At AOPA’s request the FAA has delayed from Feb. 7 until March 9 the effective date for an airworthiness directive (AD) that would have required inspections of 17,957 Piper PA–28 series single-engine aircraft to verify that the left and right fuel tank selector cover placards are positioned properly, and replacement of those found not to conform.
The agency granted AOPA’s request for a global alternative method of compliance that provides aircraft owners an additional 30 days’ relief to perform the mandated inspections, said AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs David Oord.
With no placard-related accidents known and only one report of fuel placards reversed, AOPA questioned the urgency of the FAA proceeding to the AD final rule without issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking that afforded the public the requested opportunity to comment before action is taken.
AOPA also contended that PA–28 owners and operators “are capable and should be allowed to perform the initial inspection,” adding that the FAA “has a long history of allowing such actions.”
The FAA estimated the cost of compliance with the original AD at $42.50 for each inspection, resulting in a total estimated cost of more than $763,000 for the fleet of 17,957 airplanes—money that could be saved if aircraft owners were permitted to perform the initial inspection.