Bell crank FAILURE

Last Friday, while flying from MVY to BDR, I noticed a lack of authority in the rudder before touchdown. I asked my mechanic to look the plane (SR22 # 46) over and he found the bell crank had broken. Effectively I was flying with out rudder pedals (control). The electric trim worked due to the air pressure over the control surface of the trim tab but manual control was lost.

When the factory was contacted, Friday afternoon, they expressed immediate concern and shipped a whole new rudder assembly out. They wanted to see exactly what had failed and how it might have been prevented. I was told that I had the first failure of this type. I was very happy with the response.

The new assembly arrived as promised and inspection revealed the following. First, the existing bell crank design was totally inadequate. Second, the new bell crank was different and looked materially stronger. Both parts had the same number and version. The new rudder was made July 26th, the old one was made April something. Other than the date of manufacture the only way to differentiate between them was a visual inspection.

I WOULD URGE ALL OWNERS TO INSPECT THEIR PLANES. The ineffective part was made in two pieces. The top piece held up well but the bottom piece was tapered and deeply scalloped so that even though there were four bolts holding the assembly together, only one bolt was taking the entire load. Combine the small surface with a thin piece of aluminum and you get a broken bracket.

This failure occurred at approximately 35 hours. I donÂ’t know if the SR 20Â’s have the same assembly. Obviously there are a lot of SRXXÂ’s out there with a whole lot more hours on them than 32MG. I donÂ’t understand how I could have the first failure and why the bell crank was changed to correct an inadequate design.

Again, the factory response was excellent. Needless to say, my preflight inspection has a new item on the list :wink:

Last Friday, while flying from MVY to BDR, I noticed a lack of authority in the rudder before touchdown. I asked my mechanic to look the plane (SR22 # 46) over and he found the bell crank had broken. Effectively I was flying with out rudder pedals (control). The electric trim worked due to the air pressure over the control surface of the trim tab but manual control was lost.

Isn’t this an incident which must be reported to the NTSB?

Myron,

Any advice on where/what to look for and how to see it? One of the plugs on the rear of the Fuselage below the elevators? But can you see it well enough?

Mine is probably affected as it was an early May delivery and has about 40 hours on it. Until the factory makes a determination on it I will preflight that also.

Roger
N706CD

Again, the factory response was excellent. Needless to say, my preflight inspection has a new item on the list :wink:

I WOULD URGE ALL OWNERS TO INSPECT THEIR PLANES.

I’m glad you and your plane are OK Myron. Had it been the elevator, you might have had a chance to test the parachute.

I agree with you and the posts below that this needs some serious investigation - fleet wide if deemed necessary.

Steve

I think Cirrus should inspect the whole fleet.God forbid one was at a high airspeed and the rudder bellcrank let loose. That rudder could get a serious flutter and those forces can rip a tail clean off.That is the worse scenerio. -j

Yes, this incident must be reported. Yours is #1 on the list! Here’s the applicable section from the AIM: (emphasis mine)
Joe

7-6-2. Aircraft Accident and Incident Reporting
a. Occurrences Requiring Notification. The operator of an aircraft shall immediately, and by the most expeditious means available, notify the nearest National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Field Office when:

  1. An aircraft accident or any of the following listed incidents occur:
    (a) Flight control system malfunction or failure.

(b) Inability of any required flight crew member to perform their normal flight duties as a result of injury or illness.

© Failure of structural components of a turbine engine excluding compressor and turbine blades and vanes.

(d) Inflight fire.

(e) Aircraft collide in flight.

(f) Damage to property, other than the aircraft, estimated to exceed $25,000 for repair (including materials and labor) or fair market value in the event of total loss, whichever is less.

(g) For large multi-engine aircraft (more than 12,500 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight):

(1) Inflight failure of electrical systems which requires the sustained use of an emergency bus powered by a back-up source such as a battery, auxiliary power unit, or air-driven generator to retain flight control or essential instruments;

(2) Inflight failure of hydraulic systems that results in sustained reliance on the sole remaining hydraulic or mechanical system for movement of flight control surfaces;

(3) Sustained loss of the power or thrust produced by two or more engines; and

(4) An evacuation of aircraft in which an emergency egress system is utilized.

  1. An aircraft is overdue and is believed to have been involved in an accident.

b. Manner of Notification.

  1. The most expeditious method of notification to the NTSB by the operator will be determined by the circumstances existing at that time. The NTSB has advised that any of the following would be considered examples of the type of notification that would be acceptable:

(a) Direct telephone notification.

(b) Telegraphic notification.

© Notification to the FAA who would in turn notify the NTSB by direct communication; i.e., dispatch or telephone.

c. Items To Be Notified. The notification required above shall contain the following information, if available:

  1. Type, nationality, and registration marks of the aircraft.

  2. Name of owner and operator of the aircraft.

  3. Name of the pilot-in-command.

  4. Date and time of the accident, or incident.

  5. Last point of departure, and point of intended landing of the aircraft.

  6. Position of the aircraft with reference to some easily defined geographical point.

  7. Number of persons aboard, number killed, and number seriously injured.

  8. Nature of the accident, or incident, the weather, and the extent of damage to the aircraft so far as is known; and

  9. A description of any explosives, radioactive materials, or other dangerous articles carried.

d. Follow-up Reports.

  1. The operator shall file a report on NTSB Form 6120.1 or 6120.2, available from NTSB Field Offices or from the NTSB, Washington, DC, 20594:

(a) Within 10 days after an accident;

(b) When, after 7 days, an overdue aircraft is still missing;

© A report on an incident for which notification is required as described in subparagraph a(1) shall be filed only as requested by an authorized representative of the NTSB.

  1. Each crewmember, if physically able at the time the report is submitted, shall attach a statement setting forth the facts, conditions and circumstances relating to the accident or incident as they appeared. If the crewmember is incapacitated, a statement shall be submitted as soon as physically possible.

e. Where To File the Reports.

  1. The operator of an aircraft shall file with the NTSB Field Office nearest the accident or incident any report required by this section.

  2. The NTSB Field Offices are listed under U.S. Government in the telephone directories in the following cities: Anchorage, AK; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Forth Worth, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Parsippany, NJ; Seattle, WA.

Last Friday, while flying from MVY to BDR, I noticed a lack of authority in the rudder before touchdown. I asked my mechanic to look the plane (SR22 # 46) over and he found the bell crank had broken. Effectively I was flying with out rudder pedals (control). The electric trim worked due to the air pressure over the control surface of the trim tab but manual control was lost.

Isn’t this an incident which must be reported to the NTSB?

After thinking about this for a bit, this is indeed a very serious matter – like ground-the-fleet-emergency-AD type serious, for starters, and revoked production certificate serious perhaps. And two obviously different parts with the same part number and version doesn’t sound kosher to me, either.

One thing you don’t want to mess with is control problems. Remember the stuck aileron fatality?

I’m surprised this hasn’t generated more discussion here. Everyone must be sleeping off Oshkosh!

Joe

Yes, this incident must be reported. Yours is #1 on the list! Here’s the applicable section from the AIM: (emphasis mine)

Joe

I totally agree with you and have passed that along to several regarding the establishment of an owners association. This is an URGENT situation.

If I had my plane now I’d be out there looking at it and wondering why an active action wasn’t being undertaken immediately.

After thinking about this for a bit, this is indeed a very serious matter – like ground-the-fleet-emergency-AD type serious, for starters, and revoked production certificate serious perhaps. And two obviously different parts with the same part number and version doesn’t sound kosher to me, either.

One thing you don’t want to mess with is control problems. Remember the stuck aileron fatality?

I’m surprised this hasn’t generated more discussion here. Everyone must be sleeping off Oshkosh!

Joe

Yes, this incident must be reported. Yours is #1 on the list! Here’s the applicable section from the AIM: (emphasis mine)

Joe

I think we’re getting a little too excited now. Let’s all settle down. Sounds like Cirrus is trying to get to the bottom of it without a lot of “help” from the government.

After thinking about this for a bit, this is indeed a very serious matter – like ground-the-fleet-emergency-AD type serious, for starters, and revoked production certificate serious perhaps.

I totally agree with you and have passed that along to several regarding the establishment of an owners association. This is an URGENT situation.

If I had my plane now I’d be out there looking at it and wondering why an active action wasn’t being undertaken immediately.

After thinking about this for a bit, this is indeed a very serious matter – like ground-the-fleet-emergency-AD type serious, for starters, and revoked production certificate serious perhaps. And two obviously different parts with the same part number and version doesn’t sound kosher to me, either.

One thing you don’t want to mess with is control problems. Remember the stuck aileron fatality?

I’m surprised this hasn’t generated more discussion here. Everyone must be sleeping off Oshkosh!

Joe

Yes, this incident must be reported. Yours is #1 on the list! Here’s the applicable section from the AIM: (emphasis mine)

Joe

Is this thesame desing on the SR20? probably

I agree that FAA “help” is often heavy-handed and of doubtful utility, but in the case of control system problems, I think prompt action is warranted. Has Cirrus warned you yet of this incident? No; and neither will the FAA unless and until it is reported.

Joe

I think we’re getting a little too excited now. Let’s all settle down. Sounds like Cirrus is trying to get to the bottom of it without a lot of “help” from the government.