Cessna Sets Life Limit on Conquest; Airplanes Grounded in Australia
Operators of Cessna 441 Conquest II twin turboprops must comply with a life limit of 22,500 flying hours, Cessna has said, and several of the aircraft have been grounded. "As part of the continuing product safety process, Cessna looks at data from test articles and from field reports regarding the structural integrity of its aircraft," Cessna spokeswoman Pia Bergqvist told AVweb. Based on test and field data, Cessna has issued a Supplemental Inspection Document recommending the life limit for the aircraft. While most of the Conquests operating around the world are well below this limit, according to Bergqvist, several aircraft in Australia are beyond it, and those aircraft have been grounded. Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority has allowed one year for alternatives to be explored that could extend the safe operation of the Conquest beyond the current life limit. It's not known if any Conquests in the U.S. will be immediately affected, industry groups are looking into it.
AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb his organization has been in contact with the Cessna Pilots Association but discussions are preliminary. The 441, a pressurized version of the 404, was first delivered in 1977. General-aviation aircraft certified under FAR Part 23 must have a life limit set by the manufacturer on critical structures such as wing spars, but an overall life limit is not required.