I’ll preface the following comments by saying that all new aircraft designs have had teething problems and I know that CD is devoting the best of intentions and best of efforts to solving these things as they come up. Moreover, in the modified Cessna 182 which I bought recently I had the same crankshaft problem as the Illinois sr20–thankfully it was caught before I enjoyed the experience of becoming a 2900 lb glider at 11,500 feet over Sonora Pass–but nearly 7 weeks after diagnosis this “Fools Gold Medallion Engine” is STILL not back from TCM!
Why is there a seeming profusion of problems like this in GA, and why does the GA marketplace tolerate it? These planes are not nearly so technologically sophisticated as modern automobiles, yet any new auto design or auto component that had similar problems would be hooted out of the place or disappear from the market in short order.
The AD/Service Bulletin list for the new post-1997 Cessnas is as thick as “Crime and Punishment”–and many owners must themselves feel like the characters in that work.
I have heard more than one Malibu owner joke that they have their A&P meet them on the ramp right after landing.
Can you imagine the uproar and consequences that would ensue if a major automotive engine manufacturer had the kind of problems TCM is experiencing lately? I doubt they would be in business very long. Granted TCM is doing the best they can to make things right, but in the automotive industry with its quality control vigilance would this have happened in the first place? I wonder.
There is no shortage of other examples. I’m sure most of us would have our own version of what I could say: “If I did my job (biotech research) this way, I would shortly be pounding the pavement, rumpled, unshaven, hollow-eyed and vacuous, carrying a sign reading, ‘Will Clone For Food.’”
What gives here? Not enough competition? Too small a market?
One of the issues contributing to the reticence of many to become pilots and/or owners is reliability: Most people just don’t see why one shouldn’t be able to count on one’s plane–for which one pays 5X-10X more than a car to own and operate–to be as reliable as one’s car. Turn the key and expect it to start, EVERY TIME. Operate it according to reasonably simple procedures with routine scheduled maintenance and expect it to go the equivalent of 100K-150K miles without any major work (i.e. top overhauls). Open and close the door and expect it to seal properly (and definitely not fall off), THOUSDANDS OF TIMES. Turn on the radios and expect them to work, THOUSANDS OF TIMES.
Am I missing something? The GA manufacturer that changes this–and I hope and expect the first one could be Cirrus Design–will rightfully earn the profound gratitude of all of GA and help to ensure its bright future.