Lear 60 Tire Maintenance AD Issued

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Operators of Lear 60 aircraft will have to check the tire pressure every four days starting July 10. The FAA issued a final rule on Tuesday mandating the maintenance procedure after it was determined underinflated tires caused a cascade of failures that led to a charter aircraft running off the end of a runway in Columbia, S.C., killing four of the six aboard. The NTSB determined the tires blew during the takeoff run and took out sensors that controlled the thrust reversers, resulting in their automatic retraction just when the crew needed them the most. The pilot didn't know the reversers were stowed, and firewalled the throttles as the plane went through the airport fence and hit a hill on the other side of a highway. Bombardier has since redesigned the systems making them less likely to fail in a tire blowout.

The FAA said it discovered the tire failure rate for Lear 60s was about twice that of other bizjets so it rejected recommendations that the four-day inspection rule apply to all bizjets. On the other hand, it also turned down the NTSB's recommendation that Lear 60 operators be required to check the tires daily and to give that job to the pilots. There are about 250 Lear 60s in operation in the U.S.