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Proposed AD for PA-28 wing spars

Peter wrote:

The Piper build quality and design are terrible though. Steel wing attachment brackets which corrode…

That’s a bold statement of exaggeration imho.

30.000+ PA28 built, many flying after 50+ years with tens of thousands of hours. The build quality/design is perfectly fine, especially considering the abuse these planes experienced over the course of decades.





Smooth
LOXX, Austria

I also resemble that remark :) my forty four year young PA28 passed all recent inspections with zero corrosion despite living a fair amount of time outside in the inclement British climate. It will live in a hangar from now on.

The Comanche and Aztec took construction quality to a higher level, having received very good corrosion protection at manufacture.

Oxford (EGTK)

The parts that @Peter refer to are the front and rear wing attach points which are made of steel. These can rust and either pop the rivets out or cause galvanic corrosion with the surrounding aluminium. Not a great design IMO but it does obviously work well enough.

I’m doing my PPL at the moment and the school has two Warrior 3s, one is 1997 and the other is 2010 (newest Warrior in the UK!), both are hangared and both are maintained properly, no equipment on the airframes is left inop (in complete contrast to every other school PA28 I’ve seen, which is quite a few). It’s nice to be flying newer aircraft but that’s exceedingly rare here and the vast majority of the Piper fleet in the UK is at least 30-40 years old, and the entire GA fleet in general seems to primarily be of 1970s-80s manufacture. The only new aircraft I see, besides the odd Cirrus, are microlights.

These are lightweight structures and many of them are maintained to the bare minimum requirements, so surely we’re going to be reaching a point soon that many of these airframes will just be worn out? I’ve noticed wing spar, wing strut and other structural ADs cropping up on a number of types in recent years as well.

United Kingdom

Snoopy wrote:

many flying after 50+ years with tens of thousands of hours

Until they don’t. Fatigue will set in sooner or later, sadly.

ESME, ESMS

Dimme wrote:

Until they don’t. Fatigue will set in sooner or later, sadly.

Obviously. The design however has been more than proven by that time.

Smooth
LOXX, Austria

If a significant number of airplanes of a certain make and model has been flying flawlessly for 50 years, that proves just that.

They all might fail and crash during year 51 ± some standard deviation. We don’t know when that will happen until it starts happening.

E.g., that’s why for your backups, you should not use the same brand and model of drives. They all might fail at once.

Last Edited by Dimme at 10 Jun 13:00
ESME, ESMS

Dimme wrote:

E.g., that’s why for your backups, you should not use the same brand and model of drives. They all might fail at once.

Which happened to the e-mail system at Gothenburg university last year. (It’s much more to the story, of course.)

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

New wings and wing fittings are not impossible to produce. Maintain your stuff, keep it nice, and then it won’t become so degraded that you or a subsequent owner won’t want to maintain it further.

I think with PA28s and other types that are primarily used for flying schools (talking UK here, I don’t know about elsewhere) it’s going to accelerate the problem as schools tend to do the bare minimum to scrape through annuals. My previous school leased aircraft from a place which is pretty notorious for dodgy Mx, and much of the fleet were aircraft that have been assembled from scrap. One of the PA28s I flew was so badly out of rig that you couldn’t trim it to fly straight. Another had a misrigged nose wheel that encouraged runway excursions on landing, and another one flew straight and well but the altimeter sub scale was broken (you had to set the qnh on the second altimeter then match the two up) and the stabiliator control had a “klunk” half way through its travel.

It’s good news for owners of nice PA28s though as the prices are only going up for good examples.

United Kingdom

The last 20 or so years has been an amazing time for people buying used light aircraft, lots of supply, prices often decreasing in real terms. However its right that fleets/schools etc have been using up the inventory and making money (or at least surviving) in doing so, that’s how markets work, and as a result the ‘golden age’ of availability and price for individual buyers may not last forever. I think people like our fellow board participants buying up nice examples of good and popular types for their own relatively low utilization service are probably smart to do so.

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