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Safety Board Urges Inspections of Piper Planes for Wing Cracks

April 11, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board called Friday for the inspection of one of the most popular private planes being flown because of concern about cracking that could cause the wing to separate.

The warning covers the widely used Piper PA-28 series of single-engine propeller planes, of which more than 35,000 are used in everything from pleasure flying to pipeline inspections.

It was not known how many of the planes might be subject to the unusual fatigue cracking cited by the safety board, but a board spokesman said the warning is generally aimed at planes that have a record of high use.

Seeks FAA Action

The board, investigating the recent crash of a Piper PA-28 in Texas, urged the Federal Aviation Administration to require that the wing supports, or spars, of PA-28s--as well as other Piper planes with similar spars--be inspected as soon as possible.

FAA spokesman Bob Buckhorn said the recommendation was under review and is being "given first priority. As soon as the review is completed we'll act on it."

Safety board spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said the board is leaving it up to the FAA to determine specifically what aircraft in terms of flying time should be subject to inspections. The plane that crashed in Texas, killing the pilot, had 7,488 service hours.

Uses Many Model Names

The Piper PA-28 aircraft goes under the generic "Cherokee" name, in addition to such model names as the 140 series, the 180 series, Archer, Warrior, Dakota and Arrow.

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