EAA, Vintage Aircraft Association File Joint Comments On Mandatory Taylorcraft Testing
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (October 16, 2007) — EAA and its Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA) division have used input from its members in an official response to a Federal Aviation Administration order requiring non-destructive test (NDT) inspection of the lift struts on Taylorcraft A, B and F models.
As expected, given the wide range of models affected, many EAA/VAA members contacted their organization regarding the maintenance issues resulting from the FAA's airworthiness directive (AD). Prior to composing the comments to FAA, VAA Executive Director H.G. Frautschy and EAA's industry & regulatory affairs staff spent considerable time gathering feedback from the Taylorcraft Owners Club and individual EAA and VAA members. In addition, contact was initiated with the FAA engineer in the office responsible for the AD. EAA's submitted comments were based on information and suggestions from VAA and EAA members, as well as independent research.
"Our members were active in calling and commenting on this AD, as well as providing us with background on the struts, the structure, their experience with inspection issues, and other information," Frautschy said. "Forrest Barber, the president of the Taylorcraft Foundation, and the members of the Taylorcraft Owners Club - many of whom are also EAA and VAA members - were also very helpful in defining the issues surrounding this AD."
In the official response, EAA and VAA suggest that an alternate method of compliance (AMOC) using the Maule Fabric tester, and an additional non-destructive test using an x-ray process, be accepted in lieu of the ultrasonic method described in the AD. Also suggested is an extension of the inspection period following the initial inspection.
As with a similar Piper Aircraft lift strut AD issued more than 20 years ago, one of the most challenging aspects of this Taylorcraft AD is the price and availability of replacement struts for the aircraft. Some member comments expressed confusion regarding the suitability of replacement struts with FAA's Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) offered by other aviation suppliers. To clarify, per paragraph (3) (B) of the AD, installation of new sealed lift struts is required, using either the official Taylorcraft part MA-A815 or an FAA-approved equivalent.
Sealed lift struts manufactured by other vendors and carrying the PMA designation are eligible for installation. Installation of such parts will eliminate the repetitive inspection requirement of the AD. The two organizations remind aviators wishing to replace their wing struts to carefully understand the terms and conditions of any sales contract for replacement struts.
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