The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive requiring horizontal stabilizer inspections of Grumman American AA–1, AA–1A, AA–1B, AA–1C, and AA–5 single-engine airplanes following a loss-of-elevator-control accident in January.
According to the AD, the accident aircraft exhibited bond line corrosion and delamination of the horizontal surfaces, making it necessary to inspect horizontal stabilizers and bond lines of the airplanes covered by the AD for “cracks, buckles, corrosion, delamination, rust, and previous repair,” and the repair or replacement of parts and application of corrosion inhibitor as described in service bulletin information cited in the document.
The January 19 accident occurred after AA–5’s “outboard elevator attach bracket on the horizontal stabilizer detached causing loss of elevator control and significant damage to the airplane,” the AD said. “An investigation identified corrosion and delamination of the airplane skin bondlines around the area of the horizontal stabilizer where the elevator attach bracket was attached.”
Additional instances of corrosion and delamination turned up in multiple field reports. “Field reports indicate that bondline inspections are not being adequately performed during routine inspections. The FAA has determined that a more thorough inspection is necessary to reliably identify corrosion and delamination of bondlines in these critical areas, including the horizontal stabilizer,” the FAA said.
Approximately 1,113 airplanes are covered by the AD, with the inspections estimated to carry labor costs of $255 per aircraft. The AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger, an AA–5B, is not affected by the AD.
AOPA reported in May that the FAA had published a notice of its intent to issue an AD for immediate adoption but would consider changing the final AD if “substantive comments” were received.
Public comments will be accepted on the AD until August 26 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 include Docket No. FAA-2021-0541 and Project Identifier AD-2021-00453-A at the beginning of your comments.