AOPA Urges Cancellation of Rod AD

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AOPA says the FAA has “blindsided AOPA, ECi, and the general aviation community” with a proposed Airworthiness Directive on a certain type of aftermarket connecting rod used in Lycoming engines. AOPA’s regulatory and certification expert, Luis Gutierrez, said the FAA had promised full consultation with AOPA and other industry stakeholders before proposing ADs but forged ahead on this one despite contrary evidence. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued in October, could affect up to 2,800 engines overhauled and repaired using ECi connecting rods. The NPRM was issued in response to a single engine failure that both AOPA and the manufacturer claim may have been caused or contributed to by an oil-system blockage. "AOPA has found no evidence that shows the engine connecting rods fail to meet safe, FAA-approved limits."

What’s more, AOPA claims the FAA used data based on automotive engines to reach the conclusion that an AD was necessary. Gutierrez said air-cooled aircraft engines and liquid-cooled car engines are different animals and the standards of one should not be applied to the other without first verifying the data applies.

Lycoming Engines' own OEM connecting rods are not affected by the proposed Airworthiness Directive.