Option Sought For Cylinder Problems

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An alternative means of compliance is in the works that might help ease the impact of an FAA airworthiness directive (PDF) affecting about 6,000 general aviation aircraft with cylinders from Superior Air Parts, AOPA said this week. "Superior is working to develop and submit an alternative means of compliance that, if it can be successfully implemented, will minimize the amount of time affected aircraft are grounded," said Rob Hackman, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "The FAA will evaluate Superior's alternative means of compliance upon submission and make a determination regarding its implementation." In the meantime, AOPA said it encourages affected owners to delay any action on their engines for now.

The AD took effect last week, despite opposition from Superior and the maintenance industry. It affects aircraft with Continental 550, 520 and 470 engines with SAP cylinders that have been in the engine for more than 12 calendar years. Aircraft with affected engines that have cylinders older than 750 flight hours must complete an inspection within the next 25 flight hours, the FAA said. It will take about 15 hours per engine to inspect the cylinders, and five hours to replace a cylinder. The FAA estimated the total cost of compliance with the AD at $14.2 million for U.S. operators.