JetStar Owners Face Serious Maintenance Issue

 - January 23, 2007, 10:06 AM

An upcoming standoff for parts could spell serious problems for Lockheed JetStar owners. Some operators report Lockheed Martin will soon revise the maintenance manual with life limits for wing attachment bolts, tail pivot fittings, flaps and nosewheel steering. While not yet mandated by an AD, repairs could cost each operator up to $300,000, or about one-third of the aircraft’s current hull value. Replacement parts apparently don’t exist yet, although Lockheed has a deal with a company to make them. But the parts company reportedly won’t build anything unless at least 20 owners agree to buy complete sets and pay a 50-percent deposit up front. Lockheed wants owners to decide by February 5. A few JetStar owners say Lockheed’s actions are unjustified since the parts in question have failed on only a few “improperly maintained” JetStars. Registry data shows 75 airworthy JetStars in the U.S., with others still flying elsewhere.