FAA Proposes Citation X Elevator Replacement

 - April 14, 2010, 11:25 AM

The FAA is proposing a mandatory airworthiness directive (AD) for the Cessna Citation X elevator. It follows a mandatory service bulletin issued by Cessna last August based on reports of cracking and corrosion found on the elevator inboard-hinge brackets and the horizontal stabilizer hinges. The AD is to prevent the problem, which could result in structural failure of the elevators and consequent loss of control of the airplane.

“We found the hinge pins and brackets were corroding so we issued a service bulletin to inspect them but the determination was subsequently made to followed up with another service bulletin to replace the parts,” a spokesman for Cessna told AIN. “Unfortunately, what we found was you really can’t replace hinge pins, so the only solution is to replace the entire elevator. As a result, we issued a mandatory service bulletin to replace the elevators and the FAA is [subsequently] issuing the AD. We’ve worked closely with the FAA to put out this AD.”  

According to Cessna, U.S. operators are not required to comply with the factory mandatory service bulletin so the OEM is encouraging all Citation owners to do so. “The compliance rate has been high since we issued the service bulletin last August. While it isn’t mandatory here in the U.S., non-compliance would make selling the aircraft difficult. Additionally, compliance is mandatory in some countries.”

Cessna declined to make the service bulletin available for publication but said all Citation X operators have received it. The OEM will cover the cost of the replacement and the work must be accomplished at either a company-owned Citation Service Center or a third-party authorized Citation Service Center. While Cessna would not reveal the cost to the company to do the replacement for potentially more than 250 U.S.-registered Citations Xs, some sources estimate the total cost could exceed $4 million.