AOPA Battles 12-Year Crank Replacement Rule

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AOPA has writtenthe FAA asking that a section of a proposed airworthiness directiveon Lycoming crankshafts be scrapped since it will cost owners thousands of dollars and do nothing to increase safety. As we reported in June, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would require owners of about 3,800 360- and 540-series engines to replace the crankshafts at either the next scheduled overhaul, the next time the case is split, or at 12 years since date of manufacture or overhaul, regardless of the number of hours on the crank. AOPA's Luis Guttierez says in the letter that even the FAA knows the 12-year deadline has no practical value. "The FAA readily admits in the proposed AD [that] the unsafe condition is unrelated to calendar time and that the crank removal at overhaul is sufficient to reduce the risk of failure to an acceptable level," Gutierrez said. AOPA is also working on Lycoming, which has set a deadline of 2009 for a special price on crankshaft kits for the affected engines. Swap out the crank before then and Lycoming will supply the parts for $2,000. After that, the normal price of about $16,000 applies. Guttierez says Lycoming is considering AOPA's request that the special price be available to owners of all affected engines, so owners aren't forced into retiring crankshafts that have many hundreds of hours of life left in them.