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Thu, May 06, 2010

FAA Issues SAIB For Some PA-28 And PA-44 Nose Gear Assemblies

Concerns Raised That Drag Bolt Might Fail

The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) regarding the potential failure of the nose gear drag link bolt on some Piper PA-28 and PA-44 airplanes. The bolt failure could case the landing gear to collapse.

The SAIB includes all PA-28R-180, PA-28R-200, PA-28R-201, PA-28R-201T, PA-28RT-201, PA-28RT-201T, PA-44-180, and PA-44-180T airplanes

This failure is due fatigue cracking at the midpoint of the bolt shank, initiating at multiple sites along the bolt circumference. This action causes the collapse of the nose gear.

This SAIB is a result of an accident on a Piper Model PA-44-180 airplane where the nose gear collapsed during landing. Post-accident investigation revealed that the nose gear drag link bolt fractured and dislodged from the drag link assembly, which resulted in gear collapse. The drag link bolt had been installed 441 hours time in service (TIS) prior to the failure.

The aircraft maintenance records indicated that the airplane was in compliance with AD 94-14-14, paragraph (a) which incorporated Nose Landing Gear Modification Kit, Piper part number 764-378. In addition, the airplane logbooks indicated that Piper Service Bulletin No. 1156 had been accomplished on this airplane on June 9, 2007. This airplane flew for 441 hours TIS of pilot training when the nose landing gear drag link bolt failed. Piper Service Bulletin No. 1156 calls out repetitive inspection/replacement every 500 hours TIS. The accident airplane is used in a 14 CFR part 141 flight school operations where higher than normal gear cycles are common.


PA-44 File Photo

While the FAA says that the condition does not warrant AD action at this time, it recommends that Piper Service Bulletin No. 1156, dated April 7, 2005, which recommends periodic replacement of nose gear drag link bolt, be incorporated in your maintenance routine. In addition, owners/operators with airplanes experiencing greater than normal gear cycles per flight hour or multiple gear cycles should reduce the compliance time of the initial and repetitive inspections/replacements to 400 hours TIS.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.piper.com

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