Wichita, KS—Citing recent reports that some aircraft maintenance and repair facilities were turning away aircraft older than 18 years of age because of insurance and liability concerns, Yingling Aviation, the longtime Cessna affiliate at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, responded by stating emphatically that “we welcome customers who are flying older models because we believe we can provide them with what is arguably the best service available. We have established maintenance procedures, tooling and expertise working on Cessna single and twin engine aircraft, and located across from the factory, so if we run into an anomaly, Cessna’s product support is minutes away,” noted Lynn Nichols, president of Yingling.
Nichols was responding to articles published in aviation media such as AvWeb which noted that it had been informed of maintenance facilities which were turning away work on airplanes whose age placed them beyond the statute of repose limits established in the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) of 1994. The facilities based their refusal on concerns that the focus of litigation in the case of an accident involving an older aircraft could shift to the maintenance shop. “I would not argue that plaintiff attorneys have and will migrate their lawsuits towards aircraft maintenance and avionics facilities when they have a legacy aircraft incident that falls outside the 18 year window GARA represents. By virtue of GARA, navigating a lawsuit towards OEMs has become more
difficult after the first 18 years of a new aircraft. That is a good reason why all maintenance facilities should have properly trained personnel, impeccable inspection procedures, and a quality assurance program that ensures any discrepancies have been accurately addressed. We’ve built an extremely strong reputation on our ability to support older aircraft. In fact, more than 90 percent of our business is currently providing comprehensive support to Cessna legacy aircraft, including 500-650 series Citations, Conquests Is and IIs, and Cessna single and piston twins,” Nichols said. “Yingling is the primary partner of Cessna ‘Proof Kits’ to the Cessna factory for legacy and current production models,” Nichols continued. “We work with the manufacturer directly to support developing applicable Service Bulletins and repair schemes for Cessna aircraft young and old, whenever the need arises. An obvious example would be the Spar Strap kit Cessna developed and continue to offer for operators of Cessna 400 series twins and Conquest turboprops. Our maintenance team assisted Cessna’s engineers on what was needed to install, such as time study, methodology and procedures. That’s a program that is directed specifically to older airplanes which may have developed fatigue cracks over a period of extended service. It’s the kind of service we’re proud to provide. From my chair, Cessna Aircraft Company takes a serious and pro-active approach in supporting legacy aircraft. And, we take great pride in helping operators of legacy aircraft extend the life and usefulness of their airplanes,” he explained.
Yingling is also involved in new and used aircraft sales and has developed a Joint Ownership Program featuring refurbished Cessna Conquest turboprops. The firm plans to add a previously-owned Citation to the mix in the near future. “Our expertise in working with older aircraft has provided us with a variety of business opportunities we wouldn’t have if we focused purely on current or recent production models. We will continue to welcome and provide exceptional maintenance and repair services for aging aircraft, ” he concluded. “It just makes good business sense.”