The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday ordered that older models of certain Piper single-engine aircraft, among the country's most popular private planes, be inspected for metal fatigue cracks at the base of the wings.
As many as 8,000 planes in the United States may be affected. The inspections are expected to cost as much as $1,000 each because the wings must be removed from the plane in order to find any cracking, the FAA said.
The FAA's order applies to all models in the PA28 and PA32 series except the PA28-236 and requires that all models that have flown more than 5,000 hours be inspected by May 5. It requires that all models flown fewer than 5,000 hours be inspected by the time they have flown 5,050 hours.
The FAA acted on the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board, which two weeks ago urged the inspections as a result of its investigation of the March 30 crash of a Piper PA28-181 in Marlin, Tex.
The plane was owned by the Griffin Pipeline Patrol Co.