Lycoming Crankshafts: Tracing A Long History
The claim appears to attempt to link this particular service bulletin with past recalls that the plaintiff alleges were the result of cost-cutting measures implemented by Lycoming in the mid to late 1990s that "altered the design of the engines and led to crankshaft failures." (In 2005, Lycoming lost a legal battle with a supplier that alleged it was Lycoming's addition of vanadium to the alloy -- and not the supplier's manufacturing process -- that weakened the shafts.) The new suit alleges that "defective safety testing and review procedures in place at Lycoming" resulted in the company's being unable to guarantee that any crankshafts made after 1997 were safe. The suit alleges that Lycoming was forced by the FAA to issue recalls in 2002 and 2005 covering about 2,000 engines based on the findings of a joint investigation by the FAA and Lycoming. The suit also says that Lycoming continues to deny that there is anything wrong with crankshafts covered by the current service bulletins. It states that "the 'early retirement' is based solely on the 'collective wisdom of Lycoming and the FAA given the prior history of hammer forged-crankshafts.'" The suit quotes AOPA as estimating the total direct cost of complying with the service bulletins at $32 million and doesn't include the ancillary costs and effect on resale value of the aircraft involved.