April Zook enjoys announcing news and updates for the The A.D. Toolbox Online, which is an IA Regulatory Library and more, produced by Zook Aviation. Come visit our site at www.AirworthinessDirectives.com for all your Regulatory needs, and more!
Aircraft Maintenance Technician – New Garden Flying Field – Full-Time
Come join the N57 AIRPORT TEAM. We are hiring an A&P Maintenance Technician to work within the Aviation Center. Contact Jon Martin for more information. 610-268-2619
Aircraft Maintenance Technician
This position works as part of the New Garden Flying Field Team, within our Aviation Center, to perform maintenance and repairs on general aviation single and light twin engine aircraft.
Qualified candidate must have a positive attitude, comfortable working in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a constant focus on safety, quality and attention to detail.
This position will be responsible for inspections, repairs and preventative maintenance on piston flight school and customer owned aircraft.
Minimum Qualifications Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certificate Knowledge and understanding of Federal Aviation Regulations and manufacturer manuals. Possess adequate tools Avionics experience preferred
Responsibilities Perform efficient troubleshooting, aircraft maintenance, and repair in accordance with applicable regulations, manufacturer’s instructions, and FAA procedures Ensure consistent, accurate aircraft maintenance records by properly documenting & completing required forms, computer entries, and logbook entries Follow all policies and procedures Keep a clean and orderly work environment Perform job duties in a safe manner Perform Airport facility maintenance as needed. Perform other duties as assigned
For more information please contact- Jonathan Martin, Aviation Director New Garden Flying Field 610-268-2619 email@example.com
Why? Changing the report date will NOT keep your original report, but instead replace it. This is not the best idea, because your old report will be gone, permanently. Instead, we suggest Updating Your Report with New ADs because:
It retains your original report.
It transfers all the information from the original report, while making it “current” with any new ADs that have been issued since you last performed any action on that aircraft.
We recommend the Update with New ADs option if you want to start the paper work for your upcoming annual before performing any work.
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So what is Change the Report Date for then? Changing the date should really only be used if an annual runs into a little extra time for example if one unexpectedly has to send the engine out for an overhaul after an annual has already been started. So please never use “Change Report Date” if you are doing a normal annual inspection.
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If, after heeding the warnings and understanding that changing the report date will NOT keep your original report, but instead replace it, then please proceed, with caution. Here are the steps to Changing your Report Date:
Open the AD Report. In the heading, click the “Change Report Date” link:
Next, you will be given the option to add any new ADs that have been issued since the initial Report Date. Leave them checked to add them, or uncheck them to prevent them from being added to the updated Report.
! Remember to change your Report date in the field at the bottom of the page, and click Save:
The new date will be shown in the Report heading:
The new date will also be reflected on the Member Dashboard:
Over 10,000 Piper PA-28 and PA-32 series aircraft will be affected by a proposed Airworthiness Directive requiring inspection of the main wing spar for corrosion. Associate editor SCOTT KINNEY decides to act now to inspect his Cherokee and secure his peace of mind.
One of the benefits of hanging around type-specific flying forums on the internet is that you’ll often get wind of FAA Airworthiness Directives (ADs) before they’re made public. I’d chanced across just such a post on Nov. 6, 2017.
The poster claimed that Piper Service Bulletin (SB) No. 1304 was about to become an AD, affecting thousands of aircraft. SB 1304 mandates a “thorough one-time inspection of the wing root area for corrosion” and lays out steps to be taken if corrosion is found. To perform the inspection, an access panel must be installed in each wing if one does not already exist.
Sure enough, the next morning, my email inbox contained a confirmation of the rumor: the FAA was moving to adopt SB 1304 as an AD after a 45-day comment period. (See page 60 of this issue. —Ed.) The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) states that compliance will be required within the next 100 hours or 12 months’ time in service from the date of the AD.
Summary: 11,476 PA-28 aircraft owners will soon be getting potentially expensive news.
I’m one of them.
My 1963 Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180, N7294W, has served me well for the past few years. As with many older birds, she has a few negatives in the logs. Four Whiskey lived her first several years near the beach in Southern California. I’d guess she was parked outside too, as the logbooks show a few corrosion repairs in the mid-1970s. Since then, she’s been primarily a high desert airplane.
Why not wait?
I decided to move forward with the inspection right away. I suppose I could’ve held off until my July annual and/or until the AD wording was finalized. It may be that the final AD has other accepted methods for inspection (borescope?) that don’t require cutting large access panels in the lower wing skins.
However, I had never seen the spars on N7294W with my own eyes. I am not sure I would’ve been happy flying the airplane for many more hours knowing the potential consequences of wing spar corrosion. November is also a good time of year to get work done on an aircraft in Oregon—it’s not flying season.
And I kept coming back to the reasons behind the proposed AD. A failed main spar means that your wings may fall off. In my book, that’s a very bad day.
Checking for access panels
The first step was to check for existing access panels. I thought that perhaps the panels could have been installed as part of some of the previous repair work. Since I was at home and had the aircraft logs on hand, I checked for any mention of SB 1304, SB 1244B or SB 789A (the latter two Service Bulletins also recommend addition of the access panel kit). Nothing.
The previous owner did pull the fuel tanks about seven years ago to check for spar corrosion (Piper SB 1006), but that’s further outboard on the wing. I went to the airport and crawled under the wing. Maybe the work hadn’t been logged and the panels were already in place.
No joy. I fired up Google and went parts shopping.
The NPRM estimates the cost of Piper’s 765-106V kit “that contains provisions to install inspections access panels on both wings” at $175. I lucked out and found a new old stock kit for a little less than that.
Since the announcement on Nov. 7, 2017, these kits have gotten increasingly difficult to find. Many vendors sold out of 765-106V in the first two days after the announcement, though they have since restocked.
Current street price for P/N 765-106V is between $200 and $250; slightly higher than the $175 estimated in the NPRM. As of early December 2017, PFA supporter AirWard shows a dozen kits in stock at a price of $229; a Google search for “Piper 765-106V” will give the most current situation. I would expect these kits to become increasingly rare or backordered immediately after the final AD is announced.
Installing the access panels
I contacted PFA member Tony Hann at Infinite Air Center in Albany, Oregon to schedule the work. Tony and his lead A&P/IA, Robert Lind, operate several PA-28s out of Albany Municipal Airport (S12). Robert has been working with Piper aircraft for more than 30 years and their shop is just a short hop from my home base.
Once I had my parts in hand, I braved the stormy mid-November weather and flew Four Whiskey up to Albany in what I’ll generously call “imperfect VFR conditions.”
Nuts ‘n bolts
Robert, Tony and I unpacked the kit’s contents onto the wing of the aircraft.
They’d ordered a few kits from Aviall to service their PA-28s. We compared the Aviall kits with my kit from Piper. My kit—dated 1987—matched up parts-wise, meaning Piper hasn’t changed the kit contents in 30 years.
The kit consists of two reinforcing doubler plates and two inspection covers. There are also 40 AN426AD4-4 rivets, used to affix the plates to the lower wing skin and 16 MS24693-S48 machine screws for attachment of the inspection covers to the doubler plates.
The Piper instructions are skimpy, to say the least, and leave some room for imagination (or improvisation?):
1. Skin cutout to be located midway between ribs and midway between the main spar and stringer as shown in
Figure 1 (Sheet 4).
2. Locate and install doubler 38571-02 as shown and attach to skin using [P/N] 420 722 rivets. Dimple for C/S rivets.
3. Cover 38572-02 can be installed/removed as required, using [P/N] 414 761 fasteners.
Other vendors have been kind enough to include more detailed instructions and a tool list. I’ve seen the documentation AirWard supplies with its kit, and it’s a very helpful supplement.
Positioning the inspection panels
The Piper instructions that came with my kit, those in the new Aviall kits and the drawings in SB 1304 all specify slightly different placements of the access panel in relation to the main spar, ribs and stringers.
After some deliberation over the instructions, Robert, Tony and I positioned the cover and used it as a template to define the cutout area.
We marked the hole as specified in the new Piper instructions and SB 1304—approximately 2 inches aft of the main spar rivet line and 3 inches outboard of the rib at WS 24.240. The long and short of it is that you want to leave sufficient space on every side of the access hole to be able to rivet the doubler in place without getting too close to the spar or ribs.
It’s also important to understand that this is a recessed access plate; it’s different from those further out on the wing. Those are attached to the outside of the lower wing skin. When finished, the new inboard inspection cover will be flush with the wing skin.
Cutting access holes
Out came the power tools. I closed my eyes and turned the other way as Robert began the surgery. He drilled a 1-inch pilot hole with a step drill to provide a starting point.
For the primary cut in the skin, Robert chose a Dremel-like rotary tool with a fine tungsten carbide cutting bit. Smart choice. It allowed him to make a smooth radius cut in the thin aluminum skin.
It was helpful to have two sets of hands to finish the cuts—Robert on the Dremel and me holding the cutout piece in place to ensure it wouldn’t prematurely depart the wing. Wear eye/face protection and appropriate clothing when working with the Dremel as the hot aluminum shards fall straight down.
I cleaned up the edges with a half-round file while Robert moved on to the other wing and repeated the process. I held off from peeking inside until we were done cutting the panels.
With the holes cut, it was time for the moment of truth. Robert asked, “Do you want to do the honors?” I meekly replied, “Uhh, I guess.” If the spars showed significant corrosion, it likely meant a repair bill of several thousand dollars.
I grabbed a flashlight and inspection mirror and rolled back under the right wing on a mechanic’s creeper. I poked the mirror up into the hole.
Oh, thank God. My wings will not fall off.
The main spar looked pristine. The aft spar was excellent as well. The WS 24.240 (inboard of the access panel) and 36.920 rib (outboard of the panel) showed some oxidation and very minor surface corrosion. Four Whiskey’s main spars had been treated with chromate at the factory, but the ribs hadn’t, so the corrosion on the ribs was no surprise.
Robert took a look and confirmed my initial thoughts. “That’s real clean. Great news!” The left wing looked the same.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. The inspection panel in the right wing allowed me to see the underside of the wing walk skin. A few minor cracks had developed in the reinforcing louvers—a common problem with PA-28s. I have felt a slight bit of oil-canning in the wing walk in the past, so I wasn’t shocked by the finding. Such is life with an old aircraft; one more thing to fix.
Cleaning and priming
Robert and I cleaned the interior of the inspection area with a degreaser spray per Part I, Step 3 of SB 1304. After 50 years, the wings had an impressive collection of dead bugs and grime. We reinspected the spar after cleaning and found no corrosion.
SB 1304 states that if corrosion is found in the main spar area, it must first be removed per FAA Advisory Circular AC 43.13-1B, Chapter 6. The affected areas then must be measured for minimum thickness. It is not possible to directly measure all dimensions, so nondestructive methods (ultrasound, eddy current, etc.) may need to be used.
If the thickness of the parts is greater than the limits specified in SB 1304 Part I, Step 5, the areas can be epoxy primed and the aircraft returned to service. The SB contains a list of approved epoxy primers.
If the thickness is below minimums, an FAA-approved structural repair must be performed. This is likely to be an expensive proposition.
We chose to clean and apply epoxy primer to the ribs to ensure no further corrosion on these surfaces. Though this action is not required by SB 1304, it made sense to do with the aircraft already opened up.
Affixing doublers and buttoning up
After the inspection and corrosion mediation steps were complete, Robert went to work on affixing the doublers. Riveting isn’t my strong suit, so I played the role of gofer.
Each doubler plate required 20 countersunk rivets. The rivets are equally spaced around the doubler plate, approximately 5/16 of an inch outside the cutout. Robert used a drawing compass, a slide rule and some mechanic’s magic to get the spacing right. The AirWard instructions contain an error here. They give a layout scheme for 24 rivets per plate, not the 20 per plate that is specified in the Piper documents. They are otherwise really helpful.
Drilling the holes for the rivets is a six-step process. First, Robert clamped the doubler in place. Next, he drilled 1/16-inch holes through the skin and doubler. He then enlarged the holes to 1/8 inch.
Once the holes were drilled, he removed the doubler and deburred the holes. The fifth step was to dimple the holes with a rivet squeezer and appropriate die. Finally, he used Clecos to hold everything in place while he set the rivets into the skin and doubler with the squeezer. The right tools made this job go quickly.
When he finished riveting, Robert made an entry in the logs noting compliance with SB 1304. All that was left was to install each cover with the eight machine screws. I managed this on my own. Four Whiskey needs a bit of paint touch-up in other spots, so I plan to paint the covers and rivet heads later on this winter as a part of that project.
It took about eight hours of work for Robert to install the panels, clean the interior of the wing and perform the inspection. The NPRM estimates six hours’ labor for the panel installation and two hours for the inspection. For obvious reasons, the NPRM does not estimate labor time or parts costs for corrective actions, as these may range from a small area of sanding/priming all the way up to spar replacement. Nor does it account for cosmetics. Paint touch-up may take additional time.
I’d encourage those owners whose aircraft are affected to consider complying sooner rather than later. It may be that your aircraft already has the access panels, in which case it’s a quick inspection. Even if your aircraft doesn’t have the panels, the installation and subsequent inspection is time-consuming, but isn’t particularly complicated.
Installation of the panels can facilitate later inspections required by this or other ADs or SBs. Additionally, you’ll have better access to the inboard areas of the wing for future upgrades (pulling wires) or repairs (the wing walk comes to mind).
Now that I’ve seen the clean spar with my own eyes, I’m 100 percent confident that I have structurally sound wings holding me up in the air. It’s hard to put a price on that feeling of security. Scott Kinney is a self-described aviation geek (#avgeek), private pilot and instructor (CFI-Sport, AGI). He is associate editor for Piper Flyer. Scott and his partner Julia are based in Eugene, Oregon. They are often found buzzing around the West in their Cherokee 180. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When working in an AD Report, wouldn’t it be convenient to NOT have to re-type the same words for multiple ADs, repeated times? Well now you won’t have to.
We’ve added a “memorized text” feature in the AD Reports, for the “Date/Hours at Compliance” and for the “Next Due” fields.
Just type in your notes and hit the Save Changes button. For the next AD, those previously typed words will appear in the same fields, for other ADs in the list.
For Example: For one AD, type in the date and hours, such as: “1/7/19 2245.7 hrs”, then save your changes. When you start typing a number “1” in the next AD below, you will see the memorized text appear. For the Next Due field, if you type in “N/A” and save your changes, you will see “N/A” appears in the next AD when you start typing the letter “N”.
Also, this new function is available on the “scratch pad” when viewing an AD from within the Report.
Note: This will not transfer over to other Reports, it is exclusive to the individual Report you are currently working on. Also, this function is only for the “Date/Hours at Compliance” and for the “Next Due” fields, and not for Method of Compliance.
My AD Reports are not printing right, what is going on?
The quick answer: Do not use your browser’s print function!
Instead, use the “Print Layout Options” from within your AD Report. Here’s the details:
1. Open an AD Report.
2. On the left side of your screen, click on “Print Layout Options“.
3. Choose the style you prefer, there are plenty to choose from, but the “Dynamic” style is the best option.
4. When the page appears, depending on your browser, you may see a small printer icon towards the top of the page. If not, try hovering your mouse towards the bottom center of the page, and the download or print icon may appear. Each browser displays the print tools differently.
If you still don’t see a print icon, you can try going up to File > Print.