AD Affects 14,653 Cessnas (Corrected)

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The FAA has proposed an AD involving 14,653 U.S. Cessna 172, 182, 206 and 210 models after cracks were found in the lower area of the forward cabin doorpost bulkhead. That’s where the wing strut attaches and the AD requires repetitive inspections of the area. After one owner reported finding cracks, more inspections revealed them in about 50 more aircraft. “It has been determined that the cracks result from metal fatigue,” the AD says. A list of affected aircraft is here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-01/pdf/2018-01923.pdf

The cracks appear in a somewhat tough-to-reach spot and it takes about 90 minutes to do the inspection. The FAA is going with Cessna’s recommended intervals for the inspection and they don’t start until the airframe reaches 4,000 hours. The initial inspection has to be done within a year of that milestone or after 200 hours, whichever comes first. After that, it’s every 1,000 hours. If cracks are found, the repair will cost about $3,000 and idle the plane for a few days.

An earlier story didn't clarify that the AD is proposed and that there is a comment period that ends March 19, 2018.

Comments (8)

I believe this is a proposed AD.

Posted by: Jerry Fraser | February 2, 2018 9:20 AM    Report this comment

I read the AD. I don't know if it is proposed or finalized however as currently published if no cracks are found on the first inspection then the cycle is 1000 hrs or EVERY 12 MONTHS whichever comes first. So if you have a listed AC plan to add 1.5 hours of labor to every annual inspection.

Posted by: Howard Nelson | February 2, 2018 10:31 AM    Report this comment

Correction. It is proposed at this time with comments accepted until 3/19/18.

I hope my AOPA dues are of some use and they work to modify this. Since the aircraft affected are non turbine SELs I am not sure how excited anyone will get.

I don't really have an issue with the initial inspections since cracks were found on so many aircraft however is no cracks are present on the first inspection then perhaps re-inspection every 1000 hours might be reasonable for aircraft not used for hire (jump planes, training planes and rentals). Annual inspection as proposed seems quite the expense.

I suspect the aircraft showing these defects had pretty rugged use.

Posted by: Howard Nelson | February 2, 2018 10:43 AM    Report this comment

If Cessna and the FAA estimate it will take a few days and cost $3,000 to fix cracks, you can pretty well bet it will take twice as long and cost at least twice as much. Especially if you have to get any of the repair parts from Cessna.

Posted by: John McNamee | February 2, 2018 11:23 AM    Report this comment

I have always assumed that at this point there were no surprises lurking in the 172's airframe. Now this!
Annual inspections at the scale of this AD would cost Cessna owners millions, to say nothing of the cost of repairs. Moreover, if the AD comes to pass, as it seems likely to in some form, the sucking sound you'll hear will be equity going out of the Cessna fleet.
I guess this comes with a fleet of aging aircraft, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Posted by: Jerry Fraser | February 2, 2018 1:10 PM    Report this comment

It would be nice if they could include a photo of the cracks in the area mention.

Posted by: Mark Ebben | February 2, 2018 10:38 PM    Report this comment

"Since the aircraft affected are non turbine SELs I am not sure how excited anyone will get."

That's right - structural failure of non-turbine aircraft is not as important as structural failure of turbine aircraft.

Posted by: Ken Keen | February 3, 2018 8:14 AM    Report this comment

In the 172 lineup,...this matter applies only to 1980 year model and later 172s, beginning with serial no. 17272885. This is beginnin of the last year of the "N" model 172 and is when Cessna made a major change in the structure of the lower-forward doorpost area where the wing strut attaches. NONE of the Cessna taildragger models are affected. (The tricycle gear models had the beefy-structure of the gearbox moved to the rear doorpost and after 1979 Cessna apparently decided that less structure was necessary at the strut-attach/fwd-doorpost area.) All airplane structures are a compromise between strength and weight. If the airplane is overbuilt...it can carry less useful load. Engineers HATE it when during stress testing of new airframes...the structure outlasts the design tests...because to THEM it means the structure is OVERbuilt. We occupants might not see it quite that way. gahorn

Posted by: George Horn | February 9, 2018 5:04 PM    Report this comment

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