Airworthiness Concern Sheet-Piper PA-28 Fuel Selectors
Notice Number: NOTC9658
On July 11, 2019, Piper sent the FAA a Preliminary Risk Assessment regarding the first generation of fuel selectors installed on the PA-28 (first introduced in 1961) and recommended the FAA issued an AD to remove and replace the fuel selectors. The first generation of fuel selector mechanism installed on PA-28 models was a flat, round plate with a lever that could be manually rotated to one of four positions (each with its own detent): OFF – L – R – OFF. The design does not include any protection against inadvertent disruption of the position of the lever from its intended position nor does it prevent over-rotation which could result in mistakenly selecting the OFF position when not intended. After 1971, Piper released two different design improvement iterations (second generation and third generation) of the fuel selector to minimize the possibility of selector lever positioning errors.
The current Piper production version of the fuel selector for the PA-28 is the third generation. The FAA released AD 71-21-08 to mandate the upgrade from generation 2 fuel selectors to the generation 3 fuel selectors; however, there is no AD to mandate the upgrade from the generation 1 round, flat plate fuel selector to the generation 3 fuel selector (Piper released Service Letter 590 on May 25, 1972, to recommend upgrading from the Generation 1 to the Generation 3 fuel selector, and then superseded SL 590 with Service Bulletin 840 on June 19, 1986. SB 840 was revised and SB 840A was issued on November 7, 2013). The FAA released SAIB CE-14-22 on July 10, 2014, to make owners/operators aware of certain PA-28 aircraft of an airworthiness concerns involving the Generation 1 fuel selector. Due to a recent reported concern, the FAA is once again looking into the possibility of an unsafe condition involving the generation 1 fuel selector and whether an AD is warranted.
Select the following link to read the Airworthiness Concern Sheet:
The FAA is requesting the following information from owners and operators of the PA-28 models and serial numbers listed above (We are also looking for information from any PA-28 owner/operator that has the generation 1 round, flat plate fuel selector installed, regardless of whether your specific PA-28 model or serial number is included in the list above):
1) Do you currently have the Generation 1 round, flat plate fuel selector (For reference, see Figure 2 in the attachment for image of the Generation 1 fuel selector) installed on your aircraft (For clarity, the fuel selector is located in the cockpit on the lower left sidewall, near Pilot’s left leg – See Figure 1 in the attached image for location)?
If the answer to the previous question was ‘Yes’:
a. Have you had any issues with the operation of the Generation 1 fuel selector that resulted in fuel management concerns (i.e. mistakenly selected the OFF position instead of the intended tank)?
b. Do you have any concerns with the operation of the Generation 1 fuel selector, regardless of whether you have had any issues with the fuel selector that resulted in fuel management concerns?
2) Does anyone have any specific concerns related to a possible FAA action to issue an AD mandating the removing of the Generation 1 fuel selector and installation of the Generation 3 fuel selector (For reference, see Figures 3 and 4 in the attachment for images of the Generation 3 fuel selector) to minimize the risk of unintended fuel management errors?
For more information or to reply please contact: