CASA is requiring immediate inspections of Beechcraft Bonanza and Debonair aircraft after frayed flight control cables were discovered on a pair of planes.
In airworthiness directives issued this weekend, CASA ordered owners and operators of the four-seat aircraft to replace any damaged forward elevator control cables before further flight. The directives allow only a single flight to be undertaken with no passengers on board if moving the aircraft is necessary to allow for inspection.
CASA is also requiring operators of the aircraft to replace any control cables older than 15 years within 60 days.
The directive follows the discovery of a broken forward elevator cable by a pilot in Echuca in northern Victoria just before Christmas.
“The pilot was about to take off, moved the controls, it was his own aircraft, and felt that it didn’t feel quite right,” CASA spokesman Peter Gibson told ABC Radio. “He taxied back in, got out and had it checked and it was found that it was actually broken.”
This led another pilot operating the same aircraft at the same airfield to inspect his plane and discover the cable “very badly frayed,” Gibson said.
“It is a significant problem,” Gibson added, according to a transcript. “If the cable is broken, if it broke while the aircraft was in the air, basically you’d lose control of the aircraft.”
Gibson said the problem was likely a result of age. The aircraft began production in 1947, with many of those in service in Australia produced in the 1960s and 1970s.
Used largely as private planes, the Bonanza remains in production, making it the longest continuously produced aircraft in history. Some 17,000 of the planes have been built, with about 270 currently in service in Australia, Gibson said.