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Cape Air Grounds Planes To Address Engine Problems

Says Crankshaft Counterweight Causing Abnormal Wear

If you were hoping to catch a flight out of Nantucket this week, chances are your plans have changed. Cape Air, which provides service throughout the East Coast and Caribbean utilizing a fleet of 49 Cessna 402 cabin-class twins, has grounded those planes to make engine repairs.

The problems lie with abnormal wear, linked to a crankshaft counterweight in the Continental Teledyne TSIO-520s used on the airline's 402Cs, according to the airline.

"Several recent engine abnormalities have led us to examine the wear-rate in one of the engine components," the airline said. "To eliminate any risk this could create, replacement parts will be installed in every airplane and we have brought in colleagues from the engine manufacturer and the FAA to support our effort."

Cape Air spokeswoman Michelle Haynes tells the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror the airline has already repaired five of its planes, and is making limited flights from Boston to Martha's Vineyard.

Other routes will be brought back online as the aircraft to fly them return to the fleet; the airline hopes to resume its full schedule next week.

The airline is working to arrange alternate travel for affected passengers, including busses and ferry tickets. Island Air is also honoring Cape Air tickets, so long as there's room on its planes.

According to the company's website, Cape Air carried over 650,000 passengers in 2006, making it the largest independent regional airline in the United States.

FMI: www.flycapeair.com

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