FAA allows pilots to conduct PA–28 fuel selector inspections

From AOPA News

The FAA has published a final rule that supersedes an airworthiness directive (AD) issued in January, and will allow owners of many Piper PA–28-series airplanes who hold at least a private pilot certificate to inspect their aircraft fuel-tank selector cover placards for proper positioning.

The new AD’s terms reflect the FAA’s consideration of AOPA's comments, and could save aircraft owners and pilots more than $763,000 in labor costs for the inspections, fleet-wide.

 

Since the AD was issued Jan. 23, its compliance deadline has been pushed back three times in response to successive alternative method of compliance (AMOC) requests from AOPA—first to allow for public comments to be reviewed, and now, to cover the time interval until the updated AD’s April 20 effective date.

 

Aircraft owners who elect to use AOPA’s global AMOC must first notify their appropriate principal inspector or manager of the local flight standards district office. After the AD’s April 20 effective date, aircraft owners can perform the initial inspection.

The AD arose “from a quality control issue that resulted in the installation of fuel tank selector covers with the placement of the left and right fuel tank selector placards installed in reverse,” according to the document, which adds that “the unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in fuel starvation and loss of engine power in flight.”

AOPA’s comments noted that “we are unware of any accidents or incidents that have occurred as a result of improper placards. Many of the affected fleet have been in operation for decades and the owner/operator has likely verified the accuracy of the fuel selector and corresponding tank through fuel gauge readings over hundreds, if not thousands of hours.”

In its favorable response, the FAA noted that since it issued the AD, “we have determined that the owner/operator (pilot) holding at least a private pilot certificate will be allowed to perform the preflight check of the fuel tank selector placards.”

The inspection check must be entered into the airplane records to show compliance with the AD. If the inspection reveals that the placards are not properly installed, a temporary placard must be installed before further flight, with a permanent corrected placard replacement accomplished within the next 100 hours time-in-service.

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