Federal aviation regulators are directing carriers to inspect a popular model of bush plane before their next flight. In an airworthiness directive published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the Federal Aviation Administration says operators of De Havilland DHC-3 Otters must take a close look at a component that controls the horizontal portion of the plane’s tail.
Crash investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board called on the FAA to mandate the inspections last week. That’s after an investigation into a crash in Washington state indicated the horizontal stabilizer actuator, or jack screw, had come apart before an Otter plunged into Puget Sound. The FAA says it’s concerned other planes could have the same issue.
“This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in a reduction or loss of pitch control during flight with consequent loss of control of the airplane,” the FAA said in its airworthiness directive.
Under the FAA directive, operators are required to look closely at the actuator to ensure that a lock ring that prevents the component from coming apart is properly installed. The directive also requires operators to send the results of the inspection to the FAA.
“The FAA is issuing this AD because the agency has determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design,” the agency said.