FAA Issues AD on Cessna 210 Wing Spars
May 22, 2012 - On Monday the FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring inspection of the lower wing spar caps on all models of the Cessna 210 piston single with cantilevered wings - all but the first version of the airplane, which had a strut-braced wing. The inspection is looking for cracks in the lower wing spar cap and if cracks are found, the cracked spar components - or the entire wing - must be replaced.
The FAA says several cracks have been discovered the in the lower spar cap on a number of 210s, and in one case the spar cap had been severed and the skin split. The FAA determined the situation is so urgent that the AD was issued effective June 5 and comments are being accepted through July 5, 2012.
For 210s with more than 10,000 hours of flight time, an immediate external visual inspection of the area below the wing spar cap must be performed before further flight. Before the airplane flies five more hours, an inspector must gain access to the wing to visually inspect the spar cap itself.
Airplanes with between 5,000 and 10,000 hours must have the inspection within 25 hours of additional flight. No inspection is required until a 210 reaches 5,000 hours of flying time.
There is no approved fix or alteration for a spar cap crack, so any failed components must be replaced with airworthy parts. The FAA makes no estimate of shop hours or cost to replace the spar cap, spar itself, or wing, but does estimate that the visual inspection will cost from $255 to $510. The FAA believes that 3,665 Cessna 210s on the U.S. registry have flown more than 5,000 hours and must be inspected under the AD.
The complexity of gaining access to the spar cap for visual inspection will vary from model to model, so cost for the inspection will also vary widely. The FAA did not report any actual in-flight Cessna 210 wing failures blamed on spar cap cracks, and some reports of cracks have come from countries outside the U.S.