WING INSPECTIONS EYED FOR HIGH-WING CESSNAS The president of the Cessna Skymasters Owners and Pilots Association says thousands of Cessna high-wing aircraft could be affected by a potentially expensive new wing inspection procedure proposed by the company. Herb Harney told AVweb the Supplemental Inspection Documents (SIDs) now being prepared by Cessna will require the removal of the wings of Cessna 336 and 337 push/pull twins, to check wing attach and strut attach bolt fittings for cracks and corrosion. In the U.S., the inspections will be voluntary but those in Part 135 service will be guided by the standard operating procedures of the operator. Harney said that in other countries, however, recommendations by the manufacturer must be met and Skymasters are scattered all over the world. The process is complicated and could cost as much as $60,000 per airplane, more than many Skymasters are currently worth. But the Skymaster shares the same basic wing hardware with all the other Cessna high wings and, under Cessna's current thinking, any aircraft more than 20 years old would be subject to the SIDs, Harney said. AVweb contacted Cessna for comment but the company was unable to respond by our deadline. Harney said U.S. operators may not necessarily escape the inspections.
Good way to sell more of your C162, 172, 182 and 206s....
Joker, can't see a problem, if your machine has been regularly inspected for this sort of thing. Corrosion is a bigger problem than stress in the strutted singles. SIDS has been in place for any Cessna conducting any low level work. for some time, as far as I know.
to check wing attach and strut attach bolt fittings for cracks and corrosion
Is that really a big deal?
The process is complicated and could cost as much as $60,000 per airplane,
Surely, its not that hard to pull the wings off a Cessna. I guess the issue will be if they find corrosion and what it will cost to fix. Can't imagine they will find many with the wings about to rot off. High wing Cessnas have been flying for 60 years+ and the main reason they crash has nothing to do with corrosion or airworthiness of any kind. If CASA do decide to cover their arses on this one in the name of airworthiness, it will be another sad day for Aussie GA. Must say though it would be interesting to know why Cessna went for the 336/7 and not the unstruted 210/177 first off.
Folks, This problem has been a around for a long time --- in Australia. First identified here about 10 years ago.
A major area to be checked for corrosion is the built up spar from the main wing attach point to the strut attach point (non-strutted Cessna singles, 195/177/210, have a completely different structure), hence the estimated cost.
There are at least two sets of jigs in Sydney Australia to re-build the wings, which is what we are talking about. Australia wide, I have no idea. From personal experience I would say $60,000 covers cost of rebuilding the two wings to an as new or better than new if you corrosion paint everything before re-assembly. It is not possible (again, based on experience here in Australia) to determine the extent of the corrosion, without tearing the main spar down, , ahead of the fuel tanks. There is no satisfactory NDT method to determine the extent of the corrosion. There is no "damage tolerance" for corrosion in the area.
It is a real problem, not some marketing ploy by Cessna.
Further, US Congress has passed several pieces of "aging aircraft" legislation, outside the FARs, FAA and manufacturers/type certificate holders have no choice but to respond.
Indeed, if you were to examine the history, you would finds the extent of the problem for strutted Cessna, and the minimum inspection and fix was first raised in Australia ( by LAMEs, not CASA), but it seems the sheer number of aeroplanes put it all in the "too hard" basket.
Given the cost of anything that might substitute for a C152/172/180/182/185/205/206, I would think that rebuilt wings on the 182/206 are probably a commercial proposition, as for the rest, case by case.
Somebody mentioned the 300 series in private use. Anybody who has a 300/400 series used in any category, talk very carefully to your aviation lawyer and make certain your insurance company agrees in writing to cover the aircraft, if the Cessna Maintenance Manual (inc. the SID) has not been complied with.
What constitutes "acceptable data" for Schedule 5 inspections is thoroughly misunderstood. Don't depend on "advice" from CASA, that will be of little help in court.
If you are a LAME, make certain your Hangar Keepers and Professional Indemnity insurance states, in writing, that you and your business and employees are covered, if you sign a MR for an aircraft where the SID has not been done, "because it's only used for private operations".
Sounds like legacy strutted Cessna wrist slashing time approaching then?
It is a real problem, not some marketing ploy by Cessna.
True, IF it becomes mandated for all legacy struted Cessnas. Where is the risk management justification for that? As for insurance companies not covering non SIDS compliant aircraft, well maybe, they wont cover anything they don't have to, but in terms of aircraft falling out of the sky, they have much bigger risks than that to worry about.
There are at least two sets of jigs in Sydney Australia to re-build the wings, which is what we are talking about.
Well, yes, 60 grand a pop, only two jigs in Sydney, extensive new requirements possibly affecting the backbone of the GA industry, its quite possible to see some of the LAME fraternity being more than happy to support that.
This subject is a little touchy and has been done to death in previous posts. I can confirm that CASA will not make you do the SID's inspection. What they have done, back in September, is mandated that you have to maintain your aircraft to the the country of origin, read USA & FAA, with respect to AD's and mandatory service bulletins etc. So If you operate in charter or RPT SID'S is mandated. Private, you can do what you like. Now I can also confirm that many C310 owners, charter or otherwise, have not completed the SID's programme on their aircraft. This gives them an unfair advantage over operators who have. Will CASA make a stand on this? No they won't and please don't ask why as I do not know. However if there were any type of incident resulting in death or injury in an aircraft that is not compliant, kiss your house and any other assets that you may have, goodbye.
Now I expect some people will correct me and that's fine because interpretation is what it is all about but I can assure you this is the state of play right now. Should SID's be done? Yes because the programme has uncovered many defects and this will make your aircraft first, safer and second, worth more at resale.
Location: Bai, mi go long hap na kisim sampla samting.
I was sure that due to the Manufacturers requirement for the SIDs to be done, and CASA mandating that we follow the the manufacturers maintenance requirements, that it had to be done even if the aircraft was in the pvt category. this is how it was explained to me by CASA when I was trying to clarify the regs with CASA. I was informed by my LAME that it was also the case. I have also had it explained to me by other LAMEs that it could be interpreted differently and you could get away without having to do it. All you had to do was find the LAME that followed the same interpretation and was happy to sign your aircraft out. I agree that it would be best if it was done, but I have seen a few get through the SID without much at all wrong with them, and others that were good on initial appearance, get scrapped due to cost of SIDs compliance Vs value of aircraft. I'm afraid mine would fall into the later category. $80K aircraft + $50K to $80K SIDs doesn't = $150K aircraft. I have seen some of the SIDs cost upwards of $150K and take 18 month to complete.
Folks, Based entirely on my personal experience, not second hand:
1. The condition of some C-402 of various models has been "scary", not only extensive corrosion and cracking around fastener hole in the inner wing/undercarriage/engine mount area, but elsewhere in the airframe, including serious corrosion up the fin.
In may cases, the "normal" level of inspection at an annual/100h would not have detected it. Don't blame LAMEs, ain't their fault, either the problem, or the cost of repairs. Several orgs. have set up semi production lines, this reduces cost for the 300/400 SID, talk to AMROBA to find out who they are.
Believe me, this is NOT a business development exercise by LAMEs, or Cessna.
2. Less experience with 300 series, but I have the impression that the problem is not so extensive, and the resultant cost of a SID is not so great, but still is a serious amount of change. From owners I have talked to, for a -310, the $40,000+ to $70,000+, around half a 402 cost ---- but these are ballpark figures, and nobody can give you a "firm" price, because you don't know what damage needs to be repaired, until you tear down the structure.
At least in Australia, we have some very good NDT people, including being able to do crack detection in fastener holes, without necessarily having to use the fastener.
3. Strutted singles: Best summarized by saying that, based on corrosion I have personallyobserved, for the last 10 years or so, I would automatically factor in the cost of rebuilt wings into any purchase, and that has been my advice to others, when requested.
It is a testimony to the soundness of the strutted design, that this problem has not, apparently, resulted in recorded in-flight structural failure. But, then again, many GA accidents are not fully investigated, so I wouldn't rely on the record so far.
Nor has Cessna made any secret of the fact that a SIDs programme was going to be developed for all of their aircraft. In fact, it is heartening to see a company that is prepared to stand by their product which may be due to the fact that it is essentially the same company that made the aircraft, unlike say Piper.
The aircraft that brought the problem to light was a 402 used in low capacity short haul route in the USA. The pilot landed the aircraft complaining that he had run out of aileron trim. Not surprising as the spar was cracked.
The thought process was that these aircraft were never designed to do the hours that they have and Cessna decided that if they were to continue supporting the product then they needed an inspection programme that would enable these aircraft to continue past their original design parameters.
What has been discovered, as other posters have pointed out, is that in unexpected areas these aircraft had problems and as more inspections are being carried out the more problems are being discovered. I have seen a number of 310s with the whole of the top deck removed as corrosion was discovered there. Incidentally, the price quoted 2 years ago for a SID on a 310 was in the region of $150k.
This is not work creation by Cessna but a very responsible decision.
A SID's program on a 200/100 series would be much easier than a twin as you dont have engines , control cables or undercarriage to deal with . Also if as every owner believes there is nothing wrong with their aircraft then it should be a wings off /ndt /boroscope/wings on procedure . Hopefully Cessna wont make any further SID's programs to involved.
Having being involved in a few full SID's programs the 310 was the worst for access and reassembly.
I'm afraid mine would fall into the later category. $80K aircraft + $50K to $80K SIDs doesn't = $150K aircraft. I have seen some of the SIDs cost upwards of $150K and take 18 month to complete.
Wizard, you make a point about the value of your aeroplane after the SIDS inspection/repairs and I understand this relates to some personal circumstances. However, you have brought up a related and interesting conversation.
In making your point, you have hit one of many nails on the head as to why GA in Australia is going backwards. Surely, when talking about the value of the aeroplane, you need to stack it up against the comparable cost of replacement? IE We seem to blanch at what should be considered good maintenance or life extension on vintage (or at best, very old) aircraft even though we consider the cost of new aircraft too high. In any other industry, people simply won't go near machinery as old as what we find the norm in general aviation because it is considered unsafe. In aviation, we talk about safety a lot and then hope something often as much as 35-40 years old is going to be free of corrosion, and expect maintenance to be cheap. As some have suggested here already, it is possible Cessna and other manufacturers want people to retire their older aeroplanes and get new ones.
On that basis, in working out whether GA can survive, and whether we as individuals can afford to be in it, maybe we need a major and concerted campaign to get banks and other institutions to allow new equipment to be more readily used as security against finance, for the equipment to be written down over more sensible periods, and for the repayment terms to be more representative of the huge initial outlay?