The FAA has issued an SAIB (Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin) alerting Piper owners that they should check the forward spar-to-fuselage attaching fittings for corrosion at the next available opportunity.
There will not be an AD for this matter, the FAA said.
“This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin is to advise owners and operators of Piper Aircraft, Inc. PA-28, PA-32, PA-34, and PA-44 airplanes of the potential for corrosion of the forward spar to fuselage attach fittings, in an area that may not be easily accessible for inspection. We have determined that no regulatory action is necessary at this time because the airworthiness concern is not an unsafe condition that would warrant an FAA AD under 14 CFR part 39.”
Piper Aircraft, Inc. issued Service Bulletins (SB) 789A, 977, and 1244B to inspect for corrosion on the aft wing spar to fuselage attach fittings. At the time the service bulletins were written, the corrosion was attributed to water intrusion, and forward attach fittings were not considered to be subject to the water intrusion issues affecting the aft attach fittings. Therefore, inspections of the forward attach fittings were not included in those service bulletins.
Since then, the FAA became aware of several cases of severe corrosion on the forward attach fittings from operators in Florida. While no evidence exists of water intrusion at the forward locations, the potential exists for galvanic corrosion between the dissimilar metals of the steel fittings and aluminum spar. Due to the restricted accessibility of the forward attach fittings in some airplanes, owners may be neglecting to have this area inspected. See Figures 1 through 3 depicting corrosion location and characteristics.
The specific Piper Aircraft, Inc. models affected are: PA-28-140, PA-28-150, PA-28-151, PA-28-160, PA-28-161, PA-28-180, PA-28-181, PA-28-201T, PA-28-235, PA-28-236, PA-28R-180, PA-28R-200, PA-28R-201, PA-28R-201T, PA-28RT-201, PA-28RT-201T, PA-28S-160, PA-28S-180, PA-32-260, PA-32-300, PA-32-301, PA-32-301FT, PA-32-301T, PA-32-301XTC, PA-32R-300; PA-32R-301 (HP), PA-32R-301 (SP), PA-32R-301T, PA-32RT-300, PA-32RT-300T, PA-32S-300, PA-34-200, PA-34-200T, PA-34-220T, PA-44-180, and PA-44-180T.
The FAA is recommending that owners take special care to ensure that the forward wing attach fittings are visually inspected during annual or 100-hour inspections in accordance with the applicable Piper Aircraft, Inc. Maintenance Manual. Some operators have had inspection panels or borescope inspection holes installed to facilitate inspection (contact Piper Aircraft, Inc. for acceptable options). “Powdery” rivets in the attach fitting are indicative of corrosion between the steel and aluminum surfaces. Particularly susceptible are those airplanes operating in coastal or otherwise corrosive environments.The rest of this article can be seen only by paid members who are logged in.
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