AOPA will be closed Wednesday, June 19 in observance of the holiday. We will reopen Thursday morning, June 20th at 8:30am ET.
Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

FAA grants AOPA request for more time to comment on Piper rudder AD

Thousands of owners face costly repair

At the request of AOPA and others, the FAA extended into February the public comment deadline on a proposed airworthiness directive that would affect nearly 31,000 aircraft. The proposed AD requires replacement of rudder posts made from a certain carbon steel alloy.

NTSB photo.

The AD proposed in October was prompted by rudder hinge fractures that caused two separate nonfatal accidents in 2020 and 2021. The accidents involved a Piper PA–12 and a PA–14, both made under type certificates held by FS2003 Corp. (previously held by Piper), and with rudder posts made of 1025 carbon steel that, according to the NTSB, fractured in flight because of fatigue. The FAA issued an airworthiness concern sheet in September 2020 that applied to various Piper and FS2003 Corp. aircraft manufactured before 1974, when the 1025 carbon steel was replaced with 4130N low-alloy steel.

The FAA estimated that the proposed directive would apply to 30,992 airplanes in the U.S. registry, and replacement of the 1025 carbon steel rudder posts was expected to cost $3,000 per aircraft, including parts and labor.

The FAA published a notice November 20 extending the comment period on the proposed AD until February 20, 2024, noting that AOPA (and other commenters) sought more time to prepare a detailed response to the rulemaking proposal.

"The commenters state that the NPRM is controversial and could drive substantial costs, among other things," the agency wrote in the notice granting the extension. "To be able to prepare informed and meaningful comments with coordinated consensus among its members, AOPA requested an extension of 90 days to the comment period."

AOPA is preparing comments on the proposed AD, and affected members are encouraged to provide their own feedback. Please copy Murray Huling, vice president of regulatory affairs, when submitting your comments—or contact him with questions.

“The FAA asks commenters to provide substantive recommendations for thorough inspection methods of the rudder posts which could be used in lieu of the mandatory replacement, as the proposed rule requires,” said Huling. “The comments should also include any make/model corrections to remove any aircraft which does not contain the subject part number.”

Jim Moore
Jim Moore
Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Advocacy, Aircraft Regulation, Airworthiness

Related Articles