‘Improper Installation’

There's a new airworthiness directive on Continental crankshafts built recently at the factory.


The FAA on February 23, 2023 published a new, final airworthiness directive (AD 2023–04–08) highlighting a problem with new Continental engines manufactured between June 1, 2021, and Feb. 7, 2023. According to the agency, “The manufacturer has notified the FAA that 2,176 crankshaft assemblies are subject to the unsafe condition. The FAA estimates that of those 2,176 crankshaft assemblies, 1,632 are installed on aircraft of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates that 544 engines will need to remove one cylinder, 544 engines will need to remove two cylinders, and 544 engines will need to remove three cylinders for compliance with this AD.”

The new AD is based on Continental’s Mandatory Service Bulletin MSB23–01, Revision A, dated February 16, 2023. According to the bulletin, “It is possible one or more counterweight retaining rings were not properly seated in the crankshaft counterweight groove. This condition could allow the counterweight to depart from the crankshaft during engine operation resulting in catastrophic engine damage.”

The 44-page MSB includes detailed instructions on how to perform the inspection if necessary, as excerpted at right. It also lists affected crankshafts and engines by serial number and only applies to engines/crankshafts with less than 200 hours of operation. (Apparently this has happened before and someone knows from experience that the engine will fail by 200 hours when the retaining rings are installed incorrectly.)

The new AD was telegraphed a few days before the MSB hit the streets when Cirrus announced its newer SR22 piston airplanes should not be flown until further notice. “Cirrus Aircraft has been informed by Continental Aerospace Technologies (Continental) of an issue that affects engines that power both Cirrus Aircraft’s SR22 and SR22T models,” the company said in a statement on February 9, according to online sister publication AVweb.com.

FAASTeam Targets Transition Training

A newly published safety enhancement topic from the FAA’s FAASTeam and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) focuses on transition training for GA pilots when moving between types. “The lack of transition training has been cited as a causal factor in many GA accidents. Accidents frequently result from pilots being unprepared for challenges presented by the new, or different, aircraft they are flying. Even when pilots are legally certificated to operate aircraft within a specific category and class, significant differences can exist among different types of aircraft within that category and class—thus necessitating the need for effective transition training,” the new publication states.

According to the publication, “the first 50 to 100 hours in a new aircraft type are particularly dangerous, especially when a formal transition training program isn’t followed.” Such a program has three main elements, according to the FAASTeam and GAJSC:

• Hit the books, especially focusing on the new airplane’s systems, speeds and limitations;

• Train with at least one qualified instructor with experience in the type;

• And practice, practice, practice. Simulators are available to practice the avionics system in a glass cockpit. Once in the airplane, be sure to practice slow-speed maneuvering at altitude. Once you’re comfortable, seek regular refresher training,


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