Cessna Mustang Review
by Philip Greenspun; updated May 2011
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The Part 23 Airworthiness Standards of the Federal Aviation
Regulations require that "Each control must operate easily, smoothly,
and positively enough to allow proper performance of its functions"
(14 CFR 23.671(a)) and "Each detail of each control system must be
designed and installed to prevent jamming, chafing, and interference
from cargo, passengers, loose objects, or the freezing of
moisture" (14 CFR 23.685(a), emphasis added).
FAR 21.3 requires that manufacturers must report "Any structural or
flight control system malfunction, defect, or failure which causes an
interference with normal control of the aircraft or which derogates
the flying qualities."
The Part 135 charter operator 26NA reported Cessna Mustang flight
control problems to the Federal Aviation Administration in Service Difficulty Reports
(SDRs) 26N2008F00001, 26N2008F00002, 26N2008F00003, 26N2008F00004, and
26N2008F00005. These are publicly available on the Web (search for
"Cessna" and "510" when prompted for make/model) and include the
Note that the SDR system is not generally used by Part 91 operators,
so it would not include reports of problems experienced by private
owners and operators of the Cessna Mustang.
CREW REPORTED AILERONS FROZE AFTER FLYING THROUGH MOISTURE
ON CLIMB OUT, AT 20,000 FT THE AILERONS FROZE WITH AN OAT OF 0 DEGREES
C. PILOT WAS GETTING THE AMBER AP LIGHT. HE WOULD TURN THE AP "OFF"
AND FREE UP THE CONTROLS ABOUT EVERY 15 TO 20 MINUTES BY EXERTING A
LOSS OF FORCE TO FREE THE ICING. AT 33,000 FT WITH AN OAT OF -22
DEGREES, AND THE AP ENGAGED, THE ELEVATOR FROZE. PILOT SAID IT TOOK AN
UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF FORCE TO GET THE AC TO RESPOND. JUST LIKE
BEFORE, HE WAS CONTROLLING THE AC WITH ENGINES AND TRIM. AT 6,000 FT,
ON APPROACH, HE WAS USING ELEVATOR TRIM TO CONTROL THE AC AND ALMOST
MAX'D IT OUT.
A Freedom of Information Act request filed with the FAA (form) for FAR 21.3 reports
regarding the Cessna Mustang revealed the following:
The complete FAA response to this FOIA response is available as
a 5 MB PDF file.
- June 18, 2007: "Model 510-0002 Aircraft Incident, Slack in Elevator Cable Servo Tension"
- May 9, 2008: "Cessna Mustang Model 510-0005 Aircraft Incident,
Elevator Pitch Trim Run-Away during Autopilot Operation"
- July 24, 2008: "Model 510-0026 Incident, Aileron Freeze" (s/n 26)
- February 27, 2009: "Model 510-0026 Incident, Aileron Freeze" (s/n 166)
- May 1, 2009: "Model 510 Incidents, Pitch Trim Freeze" (s/n 65)
- May 29, 2009: "Model 510 Incidents, Pitch Trim Freeze" (s/n 73)
- October 26, 2009: "Model 510-0007 Incident, Autopilot near 90 Degree Roll" (s/n 7)
- September 30, 2010: "Model 510-0290 Elevator Trim Freeze" (s/n 290)
not related to flight controls
- December 19, 2007: "Model 510-0049 Aircraft Incident, Coverage of the Left Wing Fuel Vent with Temporary Vinyl" (s/n 49)
- July 10, 2009: "Inflight Shutdown RH Engine" (s/n 132)
- September 15, 2009: "Model 510-0079, Both Primary Flight Displays went blank causing brief Loss of Attitude, Altitude, and Airspeed" (s/n 79)
- October 23, 2009: "Model 510-0091 RH Engine Commanded In-Flight Shutdown" (s/n 91)
- February 11, 2010: "Model 510-0003 RH Engine Commanded In-Flight Shutdown" (s/n 3)
- February 17, 2010: "RH Engine Un-Commanded In-Flight Shutdown" (s/n 9)
- May 25, 2010: "LH Engine In-Flight Commanded Shutdown" (s/n 37)
- October 27, 2010 "RH Engine In-Flight Commanded Shutdown" (s/n 209)
- October 29, 2010 "RH Engine In-Flight Commanded Shutdown" (s/n 263)
- January 8, 2007: a problem with s/n 3 (any description of what the problem was has been redacted)
The FAA found at least 156 pages of documents relevant to the FOIA
request (concentrating on flight control problems), but chose to
withhold 127 of these and release only 29 pages in a
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