Corvalis Wing Prompts $2.4 Million Proposed Fine

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The FAA Thursday proposed a $2.4 million fine for Cessna due to the company's failure to follow quality control measures in production of specific Corvalis parts built in Mexico. According to the FAA, on Dec. 6, 2010, a high-performance, four-seat, composite fixed-gear Corvalis flown by an FAA test pilot experienced separation of a seven-foot section of wing skin from the forward spar. That separation damaged the wing tank but the pilot was able to land safely. The flight led the FAA to ground 13 Corvalis aircraft and led to the discovery of other problems with production that all had one thing in common.

All affected Corvalis aircraft had wings produced at Cessna's plant in Chihuahua, Mexico. The FAA also found problems with scores (82) of other parts manufactured at that factory. FAA investigators determined that excessive humidity at the Chihuahua facility had prevented bonds from curing properly. Cessna says it has since addressed the issues at the plant and the problems remain isolated to the 13 aircraft already addressed by the FAA's emergency AD. The FAA's Randy Babbitt said in a statement that "quality control is a critical part of the aircraft manufacturing process and has to detect problems before planes leave the factory."