ECi Cylinder AD Could Cost Millions

** Continental TSIO-550-C engine**

As a result of multiple cases of cylinder head cracks and cylinder head-to-barrel separations related to cylinder assemblies supplied by Engine Components International (ECi) in Continental engines, the FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive that could cost aircraft owners big money.

The affected engines include Continental’s IO-520, TSIO-520, IO-550 and IOF-550 among others — engines common in airplanes such as the widely popular Beechcraft Bonanza, Cessna 210 and Cirrus SR22.

The AD would require initial and regular inspections, the replacement of cracked cylinders and shortened intervals for time-in-service replacements of certain Airmotive Engineering Corp. cylinder assemblies marketed by ECi.

The proposal suggests removing all cylinders under one grouping of serial numbers, Group A, within 25 operating hours after the AD goes into effect if the engine has less than 500 hours or more than 1,000 operating hours. The remaining cylinders, those under Group B, would have to be replaced within 25 hours if the cylinders have been used more than 1,000 hours. Repetitive visual inspections, compression tests and leak checks would be required for those cylinders that don’t initially fall under the required replacement rules.

Those wishing to submit comments regarding the proposed rule can do so until October 11.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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