Owners Would Be Out $32 Million
When Lycoming originally announced in late February that owners of more than 5,000 aircraft must "retire" their crankshafts -- at the owner's expense -- within three years, a bit of resistance seemed inevitable to the casual observer, even if it wasn't acknowledged by Lycoming. AOPA made its resistance official this week with a letter to the FAA asking it to reject Lycoming's plan. "The wholesale replacement of these crankshafts is unwarranted and an unacceptable expense to aircraft owners," AOPA's Luis Gutierrez, director of regulatory and certification policy, told the FAA. "AOPA does not believe this action is in accordance with good risk-management practices ... there is no engineering data or clearly defined safety concern to support such action." AOPA estimated the cost to owners at about $32 million. Lycoming's Service Bulletin 569A would "retire" all of the company's hammer-forged crankshafts within three years. The company has said it knows of no incidents related to the batch cited in SB 569A, but doesn't want to wait for long-term data that may prove the suspect crankshafts are not up to their own lasts-for-decades standards. The crankshafts are installed in engines ranging from the -360 to the -720 series.