The FAA Safety Team is reminding pilots who fly older models of Piper PA–28 Cherokee-series airplanes to be on the alert to prevent inadvertently switching off the fuel selector valve or binding it when changing from one fuel tank to another in flight.
A recent notice from the safety group calls new attention to the operating and maintenance guidance included in a special airworthiness information bulletin issued in 2014 and directed at owners and operators of Piper models PA–28-140, PA–28-150, PA–28-160, PA–28-180, PA–28R-180, and PA–28R-200 airplanes.
The FAA Safety Team noted in the October 9 reminder posted on its website that there has been “a long history” of addressing issues associated with the mechanism’s design.
AOPA reported on two such instances in August 2019: The FAA on August 5, 2019, issued an airworthiness concern sheet seeking information from operators of PA–28 aircraft of specific serial numbers on their experience with first-generation fuel selectors with a design that “does not include any protection against inadvertent disruption of the position of the lever from its intended position nor does it prevent over-rotation which could result in mistakenly selecting the OFF position when not intended.” (That ACS included a narrative of the history of previous service actions that had been taken to address fuel-selector valve concerns).
Our 2019 article also noted that in an unrelated action in 2018, the FAA had issued an airworthiness directive calling for inspection of some PA–28 fuel selector valve cover placards for correct positioning and allowing owners/operators who held at least a private pilot certificate to conduct the inspection.