Back in December of last year, then club president Cloyd Van Hook received an email indicating that the FAA had airworthiness concerns on Beech Models 19, 23, 24 & 24R. The FAA’s concern centered on wing spar corrosion and a perception the FAA held that perhaps there was never sufficient compliance with an access panel installation SI. The lack of compliance with the access panel installation made proper spar inspections impossible.Tom Turner, a member of the American Bonanza Society, imminent flight instructor and author, alerted Cloyd to the problem when he got an email from Steve Potter of the FAA identifying the FAA’s concerns and a copy of an Airworthiness Concern Sheet. Tom advised Mr. Potter that the ABS had little to do with the baby Beeches but that he would forward the information to the Beech Aero Club.
When Cloyd got a copy of the email and the Airworthiness Concern Sheet, he immediately informed the BAC board of directors and began an effort to find out the reasons for the A.C.S. as well as to ascertain how BAC could help the FAA.
Cloyd emailed Mr. Potter of the FAA as well as Rob Hackman of AOPA. Mr. Hackman is manager of AOPA’s Government and Regulatory Affairs. Rob was very responsive and directed Cloyd to contact Hawker Beechcraft to seek the details and establish a channel of communications. One contact at Hawker Beechcraft, David Rowl, communicated with Cloyd indicating that he was not aware of any spar corrosion issues within the plane models identified in the ACS from the FAA.
Next, Cloyd spoke to Mr. Potter of the FAA. He characterized Mr. Potter’s comments as vague and missing of significant specifics. Furthermore, Mr. Potter indicated that until there was a proposed rule making he could not share any details. Mr. Potter did seem to convey the impression to Cloyd that the problem was not a “hot topic” at the FAA and further that Hawker Beechcraft did nothing to trigger the ACS.
From there, Cloyd again contacted David Rowl at Hawker Beechcraft. Mr. Rowl was not aware of the FAA’s ACS but did recommend Cloyd contact Hawker Beechcraft’s VP of Certification, David Bernstorf. Cloyd emailed Mr. Bernstorf of all the facts he knew and ended any further efforts. The decision was made that everything that could be done had been done at that point.
Then, after a considerable quiet spell, Cloyd got an email from Mr. Potter of the FAA on March 24, 2009 stating that the matter of wing spar corrosion would continue to be monitored on the Beech models 19, 23, 24, and 24R’s, but there would not be an Airworthiness Directive issued at this time.
So, fellow members thanks to Cloyd’s persistent efforts and his email campaign, we do not have what could have been a very costly AD issued on our planes! Well done Cloyd!