Flight Training - March 2019 - 40
AD 2018-03-03 R1,
affecting 2,147 Cessna twins,
is a required inspection of the
carry-through spar cap that
originated with the discovery of
a "fully cracked" spar cap on a
402C. The inspection required
by the AD is estimated to cost
$1,020. If repairs are required,
the cost is estimated at a
FLYABLE VERSUS AIRWORTHY
Despite following all the best advice before buying our airplane
(define the mission, do a title search, write a smart contract, hold the
funds in escrow, get a good prebuy) I ended up with a flying lemon.
It broke down three times while ferrying it home from California to
my home base in New Mexico, and the friendly mechanics who helped
me out each time alerted me to a host of unexpected issues: Those
automotive fuel lines are illegal, and might catch fire. See this wiring?
That's not approved for airplanes. Did you know you're missing the
engine baffling-all of it? Your rudder hinges are shot. Your trim tab is
upside down. These fuses...and on, and on, and on it went.
When I got home I sent a heated email to the highly recommended
prebuy mechanic, which included wording something along the line
of: "I was counting on you to determine if this airplane was airworthy
and safe for me and my family to fly in."
His response? "It is airworthy," he wrote back to me, "after all, it
flew in here."
I was too flabbergasted to respond. Flyable is absolutely not
So what's the difference? Airworthiness is a legal state of full
compliance with FAA regulations, and you can get in heaps of trouble
for taking to the sky in an airplane that isn't up to airworthiness snuff.
Don't believe me? See FAR 91.7, which plainly states, "No person may
operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition."
OK, so what, specifically, is airworthiness? And how does it differ
from flyability? The FAA defines airworthiness in FAR 3.5(a) as meaning the aircraft "conforms to its type design and is in a condition for
safe operation." That includes compliance with registration (or re-registration every three years); annual inspection, and 100-hour inspection
if the aircraft is used to carry passengers for hire or is used for flight
instruction; periodic inspections of ELT, static system and altimeter,
transponder, and VOR instruments as required-depending on how the
airplane is equipped and whether or not it is flying IFR. To be airworthy, an airplane also must comply with the minimum equipment list
(MEL), if it has one, which is specific to every individual airplane.
And, of course, it has to be in compliance with all applicable ADs.
There is one notable exception that lets you legally become a
test pilot and fly an unairworthy (but flyable) airplane. Consider this
scenario: A hangar queen has fallen way behind on its required maintenance. There are no mechanics on the field, and a new owner wants
to take over the airplane. Now what?
That's where a waiver of the rules commonly called a ferry permit,
but officially called a special airworthiness certificate, comes into play.
Issued by the flight standards district office having jurisdiction over the
flight path, or commonly by a designated airworthiness representative,
the permit typically is good for 10 days and allows a legally unairworthy-but safely flyable aircraft-to be repositioned for a number of
reasons including repairs, alterations, maintenance, storage, or salvage.
Ferry permits can also be used to evacuate out-of-annual aircraft from
impending danger, say, from approaching hurricanes, and more.
But note that the typical insurance policy may not cover an aircraft
flown under a ferry permit. After all, it's not truly airworthy. -WED
40 FLIGHT TRAINING MARCH 2019
The primary latch pin on the seat roller housing
had failed, letting the seat roll freely back on the rails
rather than holding the seat locked firmly in place as
the pin was designed to do. It all happened too fast to
give me the heart attack it deserved.
I was lucky. Keith Harper was not. The same thing
happened to him in his Cessna 172 while taking off
from the Cape May County (New Jersey) Airport on
June 2, 1980, resulting in a departure stall that killed
him and two of his three passengers. His accident, and
a number of others-some fatal, some not-led to the
1987 issuance of an airworthiness directive, commonly
called an AD, that eventually would require inspection
and repairs to seat rollers, pins, and rails in 36,000
airplanes in the United States.
SO JUST WHAT IS AN AD?
At their core, ADs are the FAA's way of correcting a
wide variety of safety issues in airplanes that develop
after manufacture. Sometimes long after manufacture. ADs are more than just best practices or good
ideas. They are the law. Under FAR Part 39, ADs are
"legally enforceable rules" issued by the FAA to correct
an unsafe condition in a product. This regulation
defines products-for the purposes of ADs-as aircraft,
engines, propellers, or appliances (think instruments).
So pretty much every part and parcel of an airplane.
An AD calls out a safety issue and spells out the
corrective action required to fix it: special inspections, repairs, or alterations. A time window for
corrective action usually is part of the AD, as well.
So just how do these ADs come about? How many
kinds are there? How do you find out if there are ADs
on the airplane you are flying? And what are your
responsibilities as a pilot when it comes to ADs?
WHY AN AD?
While it's debatable what the intended design life of our
GA airplanes was to begin with, you only need to look
to the warbird community to see that, properly cared
for, airplanes are eternal. That said, our GA fleet is in its
upper middle age, with many training airplanes older
than the student pilots flying them. Over time, corrosion
and metal fatigue, among other things, can take their
toll, and even well-maintained aircraft can develop
issues that, if not corrected, can make flight dangerous.
ADs are designed to keep us safe by looking for
problems that develop in the fleet, and requiring
action to-basically-head off trouble at the pass.
Flight Training - March 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2019
Flight Training - March 2019 - Cover1
Flight Training - March 2019 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2019 - Contents
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