AOPA has recommendations for the FAA after a review of a proposed airworthiness directive (AD) that includes Grumman American AA–5A And AA–5B models.
In July, the FAA published an AD for AA–1, AA–1A, AA–1B, AA–1C, and AA–5 models after a Grumman American AA–5 crashed upon landing when its “outboard elevator attach bracket on the horizontal stabilizer detached” and caused a loss of elevator control and damage to the aircraft.
After a monthlong review of the proposed AD, including feedback from AA- model technical experts, AA- model type clubs, and AOPA members, AOPA concluded that procedures and guidance that currently require identification of delamination and corrosion are appropriate to safely mitigate risks of an in-flight loss of control without the need for a “new and duplicative AD.”.
In its comment, AOPA recommends the FAA withdraw the proposed AD and publish a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) in its stead that “emphasizes the importance and need to carefully follow Service Letter No. 74-2, Service Bulletin 155, and AD 76-17-03,” which currently require visual and tapping inspections to identify areas of delamination and corrosion. “Specifically, emphasizing the need to complete these requirements during the annual inspection.”
“AOPA supports the FAA’s efforts to ensure the continuing operational safety of the general aviation fleet using ADs as one of many tools available to meet that objective,” said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. “However, we believe a SAIB is the most appropriate tool in this situation to emphasize the importance and need to carefully follow guidance and procedures that currently require identification of delamination and corrosion.”
In the event the FAA determines an AD is necessary, AOPA recommended the corrective action be revised to eliminate the requirement to “tap test” all bondlines of the wings, stabilizers, and fuselage. Instead, if an individual is unable to determine whether bondline separation has occurred through a visual inspection, then a tap test should be used. Avoiding having to complete a tap test of all bondlines will reduce the exposure to additional physical damage and economic burdens.
The FAA estimates that 2,466 aircraft will be affected by the expanded AD, with an estimated cost of $680 per inspection. The proposed AD would affect the AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger aircraft and should it become a final rule, AOPA will comply with all aspects of the AD to have the sweepstakes aircraft inspected and repaired if needed