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6,586 Single-Engine Cessnas Get Airworthiness Directive

6,586 Single-Engine Cessnas Get Airworthiness Directive

If you own a Cessna 180, 182 or 185, you may need to check whether your aircraft is one of which impacted by the Federal Aviation Administration’s just adopted an airworthiness directive (AD) that requires the inspection of the tail cone and horizontal stabilizers for corrosion and cracking.

The AD takes effect December 7 and applies to 6,586 airplanes of the Cessna 180, 180A, 180B, 180C, 180D, 180E, 180F, 180G, 180H, 180J, 180K, 182, 182A, 182B, 182C, 182D, 185, 185A, 185B, 185C, 185D, 185E, A185E, and A185F series.  Inspections are required within the next 100 hours of time-in-service after the AD’s effective date, or within the next 12 months, whichever occurs later.  Additionally, an inspection is then required every 500 hours of time-in-service or five years, whichever occurs first.   The AD requires repairing or replacing parts found damaged.

One news source quoted the inspection cost being about $170 per aircraft, but other sources said the cost could be in the neighborhood of $1,200.

The FAA’s action, which was first proposed in May, came after reports of cracks in the tail cone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure of a Cessna 185.  The FAA discovered similar conditions on 29 additional 180- and 185-series airplanes, and “determined that the combination of the attachment structure design and high loads during landing contribute to the development of cracks in the tail cone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure,” the AD said.

AOPA submitted comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking, raising questions about concerns including the applicability of the proposed AD to Cessna 182 models, inspection alternatives, and possible other sources of the cracking problem.

The FAA agreed to provide more details but left the AD’s provisions unamended in the final rule, noting that although the Cessna 182’s landing stresses differ, “the FAA determined that the development

of cracks in the tail cone and horizontal stabilizer attachment structure is a combination of landing stresses and the attachment structure design. Models 182 through 182D airplanes have the same tail cone design as Model 185-series airplanes.”

The FAA declined to exempt some Cessna 180 and 185 floatplanes, and lower-time aircraft, from the AD.