Cirrus Aircraft grounds own planes to address safety concerns
Cirrus Aircraft has been working hard to step up production of its hot-selling planes, but a recent development appears to have broken the company’s stride and will disrupt deliveries of its two most-popular models, at least temporarily.
On Feb. 8, Cirrus reached out to customers to inform them of a possible problem that the Duluth-based company is treating very seriously.
“Cirrus Aircraft has been informed by Continental Aerospace Technologies of an issue that affects engines that power both Cirrus Aircraft’s SR22 and SR22T models,” the note read.
It went on to say: “While we are still working with Continental to determine the scope of the issue and the specific serial number range of affected aircraft, we are proactively making the decision — out of an abundance of caution — to pause all internal Cirrus Aircraft company flight operations on SR22 and SR22Ts manufactured and issued a Certificate of Airworthiness from June 1, 2021, through Feb. 7, 2023.”
Recipients of the letter were also advised Cirrus would also be “pausing new customer deliveries.”
Cirrus is Duluth’s largest manufacturer, employing more than 1,200 people locally. Company officials did not respond to a News Tribune question Friday regarding how the engine issue had impacted production.
On Friday, Continental put out a statement saying that it had “identified a potential safety of flight issue” for aircraft equipped with 360-, 470-, 520- and 500-series engines. Consequently, Continental is preemptively advising that an inspection should be performed to confirm that the crankshaft counterweight retaining ring was properly installed in new and rebuilt engines assembled between June 1, 2021 and Feb. 7.”
Continental recommended that engines manufactured during that time frame in aircraft with fewer than 200 hours of operating time should be limited to no more than five hours of additional operation, with essential crew, to deliver the craft for inspection and possible service.
“To further clarify, engines with over 200 hours may continue normal flight operations,” Continental’s statement went on to say, advising customers that “a service bulletin with affected serial numbers will be forthcoming.”