...The Verdict Could Be Just The Beginning
The decision also raises questions about the FAA's handling of the crankshaft problem. From the outset, the agency appears to have gone along with Lycoming's conclusion that Interstate was to blame for the weak cranks. The original Emergency Airworthiness Directive grounding Cessnas and Pipers with TIO-540 and LTIO-540 engines cites "a variation in the heat treatment process" (the jury did not agree) used during production of the cranks. FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said the agency is studying the court decision and there's no word yet on further action. The AD and the resulting recall was one of the largest and most expensive ever undertaken. Lycoming tore down and repaired more than 1,400 engines over about eight months. The recall left owners without their planes for weeks or months while Lycoming paid for airline tickets and rental aircraft as part of a "Customer Care" package.