Folding Seat AD Issued for American Champion Citabria, Decathlon, Scout
November 2, 2009 — The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD 2009-22-02) for American Champion Aircraft Corp. Models 7ECA, 7GCAA, 7GCBC, 7KCAB, 8KCAB, and 8GCBC manufactured prior to 1989, commonly known as the Citabria, Decathlon and Scout airplanes. The AD is the follow-up to the notice of proposed rulemaking published on August 13, 2009, which proposed to require inspection of the rear-seat back hinge areas for cracking and excessive elongation of the rear seat hinge bolt hole. (Read the AD here.)
The FAA wants the folding seats inspected within the next 25 hours time-in-service after the AD effective date (December 3, 2009) and then at each annual inspection or within 100 hours, whichever occurs first. The concern prompting the AD is that a cracked or elongated hole in the seat could fail, causing the rear-seated pilot or passenger to inadvertently grab the control stick while attempting to not roll to the rear of the airplane. Should the inspection per American Champion Service Letter 431, dated July 20, 2009, show damage beyond the tolerance limit, the AD calls for the seat back to be replaced. The installation of the new seat back will terminate the requirements of the AD.
EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association have not been made aware of any alternate means of compliance (AMOC) to repair the seat frame, but they expect there will be a request made for an AMOC to the FAA by those affected by the AD. The seat structure appears to be comprised of standard tubular steel, which could easily be repaired using standard aviation maintenance practices contained in Advisory Circular 43.13-1A.