The FAA has granted operators of aircraft with certain Superior Air Parts cylinders installed on Continental engines another two years before they must replace the cylinders under the provisions of a current airworthiness directive. The decision will allow some aircraft grounded by the expiration of a prior extension to resume safe flight.
The FAA’s decision amounts to partial approval of a joint request made Nov. 5 by AOPA and Superior Air Parts to extend the compliance period before mandatory cylinder replacement five more years. The FAA approved an additional two years, not the five requested—for a total of 19 calendar years since cylinder installation. The FAA noted the partial approval was “due to a lack of substantiating data to extend the life of the cylinders beyond two years.” It applies to aircraft powered by Continental Motors IO-520, TSIO-520, and IO-550 engines, and any other engine, such as the 470 series, with a supplemental type certificate for the same Superior Air Parts cylinder assemblies with more than 750 hours’ time in service on the cylinders.
In requesting the latest extension, AOPA and Superior Air Parts noted the significant cost savings it would provide owners and pointed out that there were no known accidents or incidents “resulting from cylinder head separation” since the AD was issued and initial alternative method of compliance granted.
“The approval of the alternative method of compliance will allow affected members who are currently grounded to get safely back in the air while delaying significant expense,” said David Oord, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. He added that AOPA will continue to monitor operations, and, based on safety data and field experience, will once again revisit the issue at the expiration of this two-year extension.