User Groups: Cylinder AD Proposal Risky, Costly

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Photo: NTSB

Photo: NTSB

AOPA and EAA responded this week to the FAA's proposed airworthiness directive that would require thousands of GA aircraft owners to inspect and replace their ECi engine cylinders, saying the FAA's plan would impose a financial burden while also compromising safety. “Requiring the replacement of so many cylinders, in addition to repetitive inspections, goes well beyond the [NTSB] recommendations [PDF]," said Robert Hackman, AOPA's vice president of regulatory affairs. Hackman said he also is concerned that actual costs "could go well beyond the FAA’s estimate, and that the mass replacement of cylinders in the field would downgrade, rather than enhance safety." EAA noted that the proposed AD does not cite either specific failure rates or a total number of failures for the ECi cylinders.

The AD "does not point to a single accident or injury caused by the failure of any ECi cylinder," EAA said. Both groups said they are working on a written response to the proposal. AOPA also encouraged members to post comments to the FAA docket, highlighting their operating experience with the cylinders. The FAA has set a deadline of October 11 for comments. EAA said it will insist on a comment period extension, "given the very high cost of the proposed AD, and the almost impossibility of finding enough cylinders to replace the ECi units if the AD were to become law."