Prop Spinner Problems

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Cracks Found On New Cessna 172s...

A California pilot says fellow owners of late-model Cessna 172s should add an unusual step to their preflight inspection. Brian Boyd, an 80-hour-pilot, told AVweb no one should start up a new 172 without thoroughly inspecting the prop spinner and its mounts. His 57-hour-old 172 developed what he considers a potentially serious problem late last month. Somewhere over the desolation of the high desert, en route to Palm Springs for AOPA Expo, the spinner developed a two-inch crack. "The spinner was actually peeled back," he said. Although it didn't depart the aircraft (and Cessna says none have, so far) Boyd said such a failure could be catastrophic. Boyd did some investigating and discovered Cessna has known about the problem for more than a year but hasn't yet issued a Service Bulletin or any other notification to pilots.  

...Service Bulletin On The Way...

A Service Bulletin is coming, but it could be several months, said Cessna media relations spokeswoman Jessica Myers. "This has all of our attention," she said. Myers said it will take time to identify all the potentially faulty spinners and make replacement kits for them. The fix involves building spinners out of heavier aluminum and beefing up the bulkheads that hold them on the engine. Myers said it hasn't been decided whether the new spinners will be offered for all aircraft with potentially faulty ones or whether they will be replaced as they fail. "There are still a lot of unknowns," said Myers. It will be after the new year before the Service Bulletin is issued.

...Problem Known To Cessna

Boyd said he's uncomfortable with Cessna's attitude on this issue, although he's been told that dealers and FBOs from all over the country gave Cessna brass an earful at a meeting to discuss the problem at the AOPA convention. The replacement spinner installed on his airplane at Palm Springs is from the same lot number as the one that failed and he said he's worried about it suffering a similar fate.  He's considering removing the spinner until Cessna comes up with the fix. Assuming that flying without the spinner is permitted, it seems like a reasonable precaution but a slightly costly one. The prop has to come off to remove the spinner, said Boyd.