The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Twin Commander 690s, 690As and 690Bs. It requires inspection for cracking of the outer fuselage attachments, the lower wing main spar, the vertical channels, the upper picture window channels, aft cabin pressure web, external wing-to-fuselage fillets and fasteners; repair or replacement of damaged parts as necessary; and modification of the structure with reinforced parts.
Maintenance and Modifications
News and issues about aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), covering all segments of the aviation industry; and modifications for aircraft and engines. Subjects include product support of aircraft, engines and avionics, MRO company mergers, acquisitions, announcements and personnel, Airworthiness Directives, Supplemental Type Certificate approvals and other topics.
In a Service Bulletin issued May 3, winglet manufacturer Aviation Partners (API) instructed operators with winglet-equipped 800-series Hawkers modified by STC#ST01411SE to reduce maximum permissible altitude to 34,000 feet. “Several instances of aileron/wing oscillations have been reported on the Hawker 800 [series],” the company said. “Aviation Partners and the FAA consider this Service Bulletin to be a safety-related limitation until a design change to preclude the oscillations is developed and FAA approved.”
Although the FAA has developed a risk-based assessment process for inspectors to identify areas of greatest concern at repair stations, the agency is emphasizing mandatory inspections and not high-risk areas, according to an audit conducted by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and issued on May 1.
The audit examined 27 randomly selected repair stations in the U.S., Brazil, China, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore that maintain aircraft operated by U.S. Part 121 air carriers.
Maximum Manuals of Carlsbad, Calif., has unveiled an automated online system that allows operators to create, purchase and receive minimum equipment list (MEL) and RVSM manuals in as few as two hours. Maximum Manuals has been developing the Smart Manual Process for the past two years and the system has been undergoing testing with operators that have submitted newly created manuals to FAA FSDOs for review. These manuals received positive feedback from FAA inspectors, according to the company.
Charter operator Fast Air, based in Winnipeg, Canada, did its first Halo 250 gross weight increase modification on a Beechcraft King Air 200 equipped for aeromedical transport. Fast Air also offers aircraft management, maintenance and consulting services. The Halo 250 mod adds 920 pounds of payload capacity by increasing the maximum takeoff weight to 13,420 pounds, up from 12,500.
The Halo 250 mod was developed by CenTex Aerospace of Waco, Texas, and FAA certification was granted last October after three years of effort.
Vector Aerospace has added a new 45,000-sq-ft office and hangar complex at its Andalusia, Ala., helicopter MRO facility. The added space doubles the size of Vector’s facility and will fit up to 20 aircraft concurrently, according to the company, as well as facilitate implementation of lean manufacturing processes that will reduce turn-around time for customers. Vector plans to expand the Andalusia workforce to 170 employees from the current 140.
In a letter to two members of the European Parliament, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) welcomed the members’ inquiries to the European Commission “concerning anti-competitive practices negatively impacting the aviation maintenance industry.” Arsa reiterated its ongoing concerns about design approval holders withholding instructions for continued airworthiness (ICAs).
Superior Air Parts has hired Jalil Jatip as director of quality assurance, responsible for in-house production and quality assurance and quality control of the global supplier network and Superior’s Beijing facility.
Bell Helicopter held two maintainers and operators conferences in China at the end of April, in Beijing and Shanghai. The conferences helped Chinese operators learn more about Bell customer support and service enhancements and safety improvements and enabled discussion of technical issues. “We were pleased with the turnout at both locations,” said Chris Jaran, managing director, China. “It was apparent that our Chinese customers are focused on maintaining their Bell Helicopter products at the highest level.”
Bombardier is expanding maintenance capacity at its Tucson, Ariz., service center for its Q400 and Q400 NextGen twin turboprops. The airframer has added three additional lines of maintenance staff in southwestern U.S. facility, supplementing capacity already available to regional airline customers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Macon, Ga.