FAA Issues Massive Proposed AD For Pipers

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"We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 41,928 airplanes in the U.S. registry," says the FAA in its move to prevent control wheels from coming loose of their control wheel shafts on certain Piper aircraft. Affected models are certain Piper PA-28, PA-32, PA-34 and PA-44 series aircraft -- all to be inspected at an estimated cost per aircraft of $40 (that's $1.67 million for the whole flock). The FAA has received two reports of control wheel shafts that were incorrectly assembled at Piper -- one that led to separation of the right wheel from the shaft and another that was discovered during a ground inspection. The agency has no way of knowing how many aircraft are affected, but has estimated the necessary repair/replacement cost to involve 16 hours of labor and a total cost of about $1430 per airplane.

Read the proposed airworthiness directive online for a list of serial numbers of affected aircraft. It's not a rule, yet, and the FAA is seeking comments on the proposed rule through Dec. 29.