Continental Working With FAA On Cam Gear AD

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Continental Motors is working with the FAA to dispel what they see as confusion and unnecessary concern about a mandatory service bulletin (MSB) issued by Continental Motors in early 2017 for a camshaft gear found mostly in older IO-520 and IO-550 engines. Several GA groups, including AOPA, the American Bonanza Society, COPA, Twin Cessna Flyer and Savvy Aviation were sufficiently exercised about MSB05-08B that they requested an audience with the FAA without inviting anyone from Continental. A Continental representative called that decision disappointing and said it was “bizarre that a meeting was organized with the FAA [on this topic] without including Continental.” Continental was particularly bothered by an assertion made by Savvy Aviation, among others, that Continental had requested an Airworthiness Directive be issued for the part, possibly in an attempt to gouge consumers on replacement parts. In an email Continental shared with AVweb, the FAA confirmed that Continental had not requested an airworthiness directive and that MSB05-08B was prompted by a request from the FAA to conform the Service Bulletin to a format suitable for adoption as an AD.

Continental tells AVweb they are seeking FAA approval to make three changes to MSB05-08B in order to minimize compliance costs for operators. First, the camshaft gear can be inspected without significant disassembly by removing the starter. Continental is proposing that the part be inspected periodically and continue on condition if no damage is found. Second, Continental is proposing that the engine not be subject to a mandatory overhaul time period—though they continue to recommend overhaul after 12 years. Third, Continental will publish instructions for replacement of the camshaft gear that do not require engine disassembly. The MSB, and the AD likely to be released by the FAA, apply only to Continental engines using a camshaft gear last made by Continental in summer of 2005, so any engines built after August 2005 or overhauled since August 2005 in accordance with Continental’s Service Bulletins are unaffected. 

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