AOPA Opposes Piper Fuel Selector AD

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AOPA has written the FAA urging it to hold off on mandating an expensive fix for older Pipers that pilots say is a nonexistent problem. As we reported earlier, the FAA issued a notice a few weeks ago that it was considering issuing an airworthiness directive requiring operators of older Cherokees to replace the fuel tank selector. The early models lack safeguards against pilots inadvertently shutting the fuel off in flight and Piper has suggested they all be replaced with new models that make it more difficult to accidentally close the valves. AOPA said the members who responded to its polling said it’s a non-issue.

Instead of requiring a fix that might be more expensive than some owners would be willing to absorb, AOPA says education will be enough to ensure pilots are careful about using the selector. “These aircraft have been in operation for more than five decades now with hundreds of thousands of safe operating hours,” AOPA quoted one of its members as saying. “Mandating a mechanical solution to a perceived concern that I, nor anyone I have encountered, have NOT experienced would most likely force the grounding of hundreds if not thousands of sound, economical GA aircraft unnecessarily.” 

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. My Cessna 172 doesn’t have a lockout to prevent me from selecting off so why should my PA28 have such a device? I fought this nonsense five years ago and … here it is again. The ATL FSDO needs to be throttled back. IF you own one of these airplanes … WRITE !!

  2. I fly an older 70’s era 4-seater.
    There are no mechanical lock-outs on any of the controls in my aircraft.
    If I move a control and I don’t like what happens, I move it back.
    Simple.

  3. I just flew across the Atlantic Ocean – twice – in my 1966 Cherokee 140, and never had this problem, ever. Not on this trip, not ever. So, what are we fixing here ?
    Youtube channel: tinkershop

  4. I fully agree with all of these comments. Unfortunately due to the Boeing 737MAX fiasco, I’ll bet the FAA is in CYA mode and will probably come up with all kinds of these proposals on GA aircraft. Hopefully I am wrong on this.

  5. I hope they don’t look at the fuel selectors of my twin, I HAVE to pass through OFF to switch between the inboard and outboard tanks on both the left and right side. Selector is “Inboard — Off — Outboard”

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