The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for American Champion Aircraft Corp.’s Champion, Citabria and Scouts manufactured before 1989 and equipped with folding rear seat backs.
The AD requires inspection of the rear seat back hinge areas for cracking and excessive elongation of the rear seat hinge bolt hole and, if cracking or excessive elongation is found, replacement of the rear seat frame for Models 7ECA, 7GCAA, 7GCBC, 7KCAB, 8KCAB, and 8GCBC airplanes.
Cracking of the rear seat back hinge area and excessive elongation of the rear seat hinge bolt hole could result in the failure of the seat back, which could lead to a rear-seated pilot or passenger inadvertently interfering with the control stick while attempting to not roll to the rear of the airplane upon seat back failure. Consequently, this failure could result in loss of control, FAA officials said.
The AD, which becomes effective Dec. 3, requires owners to inspect the seats within the next 25 hours time-in-service (TIS) and then at every 100 hours TIS or every 12 months, whichever occurs first.
The FAA estimates the AD will affect about 2,000 airplanes in the U.S. registry. Estimated costs for the inspection are $40 per airplane. Costs to correct the problem vary, with the FAA estimating about $120 in labor and the cost of a new seat, which could range from $200 to$885. Replacing the seat frame terminates the repetitive inspections requirements of this AD.