The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has lifted its grounding of the Dromader aircraft once owners comply with new wing inspection requirements.
The inspections, covered by a new airworthiness directive, follow a safety review of the type after the fatal October 24 crash of Rebel Air Dromader VH-TZJ while involved in aerial firefighting on the NSW south coast. The new requirements for maintenance inspections of wing components include regular inspections of wing attachment joints for corrosion or cracking, and come after the ATSB’s initial investigation into the accident found that the aircraft’s wing separated inflight as a result of fatigue cracking.
The timing of the inspections depends on how many hours the aircraft has flown, the directive stating a requirement for a visual inspection every 100 hours and the centre wing and outboard wings to be removed to allow better access for inspection of the wing attachment joints every 2,500 hours. An earlier requirement for inspection of attachment joints every 500 hours remains, but the wings do not need to be removed from the fuselage.
CASA said once Dromader operators have complied with the new inspection requirements their aircraft can resume operations.