January 07, 2014
Credit: US Airways
FAA is giving Airbus A320-family operators as little as 48 months to weigh elevators or check maintenance records to ensure routine work—including painting—has not added too much weight to the structures.
The U.S. agency, following a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) mandate issued in October 2012, ordered the inspections in a Jan. 6 airworthiness directive.
“It has been identified that maintenance activities, such as repairs or the accumulation of paint layers, may cause the weight of an elevator to exceed the certified limits,” FAA says.
Elevators that have not undergone any work must be checked within 72 months of the directive’s Feb. 10 effective date. Elevators that have undergone work must be checked within 48 months. The timeframe mirrors that of EASA’s directive, which has a Nov. 2012 effective date.
FAA says its directive affects about 755 aircraft that may have elevators with work that pre-dates revises airworthiness limitations developed by Airbus in March 2010.
Following the updated limitations, later mandated by EASA, keeps elevators within certificated weight limits.US Airways, which has about 455 affected elevators, says it has been inspecting them since late 2012.
Airbus issued a service bulletin on the issue in August 2011.