AD Proposed For 42,000 Piper Aircraft
November 2, 2009 — The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive to inspect control wheel shafts for nearly 42,000 Piper Aircraft including certain PA-28, PA-32, PA-34 and PA-44 series airplanes. The proposed AD would require an inspection of the control wheel shaft for both the pilot and copilot sides and, if necessary, replacement of the control wheel shaft.
Two field reports of incorrectly assembled control wheel shafts on a pair of Senecas prompted the AD. One, the right-hand control wheel shaft and universal joint separated due to a misdrilled hole for the threaded taper pin. The other, from a ground inspection, revealed a similar situation between the control wheel shaft and the universal joint.
The FAA determined the problem originated at the factory and that the holes were misdrilled even though they may visually appear acceptable. Piper has added a step to the manufacturing process and also introduced a fixture to ensure proper assembly of the control wheel shaft/universal joint to remedy the problem. This condition, if left uncorrected, could lead to separation of the control wheel shaft, resulting in loss of pitch and roll control.
Deadline for comments on this proposed AD is December 29, 2009.