Cracks Ground Coast Guard Spartan Fleet


The Coast Guard has grounded all 14 of its C-27J Spartan maritime patrol aircraft after finding serious structural cracks on every one of them. The Coast Guard inspected the planes after the manufacturer Leonardo of Italy issued a service bulletin. The cracks were found where horizontal and vertical stabilizers attach to the fuselage. Leonardo says there are easy fixes for the cracks and the planes shouldn’t be out of service for long. But the Coast Guard says it will be the judge of that and the planes “will remain grounded until a thorough evaluation is completed, and any issues are addressed.”

The Coast Guard uses the Spartans a lot, usually at low altitude over saltwater. The planes are needed for drug and fisheries flights, disaster response and search and rescue. “We are currently assessing our aviation force laydown to address the stand-down of these airframes,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. It has almost 150 helicopters and about 56 fixed wing aircraft, including 27 C-130 Hercules.

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.


  1. Perhaps they can decommission them and sell them to China….See above article “China Offers Taiwan Officer $15 Million For Chinook”. And throw in the nut job that crashed his Taylorcraft for good measure.