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Wing spar AD proposed for some Piper singlesWing spar AD proposed for some Piper singles

The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring the installation of an inspection access panel in the lower wing skin of some Piper PA-28 and PA-32 single-engine airplanes, inspection of wing spars for corrosion, and corrective action where indicated.

AOPA is reviewing the proposed AD and encourages members whose aircraft may be affected to study the FAA’s notice and submit comments by Dec. 22, as provided below.

Last December AOPA reported that based on instances of corrosion found in a main wing spar area not easily accessible for inspection, the FAA issued an airworthiness concern sheet requesting information from aircraft operators on maintenance histories and inspection findings of affected aircraft. Piper Aircraft Service Bulletin 1244B notified operators to inspect the wing aft spar for corrosion, requiring installation of an access panel in some airplanes.

AOPA received two comments, which it shared with the FAA in a January 2017 response to the airworthiness concern sheet.

The proposed AD would require the installation of the inspection access panel in the lower wing skin near the left and the right main wing spars in affected aircraft lacking the access panel; inspecting the left and the right main wing spars for corrosion; and taking all necessary corrective actions.

Inspecting an affected airplane to determine whether it has the access panel would be required within 100 hours time in service after the AD’s effective date, or within 12 months, whichever occurs first.

Image courtesy of FAA.

If it is determined that no inspection access panels are present, they must be installed on the lower skin of the left and right wing within the next 100 hours time in service or within the next 12 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first. If corrosion is found, all necessary actions and repairs would be required before further flight.

The FAA estimates that the AD would affect 11,476 aircraft of U.S. registry, at an estimated cost per aircraft of $170, for labor required for the inspections. The FAA estimates an additional $685 in parts and labor for each aircraft that must have the access panel installed.

Operators may submit comments on the proposed AD, including “Docket No. FAA-2017-1059; Product Identifier 2017-CE-035-AD” at the beginning of the comments, online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Please share comments about the AD with AOPA.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airworthiness Directives, Aircraft Regulation

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