...To Avoid A Cure Worse Than The Problem

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Owners would have to install a spar repair kit. But that brings with it a whole other set of problems, AOPA said. Installation of the kit is a delicate matter; done improperly, it may weaken the structure rather than reinforcing it. And there is a question whether Raytheon can produce enough kits to quickly repair affected aircraft. But there is dispute among various experts about whether the Bonanza-Baron cracking represents safety risk. Some contend the area where the cracks are most common is not structural. This is where AOPA and ABS have stepped in. "We've asked the FAA to give us time to develop data and research the most appropriate means of solving the problem," said Nancy Johnson, ABS executive director. In addition to hiring aerospace engineers, ABS is collecting hard data to help evaluate the scope of the problem. Beechcraft owners are requested to answer the questionnaire on ABS's Web site. "First and foremost, our concern is safety," said AOPA's Cebula. "This study should answer that. We also want to keep these great aircraft flying economically. Let's do what really needs to be done, but let's not fix what isn't really broken." AOPA has also prepared a regulatory brief on the issue.