FAA could demand inspection of nearly 42,000 Piper planes

Staff ReportVERO BEACH — The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking comments concerning 41,928 Piper Cherokee, Cherokee 6, Seneca, and Seminole airplane wheel shafts that may have been assembled incorrectly and could lead to loss of pitch and roll control, the aviation Web site Aero-News.net reported Tuesday.The FAA has not determined that the inspections are mandatory and interested parties have until Dec. 29 to comment. The proposed “Airworthiness Directive,” came about after two Piper planes were identified to have problems with the wheel shafts which were assembled at the plant in Vero Beach. “The first incident involved the loss of the control wheel on a Piper Model PA-34-220T airplane, where the right-hand control wheel shaft and universal joint separated due to a misdrilled hole for the threaded taper pin,” the Web site said. “The second report was of a ground inspection on a Piper PA-34-220T airplane that revealed a similar situation between the control wheel shaft and the universal joint in the left-hand side.”The inspections are estimated to cost $40 and if a problem is found the repair could run about $1,400.

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