FAA Tells Cirrus Pilots to Pay Special Attention to Ailerons During Preflight

Simple maintenance fix could prevent an accident.

Cirrus SR-20
A Cirrus SR-20 similar to this one was involved in a near-fatal controllability accident in May 2018.Courtesy Scott Randell

The FAA's Chicago Aircraft Certification Branch posted an aviation maintenance update late Tuesday for both the Cirrus SR-20 and SR-22 resulting from the investigation into a near-fatal accident at Houston Executive Airport in Katy Texas in May of 2018.

The pilot of the Cirrus SR-20 involved in the accident reported shortly after takeoff, that he could not maintain roll control of the airplane as the airplane began to roll to the left. The pilot was able to counteract with right aileron input initially, but the airplane continued to roll to the left. The pilot continued to use right aileron and trim, lowered the nose, and executed a straight-in forced landing just beyond the departure end of the runway. The pilot received only minor injuries.

Examination of the airplane after the accident revealed that the left aileron actuation arm and attach bolt were missing with no associated impact damage. Further investigation indicated that the safety wire was missing from the actuation bolt.

Because the bolt is readily visible during a walk around inspection, the FAA is recommending that all owners and operators visually verify the presence of the required safety wire before further flight. If safety wire is not present, have a qualified maintenance provider correct the situation before further flight.

In addition, Cirrus aircraft will be updating their recommended pilot preflight walk around to better define the examination of the aileron area and the maintenance manuals to emphasize the requirement of proper safety wiring the associated hardware.