The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has extended required main landing-gear checks to cover all variants and weights of Airbus A330/A340 aircraft more than five years old. The new rule requires indefinitely repetitive inspections following last year’s discovery of an unexplained crack in an A330 MLG Rib 6 aft-bearing forward lug. New emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) 2007-0247 R1-E (superseding EAD 2006-0364-E) mandates checks on the whole fleet, adding a flight-hour threshold to previous flight-cycle and age thresholds.
Airbus said that if the problem does not recur in two years the authority might relax the requirement. The crack, noticed visually on a long-range aircraft with no record of high-overload events, extended completely through the lug, which is a main MLG attachment point. Airbus said introduction of high-interference fit bushes in the lug or even replacement of the entire Rib 6 fitting would not obviate the need for continued repetitive inspection. According to variant, the EAD requires repetitive inspections at 100 to 300 flight cycles or 400 to 1,500 flight-hour intervals (whichever comes first).