Troubles at the top

Even aircraft giants can have problems. Cessna recently issued work orders for more than 200 Skycatchers in an effort that has to cost the big Wichita company well over $300,000*.

Can you imagine how that would affect a smaller company without the ability to write a six-figure check? Size has benefits, as those couple hundred customers will be professionally handled.

Cessna issued a Mandatory Service Bulletin to repair problems with the wing structure of the first 228 Skycatchers delivered. Mechanics must add a rib and other reinforcement at the wing/fuselage junction where Cessna found some cracking on its factory evaluation aircraft.

The action does not ground the airplanes; indeed, the work only has to be done at the next 100-hour or annual inspection.

However, this is a big modification. Skin on the Skycatchers’ leading edge must be removed and replaced and new parts must be installed in the wing structure. Cessna says it will take about 32 hours to make the upgrade and the company will pay for the work. Skycatcher serial numbers 002 to 229 are affected.

*Roughly $300,000 is calculated at 32 hours each at a minimum of $40 per mechanic hour for $1,280 each times 228 Skycatchers. Ouch!

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