The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin for some Piper PA-31Ts and similar models, warning of a potential fire hazard in their floor-mounted circuit breaker panels. The SAIB, published earlier this month, is recommending that operators of PA-31T, PA-31T1, PA-31T2, PA-31T3, and PA-31P-350 aircraft inspect wiring conditions in the area for chafing or other damage. In addition, the bulletin recommends that reworking wiring be done to ensure wires and hydraulic lines are properly separated and electrical connections checked in the area using inspection and repair guidance from Advisory Circular 43.13B. Owners who find any issues during the inspections are asked to send details and photographs to the FAA.
The agency cited the July 29 crash of a Piper Cheyenne in California that killed all four on board after reports of smoke in the cockpit. The NTSB found signs of thermal damage in the fuselage of the aircraft, which was on a medical transport flight. The SAIB states that “reviews are ongoing” but so far the issue hasn’t resulted in an unsafe condition that warrants and Airworthiness Directive. Inspections of several PA-31T aircraft showed chafing between wires and hydraulic lines in the circuit breaker panel areas, which can lead to arcing and ignition of the flammable liquids, the FAA said. Courtesy of AVweb.