This month’s newsletter covers a new AD issuance that may affect you, if your aircraft is equipped with a Continental 470, 520, or 550 engine. Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-05-29 will go into effect April 25, 2014, advising inspection and replacement details on certain Part Number (p/n) Investment Cast Cylinder assemblies manufactured by Superior Air Parts. We must state that this will ONLY affect certain cylinders that are installed on the engine models noted herein, but it is incumbent upon you, the owner, to do your research before this AD has a chance to bite you. We also state that this AD replaces the earlier AD covering this subject that was issued in 2009. This time, though, there is a lot more potentially at stake.
In essence, the 2014 AD states that certain cylinders made by Superior, that have greater than 750 time-in-service hours on them, must now be checked every 50 flight hours until TBO (no matter if Part 91 or not), and at TBO they must be changed out.
OR, if the cylinders have been installed on the engine for a period of 12 calendar years or longer, the cylinder must be changed out immediately no matter the time in service hours on the engine.
Therefore, let’s say that you are at TBO, but you are a Part 91 operator, and your plane goes into annual. At that time, if you have cylinders that fall into this AD, you have no choice but to replace those that are affected. It will not matter if they have good compression, etc., they must be replaced.
As a different and in some cases more plausible, example; let’s say your aircraft has just 500 hour’s time-in-service on the engine and it is running beautifully. You take it in for annual, compression looks good, and etc.
All’s good, correct? No it is not. If that engine has any of the affected cylinders and those cylinders are over twelve (12) years old, the aircraft is grounded and unairworthy until the cylinders are replaced. Bad one? You bet. We just found a Beech V35B on the field that met this second scenario. A bit of a shock to the owner, for sure!
Additionally, if a calendar date or hour time in service cannot be established on any affected cylinder, then the cylinder(s) MUST be removed from service.
The FAA says that this AD affects potentially over 6,000 engines. How many specifically is not known now, but it would really be worth your while to have your logs checked to be sure the p/n listed is not on your aircraft. If this information cannot be found, then a visual inspection of all cylinders would be necessary to ensure that you do not have the P/N listed. This does involve the removal of each valve cover as the p/n information is found there.
We do not like being the bearer of potentially bad news! However, our job is to make sure you are SAFE and in compliance. Being the messenger is not always pleasant, but it is necessary. Should you have any questions regarding any of this, call Joe at 908-996-0541 and he can assist you with the answers. We are prepared to assist in getting you turned around and flying again should you have an aircraft that is affected.
To read the FAA Airworthiness Directive, Click Here.
For more details, contact the professionals at:
Sky Manor Air Repair
Located at Sky Manor Airport (N40)
48 Sky Manor Road
Pittstown NJ 08867