Errant Ailerons

7,500 Mooneys need inspection for cracked aileron control link


The pilot of an M20J noticed sloppy aileron response and observed the right aileron vibrating and not responding to control inputs. The pilot landed safely.

Technicians found the right control link rod assembly had cracked at a factory weld and then through the tubing weld. The break along the weld showed signs of age, while the break in the tubing looked more recent.

There was no indication that the ailerons had been subject to abuse, and the technician noticed that the replacement part was identical except that reinforcing gussets had been added at both 90-degree corners in the link.

Another incident, also in an M20J, had the same characteristics, leading the FAA to issue AD 98-24-11, which requires either that links with reinforcing gussets be installed or that the links be inspected for cracks periodically.

The FAA estimates that about 7,500 airplanes are affected by the AD, which applies to nearly all Mooneys.

If a reinforcing gusset is not installed, a magnetic particle inspection must be completed every 100 hours time in service. Installing the reinforced links is a terminating action for the AD.

American Champion 8KCAB Citabria
Oil loss during flight

After flying about 1 hour, half of which involved aerobatic flight, the operator discovered the engine had lost four quarts of oil.Maintenance personnel determined that the engine oil dipstick had vibrated loose during flight. The dipstick was not defective, leading them to conclude the operator had not properly secured it before flight.Part total time – 544 hours.

Beech S-35 Bonanza
Brake disk wear

A modified wheel brake system approved by STC was installed on the airplane. During an inspection, technicians noted that the stainless steel brake disks had worn far below their allowable minimum thickness.Part total time – 802 hours.

Beech 36 Bonanza and 58 Baron
Nose gear hardware security

The FAA reports that several recent landing gear problems in Beech airplanes warrant attention.Inspections of the nose gear of model 36 Bonanzas and model 58 Barons have revealed numerous loose nuts and, in one case, the bolt head had separated from the shank.In one instance, the problem resulted in a landing accident because the nose gear was not down and locked. In that case, the bolts and nuts that connect the aft drag brace to the nose gear were missing.

Beech E,F,H,C-90 King Air
Flight control cable interference

Several King Air operators have reported interference between the elevator down-control cable and the pneumatic ducts. The interference has allowed the parts to chafe, and the resulting defects have ranged from a few broken cable strands to complete cable failure. In one case the cable failed after chafing against a stainless steel clamp used to hold a pneumatic duct joint.Beech has issued Safety Communique No. 143 that outlines procedures for detecting the interference. The suspect area is under the floorboards between fuselage stations 116.0 and 147.6.

Cessna 182N Skylane
Throttle control defect

During an operational test, the throttle stuck at the full power position.Mechanics discovered that the open stop on the carburetor and the throttle stop arm were severely worn, causing the power enrichment lever to push the air metering pin too far. The pin broke and the pieces became jammed between the lever and the air metering jet.Part time since overhaul – 288 hours.

Cessna 340A
Alternator/engine failure

The pilot reported that the left alternator failed during flight, followed shortly by the failure of the left engine.After a safe single-engine landing, mechanics determined that the alternator drive clamp had failed. Broken metal parts were ingested into the oil system, blocking the oil pump inlet screen and depriving the engine of oil.The alternator drive shaft apparently failed due to lack of lubrication.Part total time – 900 hours.

Grumman American AA-5
Propeller spinner cracks

After removing the propeller to install a new alternator belt, technicians discovered that the backing plate on the spinner was cracked.The crack was outside of the mounting holes and had progressed around 320 degrees of the circumference of the backing plate. This problem cannot be seen without removing the propeller and the spacer.Part total time – 3,268 hours.

Mooney M20F
Landing gear actuator failure

The pilot was unable to extend the landing gear electrically and the manual extension procedure also failed. The airplane was landed wheels-up.Technicians discovered that the actuators pinion gear had worn beyond limits, allowing the pinion and drive gear to slip under load. The condition made it impossible to lower the landing gear. The aircraft had undergone compliance with AD 75-23-04, which included servicing the pinion gear, only 33 hours before the incident.Part total time – 2,804 hours.

Mooney M20F
Fuel leak

The pilot noticed fuel dripping from the right side of the engine cowling.Inspection of the engine compartment did not reveal any discrepancies until the fuel system was pressurized. At that point, a spray of fuel came from a tiny hole in the fuel line that leads to the cockpit pressure gauge, between the fuel control and the firewall.The fuel was spraying directly on the engine exhaust pipe, creating the potential for in-flight fire.

Piper J3 Cub
Shoulder harness limitation

When the shoulder harness is installed in accordance with STC SA1581GL, it prevents a pilot soloing from the rear seat from operating either the carb heat handle or the fuel shutoff valve.

Teledyne Continental GO 300 engine
Piston cracks

During an annual inspection of a Cessna 175A, an engine compression test showed three cylinders below acceptable limits.The three bad cylinders were removed. Broken rings were found on two and an exhaust valve was burned on the other. All three pistons were cracked. The three remaining pistons were pulled. Two of them were also cracked.The cracks appear to have originated at the oil return holes under the ring.Part total time – 680 hours.

Textron Lycoming IO-360-A1B6D
Crankcase crack

The pilot reported a large oil leak coming from the left side of the cowling.The engine crankcase was found cracked one inch below the No. 2 cylinder flange. The crack followed the lower circumference of the cylinder for about 5 inches.Part total time – 1,300 hours.

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