Piper Cherokee owners who proactively checked the potentially problematic spars on their aircraft may not be in compliance with the AD that was finally approved last month. The FAA has asked aviation groups to spread the word that owners of affected PA-28s and PA-32s who had their spars checked before the AD became final on Jan. 15 have to file paperwork to obtain an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in order to maintain their aircraft’s airworthiness. The AD requires eddy current inspection of lower main wing spar bolt holes. The AD was the result of the crash of a flight school aircraft in 2018 caused by a spar failure. The specs were detailed in the notice of proposed rulemaking issued in 2020 and many owners got the work done immediately out of concern for safety. The AD affects 5,440 aircraft in the U.S.
Even though the early inspections will be logged, they don’t actually count as compliance so the agency is allowing the AMOC process to make them legal. It’s issued guidance on the paperwork required to properly record the inspections. “It is our belief that some of these owners and operators may not realize that these voluntary inspections do not constitute compliance with the AD since they were performed prior to the AD’s issuance and therefore require an Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) from the FAA,” the agency said in its communications with aviation groups. “We also believe that some of these individuals may not be familiar with the AMOC process.”