FAA Revisits Cessna Seat Track Hazard

A rash of seat track failures in the mid 1980s led to an FAA airworthiness directive (AD) on several Cessna models. Faulty latch mechanisms led to several accidents in which the seat slid back and the pilot lost control of the airplane. Now, the FAA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking that adds new steps to the required inspection process outlined in the original AD and adds some new steps, as well. Currently, Cessna models ranging from single-engine, two-place 150s to 300-series twins, including the centerline thrust, "push-pull" Model 337 are affected. If adopted, the new AD would supersede the AD 87-2003, though all the existing provisions would remain in place. The FAA estimates the cost of each inspection at $85. The cost to replace each seat rail is set at $395 and $280 to install a seat-roller kit. Miscellaneous parts and hardware could run another $100, according to the FAA. Comments are being accepted through Dec. 23 on Docket No. FAA-2010-1101. Send correspondence to Gary Park, Aerospace Engineer, ACE-118W, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Wichita, Kansas 67209.