The FAA should pull back its proposed airworthiness directive calling for logbook reviews and possible wing-spar inspections of up to 20,000 Piper PA–28 and PA–32 series airplanes and instead gather safety data through alternative, readily available, and less onerous means, AOPA said in a regulatory filing.
The scope of the proposed AD is too broad, and the “intrusive and expensive action” it would mandate is inappropriate without proper groundwork being laid, AOPA said in formal comments submitted on Feb. 4.
The additional time for the public to comment would also give the National Transportation Safety Board an opportunity to conclude its investigation into a fatal accident that occurred on April 4, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Florida, involving a Piper PA–28R-201.
“That accident is widely believed to be the driving force behind the proposed AD, likely figured into the FAA’s safety risk assessment and corrective action review board, but strangely is not mentioned” in the notice of proposed rulemaking for the AD, wrote David Oord, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs, in AOPA’s comments.
Once the NTSB has issued its recommendations, the FAA should initiate its Airworthiness Concern Sheet process, allowing it to “engage and collaborate with stakeholders, including AOPA, Piper Aircraft, Inc. and others, to target and implement mitigations” for the problem of metal-fatigue cracking of a lower main wing spar cap that may have been a causal factor in the Florida accident, he said.
AOPA’s comments addressed several other aspects of the proposed AD.
AOPA stands ready to help mitigate the FAA’s airworthiness concern while maintaining the safety of the affected fleet, Oord wrote.