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A350 landing gear issue EASA produces AD

A possible failure of the main landing gear door (MLGD) on the Airbus A350-900 has been addressed in an Airworthiness Directive (AD) released by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The regulation was issued by EASA in response to the revelation that index washers at MLGD hinges #1 (forward) and #3 (rear) were manufactured with the forward hinges installed in lieu of the rear hinges, and vice versa. The fault “may lead to diminished structural integrity of the MLGD hinge fittings, possibly leading in in-flight loss of an MLGD,” the government claims, if it is not remedied.

As a result, people below can be hurt if the main landing gear’s doors drop to the ground. The AD itself “needs a one-time detailed inspection (DET) of each problematic item and, depending on findings, replacement,” whereas Airbus issued its own Service Bulletin (SB), specifically A350-52-P048 supplying inspection and replacement parts of the relevant parts.

Operators of the Airbus A350-900 are required by the EASA’s mandate to finish a DET within the compliance time. This applies to Group 1 aircraft before they reach 9,600 flight cycles (FC) or 46,900 flight hours (FH), whichever comes first after the date of manufacture of the aircraft. Operators of Group 2 aircraft are required to complete the inspection prior to surpassing 16,800 FC or 82,750, whichever comes first since the date of manufacture of the aircraft.

The Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) for Group 1 and Group 2 aircraft is displayed in the SB as Configuration 001 and Configuration 002, respectively.

Airlines must repair the defective parts within 500 FC or 3,500 FH, whichever comes first, after an inspection if it turns out that they weren’t fitted correctly.

The AD is a binding decision. One commenter only, Qatar Airways, said there was no method for operators to “verify/cross-examine the veracity of the effectivity within the ISB or to explain the exclusion of certain MSNs,” and this was the only remark made on the order.

A7-AMK and A7-AML, two of Qatar Airways’ own A350-900s, were not included in the SB. This fault was “fixed before delivery and that it is in-line with Airbus Internal documents,” according to input from Airbus, the airline claims.

Airbus will update the SB A350-52-P048 without changing the AD, according to EASA’s partial agreement.

The highest FH number, 30,001 FHs, is associated with a Qatar Airways A350-900, according to statistics from ch-aviation.com. The plane, which is now being parked at Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) and is registered as A7-ALA, has been there since June 2021. The A350-900 operated by Vietnam Airlines, designated VN-A886, has 6,342 FCs.

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