DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-1046; Product Identifier 2018-CE-049-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Piper Aircraft, Inc. Airplanes
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
certain Piper Aircraft, Inc. (Piper) Model PA-28-140, PA-28-150, PA-28-
151, PA-28-160, PA-28-161, PA-28-180, PA-28-181, PA-28-235, PA-28R-180,
PA-28R-200, PA-28R-201, PA-28R-201T, PA-28RT-201, PA-28RT-201T, PA-32-
260, and PA-32-300 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report
of a fatigue crack found in a visually inaccessible area of the lower
main wing spar cap. This proposed AD would require calculating the
factored service hours for each main wing spar to determine when an
inspection is required, inspecting the lower main wing spar bolt holes
for cracks, and replacing any cracked main wing spar. We are proposing
this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 4, 2019.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow
the instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-1046; or in person
at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains
this NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-
5527) is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket
shortly after receipt.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan McCully, Aerospace Engineer,
Atlanta ACO Branch, FAA, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia
30337; phone: (404) 474-5548; fax: (404) 474-5605; email:
We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under the ADDRESSES section. Include "Docket No. FAA-2018-1046;
Product Identifier 2018-CE-049-AD" at the beginning of your comments.
We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic,
environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all
comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM because
of those comments.
We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We
will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we
receive about this NPRM.
We received a report of a fatigue crack found in the lower main
wing spar cap on a Piper Model PA-28R-201 airplane. An investigation
revealed that repeated high-load operating conditions accelerated the
fatigue crack growth in the lower main wing spar cap. In addition,
because of the structural configuration of the wing assembly, the
cracked area was inaccessible for a visual inspection. Model PA-28-140,
PA-28-150, PA-28-151, PA-28-160, PA-28-161, PA-28-180, PA-28-181, PA-
28-235, PA-28R-180, PA-28R-200, PA-28R-201T, PA-28RT-201, PA-28RT-201T,
PA-32-260, and PA-32-300 airplanes have similar wing spar structures as
the Model PA-28R-201.
Airplanes used in training and other high-load environments are
typically operated for hire and have inspection programs that require
100-hour inspections. We determined the number of 100-hour inspections
an airplane has undergone is the best indicator of the airplane's usage
history. Using the criteria in FAA Advisory Circular AC 23-13A,
"Fatigue, Fail-Safe, and Damage Tolerance Evaluation of Metallic
Structure for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category
Airplanes," which you can find at
MainFrame?OpenFrameset, we developed a factored service hours formula
based on the number of 100-hour inspections completed on the airplane.
A review of the airplane maintenance records to determine the
airplane's usage and the application of the factored service hours
formula will identify when an airplane meets the criteria for the
proposed eddy current inspection of the lower main wing spar bolt
Only an airplane with a main wing spar that has a factored service
life of 5,000 hours, has had either main wing spar replaced with a
serviceable main wing spar (more than zero hours TIS), or has airplane
maintenance records that are missing or incomplete, must have the eddy
This condition, if not addressed, could result in the wing
separating from the fuselage in flight.
Related Service Information
We reviewed Piper Aircraft Corporation Service Bulletin No. 886,
dated June 8, 1988, and The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin
No. 978A, dated August 6, 1999. These service bulletins contain
procedures for determining initial and repetitive inspection times
based on the aircraft's usage and visually inspecting the wing lower
spar caps and the upper wing skin adjacent to the fuselage and forward
of each main spar for cracks. We also reviewed Piper Aircraft
Corporation Service Letter No. 997, dated May 14, 1987. This service
letter contains procedures for replacing airplane wings.
We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant
information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is
likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require reviewing the airplane maintenance
records to determine the number of 100-hour inspections completed on
each installed main wing spar and using the number of 100-hour
inspections to calculate the factored service hours for each main wing
spar. This proposed AD would also require inspecting the lower main
wing spar bolt holes for cracks once a main wing spar exceeds the
specified factored service hours and replacing any main wing spar when
a crack is indicated. This proposed AD would only apply when an
airplane has either accumulated 5,000 or more hours time-in-service
(TIS); has had either main wing spar replaced with a serviceable main
wing spar (more than zero hours TIS); or has missing and/or incomplete
We consider this proposed AD interim action. The inspection reports
will provide us additional data for determining the cause of the
cracking. After analyzing the data, we may take further rulemaking
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this proposed AD affects 19,696 airplanes of U.S. registry.
We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:
COST ON U.S.
Review airplane maintenance records and calculate factored service hours.
2 work-hours x $85 per hour = $170.
We estimate the following costs to do the eddy current inspection.
Because some airplanes are only used non-commercially and will not
accumulate the specified factored service hours in the life of the
airplane, we have no way of determining the number of airplanes that
might need this inspection:
COST PER PRODUCT
Inspect the lower main wing spar and replace the attach nuts and bolts.
1.5 work-hours x $85 per hour = $127.50 per wing spar.
$147.50 per wing spar.
Report inspection results to the FAA.
1 work-hour x $85 = $85.
We estimate the following costs to do any necessary replacements
that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection.
We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need
On-Condition Replacement Costs
COST PER PRODUCT
Replace main wing spar.
32 work-hours x $85 per hour = $2,720 per wing spar.
$8,260 per wing spar.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, completing and reviewing the collection of
information. All responses to this collection of information are
mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other
aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for
reducing this burden to: Information Collection Clearance Officer,
Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX
Authority for This Rulemaking
Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, section 44701: "General
requirements." Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with
promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing
regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator
finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within
the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition
that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this
This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the
Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by
FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is
normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but
during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the
authority to issue ADs applicable to small airplanes, gliders,
balloons, airships, domestic business jet transport airplanes, and
associated appliances to the Director of the Policy and Innovation
We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not
have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship
between the national government and the States, or on the distribution
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:
(1) Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order 12866,
(2) Is not a "significant rule" under the DOT Regulatory Policies
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),
(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
The Proposed Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness