ECi Cites Support For Cylinders Targeted By AD

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ECi is using a new web page to highlight resistance to the FAA's proposed Airworthiness Directive targeting TITAN brand 520/550 series cylinders produced between 2002 and 2009 that may cost $83 million in compliance-associated costs, but the resistance isn't universal. The FAA wants to require initial and repetitive inspections of the cylinders, plus full replacements at reduced times-in-service. ECi maintains that its TITAN cylinders have the lowest failure rate in the industry and the FAA's analysis is flawed. AOPA and EAA both publicly responded to the AD saying that the action would impose a financial burden on pilots, possibly cause a supply problem, and compromise safety. EAA specifically noted that the AD "does not point to a single accident or injury" caused by an ECi cylinder failure. Some overhaul shops contacted by AVweb this month did say they support the AD or have moved away from ECi cylinders because of issues with cracking.

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli reported Aug. 17 that a sampling of overhaul shops showed mixed reaction to the proposed AD. A contact at Certified Engines of Opa-locka, Fla., supported the AD, and a representative of Penn Yan said that the company had moved away from the cylinders due to "quality issues." Meanwhile, at America's Aircraft Engines of Tulsa, Okla., our contact supported ECi cylinders, as did another at Zephyr Engines. The FAA is soliciting comments to its proposed regulation through Oct. 11, and has already collected more than 60. Finding individual comments critical of the FAA's proposed action among those is not difficult and the FAA may still adjust the regulation before presenting a final rule. Phil Stevens of America's Aircraft Engines noted one potential outcome that may come to pass regardless of the FAA's future course of action. "I think it will kill ECi," he said. "And that's bad for the market."