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New FAA AD Affects Older Piper Models

Annual inspection must include control cable assembly


February 6, 2013 - The FAA just published an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that orders the inspection of the stabilizer control system cable assembly in a large number of Piper aircraft that are at least 15 years old, including such popular models as the PA-28 Cherokee, PA-34 Seneca, and PA-44 Seminole.

The AD was based on reports of control cable assembly failures in some older aircraft that may have led to the failure of the horizontal stabilator control system and loss of pitch control. The directive requires the inspection of the stabilator control system and replacement of parts as necessary.

The directive, which is effective on March 11, 2013, does not order an immediate inspection of these aircraft, but to include this initial inspection at any of the following:

  • At the airplane's next annual inspection if it is 15 or more years old;
  • Within 12 months or at the airplane's next annual inspection when it reaches 15 years old;
  • At the next annual inspection or within the next 12 months if the age of the airplane cannot be determined.

After the initial inspection of this area, a recurring inspection at every 2,000 hours of service or seven years - whichever comes first - is also required. If any cracks, corrosion, or cable fraying is discovered, the directive requires replacement of the part. Some corrosion may be removed instead of replacing the entire part, in accordance with Piper Aircraft recommendations.


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