Last month the FAA issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive that grounded several of the Cessna Corvalis 400 aircraft. The agency said the aircraft in question “suffered a significant structural failure”, which included a disbonding of a 2.1m (7ft) section of wing skin from the upper forward wing spar. The failure could result “in a catastrophic failure of the wing,” says the FAA, adding that it may take “additional AD action as necessary”.
Cessna has now says that it understands the root cause and has a solution, but has not said what that solution is.
Cessna builds the wing and fuselage composite structures in Chihuahua, Mexico. It’s Sky Catcher aircraft are being built in China. We are all aware of the quality issues on the many products coming from these countries. Do you really want to trust your life to structural components built in Mexico? While you consider that thought remember that, by the way, the Cessna 400 does not have a parachute.
I have flown Cessna 400′s and to me there is a lot not to like about them. That said, if the Corvalis was your only choice it is a great improvement over the older Cessna product line that has remain stagnant for over 40 years. The problem for Cessna is that the Corvalis is not the only choice to a new aircraft buyer in this market. This latest major structural failure is just one more reason that I think the gap has widened even further for aircraft buyers weighing the decision to purchase either a Cirrus or a Cessna Corvalis.