M600 Grounded For Wing Inspection
The entire fleet of Piper M600s has been grounded following the discovery of a single, non-conforming aft wing spar from Piper’s component supplier. The non-conforming part was discovered to be below minimum thickness in one region, prompting a mandatory service bulletin. Piper CEO Simon Caldecott told members of the media at AirVenture Monday, “Our first priority is the safety of our customers and their passengers, so in an abundance of caution, we have taken the conservative route,” requiring inspection of all 38 of the M600s that have left the factory—32 in the hands of customers.
Caldecott told AVweb that the inspection is a straightforward, single-day operation. The M600 uses a wet wing, so the fuel tanks must be drained, and inspection panels removed. Some sealant will have to be stripped to measure the relevant section of the aft wing spar, then reapplied. Caldecott says he doesn’t expect to find any additional non-conforming parts, and has a personal theory about how the single bad part made it to Piper, but declined to speculate until Piper’s engineering team has had more time to investigate with the benefit of data from customer airplanes.