Jabiru-powered aircraft will operate without restriction for at least another week after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) extended the consultation period for proposed operational limitations on the manufacturer’s engines.
CASA says it is continuing to learn more about the why there have been an increasing number of incidents from aircraft fitted with Jabiru engines.
On November 13, CASA in a consultation draft proposed limiting the use of Jabiru-powered aircraft to daylight hours and away from populated areas. Moreover, Jabiru-powered aircraft would be prohibited from carrying passengers and not allowed to conduct student/trainee solo flights.
The regulator said there have been 40 identified incidents of Jabiru engine problems in 2014, ranging “from full and partial power loss and inflight engine shutdowns to rough running and oil leaks”.
“Fortunately, none of these events resulted in death or injury, although many certainly could have had potentially catastrophic consequences,” CASA said in a statement on Thursday.
“Mechanical problems identified by Jabiru include through bolt, valve, cylinder and fly-wheel bolt failures. CASA is endeavouring to learn more about why these engine-related issues have arisen and to identify the causes and contributing factors. Causes may relate to the design and manufacturing process, operational conditions, engine maintenance or a mix of these factors.”
The consultation period was previously due to conclude on Thursday November 20. However, submissions from interested parties will now be accepted until November 27.
CASA said it was continuing to work co-operatively with Jabiru on the matter.
Bundaberg-based Jabiru makes four-cylinder 2200cc and six-cylinder 3300cc aircraft engines. Figures from CASA indicated about 1,100 aircraft in Australia were fitted with Jabiru engines.
Jabiru representatives met with CASA in Canberra last Friday in what the company said was a “lengthy and fruitful discussion”.
“Jabiru has already put in place a range of reforms and is demonstrating to CASA clear willingness to improve engine reliability,” the company said in a statement on November 14.
Industry group Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus) had said previously it acknowledged the engine failures associated with Jabiru engines and would be working with both the regulator and the company to discuss the impact of the proposed operating limitations on aircraft owners, flight training facilities and maintainers.
“It would appear the proposed actions by CASA are disproportionate to the risks faced by owners and operators,” RA-Aus said in a statement posted on the Recreational Flying website.