Thu, May 06, 2010
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
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
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.
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