FAA mandates inspections of older Pipers

In a new Service Bulletin, the FAA is mandating enhanced inspections and repairs where necessary to cables that control tail surfaces on about 30,000 Piper aircraft. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the bulletin, prompted by at least one accident and a serious incident stemming from such malfunctioning flight-control systems in recent years, will require planes 15 years or older to be checked for damaged or corroded cables during their next annual inspection.


  1. C. David Buchanan says

    What is unique about Piper elvator cables? The tunbuckels and cables are all standard components? All required some level of inspection on annual before this required increase in inspection detail hadly seems warrented.

  2. George says

    Duh, this should done on all planes during an annual inspection.
    I know of a case of a badly frayed elevator cable in a Cessna 210 which
    was not detected by prior inspections.

    • TedZ says

      Great in theory, but the AD requires disassembly of the stabilator cables/turnbuckles and examination with magnification, with an estimated cost of almost $500 if nothing wrong is found. And that’s just for the stabilator, which is easily accessed behind the rear seats. Sure, cables should be checked, but doing it in this much detail for all cables would really raise the price of an annual.

      • George says

        Are you talking SB or AD, they are different subjects. The AD addresses the
        dye pen check of the casting in the stabilator. Service bulletins are not always
        mandatory. BTW, the cost of the AD is more like $1500.

        • TedZ says

          This new AD/SB is about the turnbuckles and cables strands themselves, and compliance is estimated by the FAA at $425 for the req’d inspection. If any problem is found they estimate an additional $1458 for replacing all stab cables. There was an older AD that involved the stab counterweight casting; maybe that’s the one you mean.

        • KJ says

          The AD calling for dye penetrant on the casting is for the older PA-24 models. This SB addresses the Cherokee line, PA-28, -32, -44. Sounds like an AD is in the pipeline, just not released yet. We all want to be safe, but disassembling and scrubbing the cable system every annual hurts.

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