent company) published its own guidance in 2001, and revised it in 2007 to address the need for repetitive inspection.

“The FAA has found through our review that most service difficulty reports (SDRs), incidents, or accidents occur on the Model 172RG airplane,” the agency noted in the June 9 bulletin. “We believe this is primarily due to its heavy use in a training environment. Our review of over 100 SDRs identifying cracks in the actuator reflect mechanics and inspectors finding the majority of these during scheduled inspections (100 hour/annual) and often referencing Cessna bulletin SEB01-2.”

The FAA bulletin recommends performing the inspections as the manufacturer previously detailed in that document, with initial inspection at 3,000 hours or 10 years in service, whichever comes first, and every 500 hours or five years thereafter for the various models except the Cessna 210 and T210 aircraft built between 1962 and 1968. For that group, the recommended initial inspection would be made at 6,000 hours or 10 years in service, whichever is reached first, and at 1,000 hour/three-year intervals thereafter.

Members who own retractable gear Cessnas are encouraged to contact the AOPA Pilot Information Center with any questions, or to report experience with similar problems.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.

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