Belt It Out

21 years after the AD, illegal seatbelts still show up


The following information is derived from the FAAs Service Difficulty Reports and Aviation Maintenance Alerts. Click here to view “Airworthiness Directives.”


Mechanics participating in the FAAs Service Difficulty Reporting Program have filed a number of reports that aircraft are still flying with improper seat belts.The belts, manufactured by Indiana Mills and Manufacturing, are subject to an AD issued in 1979 because they failed to meet specifications outlined by the technical standards order governing seat belts. Although the AD required the seat belts to be removed within 120 days of the effective date of the AD, mechanics are still finding them in airplanes.One mechanic said he has found three airplanes in the past six months that came in for annual inspections with the illegal seat belts.One reason the seat belts may still be installed is that the AD is listed in the Appliance section of the AD list.

Aeronca 7AC Champ
Defective Wheel

While complying with the requirements of AD 48-08-02, the technician discovered a defective wheel assembly.The technician found a crack in the wheel bead radius of the inner wheel half. The crack extended around approximately 90 percent of the wheel diameter.An external inspection may not reveal defects and cracks, and the AD requires removal of the tires for inspection.

Beech C-24R Musketeer
In-Flight Engine Power Degradation

During an instructional flight, the engine performance deteriorated and the pilot made an immediate landing.A test showed the engine did not develop full power. The technician removed the air filter element and discovered the alternate air door had broken loose from its hinge. The alternate air door plate lodged in the fuel servo intake and obstructed airflow to the induction system.This aircraft had undergone a scheduled inspection 81 hours earlier. Part total time – 3,008 hours.

Beech 58P Baron
Air-Conditioner Missing Hardware

During a visual inspection of the left engine, the technician discovered a nut missing from the freon compressor bracket assembly.The missing nut secures the idler sheave arm retaining bolt. The sheave assembly was held on the compressor bracket by belt tension and was in imminent danger of failure. After removing the bolt, the technician determined it was serviceable and re-installed it with a new nut and washer. He speculated the nut had been installed several times and vibrated off the bolt due to failure of the locking device.

Beech B60 Duke
Horizontal Stabilizer Security

During an annual inspection, the technician discovered the horizontal stabilizer made a creaking sound when he applied hand pressure at the tip.Investigating further, the technician noticed movement at the aft attachment fitting on both sides of the horizontal stabilizer. He removed the bolts, which were not tight, from the close-tolerance holes in the fitting and discovered they were too short for this installation. The manufacturers technical data, as well as the measured hole depth, indicates these bolts should have been four sizes longer. It appeared these bolts were installed as original equipment when the aircraft was manufactured.Part total time – 1,629 hours.

Beech B200 King Air
Defective Landing Gear Rigging

While conducting a training flight, the crew simulated an engine out with the landing gear extended. During this scenario, the landing gear was retracted, and the crew noticed the hydraulic pump operated an unusually long period of time.After a safe landing, a technician inspected the aircraft and found the left main gear inboard door edge bent and distorted. Further investigation revealed the landing gear door was not properly rigged. He speculated the yaw condition imposed on the aircraft during flight and the overcenter condition of the gear door rigging allowed contact between the wheel assembly and the door edge when the gear was retracted. The landing gear doors may have been rigged improperly during a previous inspection.Part total time – 5,434 hours.

Cessna 172R Skyhawk
Rudder Pedal Defect

During a scheduled inspection, the technician discovered the copilots left rudder pedal was excessively loose.The rudder pedal looseness was traced to the dual brake tube, where the bearing was missing. It was apparent the bearing was not installed when the aircraft was manufactured. The submitter stated this is the second time he has found this type of defect.Part total time – 1,398 hours.

Cessna 172S Skyhawk
Defective Fuel Quantity System

The pilot reported that during flight, the left fuel quantity indicator went to empty, and the left low fuel annunciator light illuminated.While investigating this incident, a technician determined the fuel quantity transmitter was inoperative. When the technician removed the transmitter, he discovered the float and the retainer washer missing from the float arm. He stated the transmitter was incorrectly manufactured. The wire arm running through the float was not crimped on either side of the float. After opening the fuel tank and retrieving the float and retainer washer, he discovered the left and right fuel quantity transmitters were switched during installation. The left transmitter was in the right tank, and the right transmitter was in the left tank. He replaced both fuel quantity transmitters, and the system functioned properly during a test.Aircraft total time – 768 hours.

Cessna 182F Skylane
Empennage Structural Defect

In the process of an annual inspection, a technician found a crack in an empennage bulkhead.The bulkhead was cracked at a cutout for the left rudder cable. The technician also found a crack at the hole for the tail tiedown loop. The damage may have been due to a tail strike, improper ground movement of the aircraft or wind damage.Part total time – 4,039 hours.

Cessna 205
Fuel Injection Pump Leak

After flight, the pilot noticed fuel dripping from the left cowl flap opening. The fuel was coming from an engine drain line attached to the fuel injection pump. He placed the fuel selector valve in the off position, and the leak stopped. This indicated the fuel leaked only under pressure. During a test, however, the injection pump drain did not leak, and the engine operated properly. The Service Difficulty Reporting Program database contains nine additional reported pump failures on Cessna 185, 210, and 310-series aircraft; Beech 33-series aircraft; and a Gulfstream 500A-series aircraft. Several of the reports listed serious degradation of engine operation as a result of the pump failures.Part total time – 46 hours.

Cessna P206C Super Skylane
Engine Control Failure

As the pilot reduced engine power to begin a descent, the throttle control broke and the pilot glided to an off-airport landing.The throttle cable had broken above the cable support bracket, possibly because improper hardware was used to install the support bracket. The improper hardware caused the support bracket to flex when the throttle and mixture controls were operated.Part total time – 126 hours.

Cessna 401 and 402
Fuel Transfer Pump Failures

A technician submitted four reports of tiptank fuel transfer pump failure.According to these reports, the transfer pumps fail with less than 300 operating hours. In addition to these four reports, the FAA Service Difficulty Reporting Program database contains another 15 reported failures in Cessna 310, 340, and 421-series aircraft. This fuel pump may also be used on other makes and models of aircraft. One of the pumps failed after only 16 hours of operation and the highest operating hours before failure was 368.

Piper PA 30 Twin Comanche
Main Landing Gear Structural Failure

During a landing approach, the pilot could not extend the right main landing gear. All attempts to extend the gear failed, and the pilot landed the aircraft with the gear in the up position.While recovering the aircraft from the runway, a maintenance technician had to pry the right main gear out of the wheel well. When the gear was extended, he discovered the aft supporting portion of the gear trunnion housing broken. When the housing broke, the wheel assembly shifted and jammed in the wheel well.

Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain
Hydraulic System Defect

The pilot reported the landing gear would not extend normally but did extend using the emergency gear extension system.A technician noticed hydraulic fluid leaking from the left engine compartment. While searching for the hydraulic leak source, he found the fluid coming from the area of the hydraulic filter in the left engine compartment. After removing the filter, he discovered a crack in the filter housing threads. The housing threads, used to attach the filter, were cracked completely through and allowed hydraulic fluid to escape. The crack may have been caused by overtorquing on the filter.

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca
Engine Exhaust System Defect

After a flight, the pilot stated he experienced split throttles and was unable to obtain full power on the left engine.The technician inspected the left engine and discovered the exhaust system Y-duct assembly cracked adjacent to the turbocharger. The engine had been a factory reman.Part total time – 78 hours.

Piper PA-44-180 Seminole
Fuel Leak

During a preflight inspection, the pilot noticed a fuel leak.A technician found fuel dripping from the right wing nacelle aft of the engine. He discovered the bladder tank outlet nipple cracked where it exited the fuel tank, causing a hole. The submitter stated the fuel line attached to the nipple was not adequately supported, which allowed engine vibrations to work-harden the nipple until it cracked.Part total time – 610 hours.

Piper PA-42-1000 Cheyenne
Defective Main Landing Gear

While attempting to land, the pilot could not attain a down-and-locked indication for the right main gear. The landing gear appeared to be down; however, it slowly collapsed after landing.A technician found a broken right main gear actuator rod-end. This failure effectively disabled both the normal and emergency landing gear extension systems. The rod-end broke into two pieces, allowing the bearing to separate.Part total time – 4,083 hours.


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