October 2014 Issue

Composite Complexities

A non-pilot recently asked me if 14 years since new was old for a Cirrus. I didn’t have to pause when answering that it certainly is not. But after thinking about it for a while, it occurred to me that while the modern composite design of a Cirrus—or Diamond or Columbia—may still seem new even after 14 years, the earlier models in the fleet are indeed aging. When these mass-production composites came to market, there was much speculation on how the airframes would hold up and how difficult they would be to service when they break. Owners of earlier models are now finding out.

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