New Cessna AD May Surprise 182 Owners


The FAA last week published an Airworthiness Directive “prompted by a report of cracks found in the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure” of many Cessna 180 and 185 models as well as early 182s, from the original straight 182 to the 182D. It was assumed that the 180 and 185s, being taildraggers, would have seen the cracks more often from landing loads and be the focus of the AD, but the FAA disagreed with industry feedback suggesting the 182 should not be included. The FAA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the topic this summer, prompting the feedback.

The AD, which becomes effective on Dec. 1, 2020, requires an inspection within 100 hours or 12 months, whichever occurs later, and repeats every 500 hours and five years. The sole remedy is replacement of cracked or corroded parts and there is not yet a method of compliance that eliminates the repetitive nature of the AD.

According to the FAA, “The NPRM was prompted by a report of cracks found in the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure on a Textron Model 185 airplane. The FAA discovered similar conditions on 29 additional Textron 180 and 185 series airplanes and determined that the combination of the attachment structure design and high loads during landing contribute to the development of cracks in the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure. The NPRM proposed to require inspecting the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer for corrosion, cracks, and loose or sheared rivets and repairing or replacing damaged parts as necessary.”

In responding to the AOPA’s query on the AD, the FAA said it “agrees to provide additional information explaining why the proposed AD would apply to Model 182-series airplanes. While the landing stresses for the Model 182-series are not equal to that of the Model 180- and 185-series, the FAA determined that the development of cracks in the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure is a combination of landing stresses and the attachment structure design. Models 182 through 182D airplanes have the same tailcone design as Model 185-series airplanes. After the FAA issued an Airworthiness Concern Sheet about this issue on February 8, 2017, requesting information on Model 180- and 185-series airplanes, Textron released Single Engine Mandatory Service Letter SEL-55-01, dated December 7, 2017 (SEL-55-01), which included Models 182 through 182D. Inspection results from SEL-55-01 have included multiple reports of cracking on Models 182 through 182D.”

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. The inherent design weakness on the Cessna 185,180 and 182 trim controlled horizontal stabilizer attachments cracking is not just from tailwheel landings. Floatplanes crack out just as much as nose wheel planes. Cessna has been selling these replacement parts in volume for many decades. Every time Cessna would manufacture a dozen or so of these parts they would sell out in just a few days. Just another design issue that took decades to bring to the FAA’s attention. Don’t sight the FAA for this one. Basic 101 lawyer policy, “admit nothing… deny everything”. If you don’t, you’re responsible and liable. It’s a Fifth Amendment thing 😉 .

    It would be worth someone’s time to mount a gopro and watch the tail shake when full flaps are deployed and at higher speeds.