Wing Inspections Eyed For High Wing Cessnas

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The president of the Cessna Skymasters Owners and Pilots Association says thousands of Cessna high-wing aircraft could be affected by a potentially expensive new wing inspection procedure proposed by the company. Herb Harney told AVweb the Supplemental Inspection Documents (SIDs) now being prepared by Cessna will require the removal of the wings of Cessna 336 and 337 push/pull twins, to check wing attach and strut attach bolt fittings for cracks and corrosion. In the U.S., the inspections will be voluntary but those in Part 135 service will be guided by the standard operating procedures of the operator. Harney said that in other countries, however, recommendations by the manufacturer must be met and Skymasters are scattered all over the world. The process is complicated and could cost as much as $60,000 per airplane, more than many Skymasters are currently worth. But the Skymaster shares the same basic wing hardware with all the other Cessna high wings and, under Cessna's current thinking, any aircraft more than 20 years old would be subject to the SIDs, Harney said. AVweb contacted Cessna for comment but the company was unable to respond by our deadline. Harney said U.S. operators may not necessarily escape the inspections.

Harney said Cessna is currently planning on rewriting the aircraft service manuals to include the inspection recommendations. He said maintenance companies, with their normal abundance of caution, may require the inspections before signing off on the aircraft because of the service manual amendments. If that became a common practice, more than 140,000 aircraft could be affected. Harney stressed that the SIDs are still being developed and could be changed but he also said that Cessna is planning implementation of the first SIDs by July of 2010, starting with Cessna 336 models.