Facilities Won’t Work On Airplanes 18 Years Or Older?

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Aircraft owners in Kansas and parts of the Southwest are worried about a policy adopted by one and possibly two aircraft maintenance providers to refuse to work on aircraft that are 18 years or older. A customer of Kansas City Aviation Center in Olathe, Kan., who asked not to be identified, told AVweb that officials of KCAC, a Piper dealer, told him they would no longer lift a wrench on anything beyond that age, including Piper products. He said he was told by company officials that itís an insurance issue. A phone message and an e-mail request for an interview left Friday with KCACís maintenance supervisor were not returned by our deadline, nor was an e-mail request for comment from Piper Aircraft. The time span coincides with the liability limit that forms the crux of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, the legislation credited with revitalizing GA manufacturing. In a nutshell, the law immunizes aircraft manufacturers and the makers of parts and subcomponents from product liability lawsuits after the aircraft reaches the age of 18, or 18 years after the installation of the part. In an analysis of the law that appeared in AVweb in 2001, lawyer Phillip J. Kolczynski wrote that limiting the liability on one party (the manufacturer) necessarily shifts it to others, and among those are mechanics and the shops where they work.