November 21, 1998
RE: Mandatory Service Bulletin TAT 98-1

Before Further Flight
Aeroquip part number 4404C375-M.



Dear Bonanza and Cessna 185 Turbonormalized Owners:

About 90 days ago, as owners and operators of a turbonormalized Bonanza, we realized that the folks in Pagosa Springs, were going to_ be selling off the Bonanza STCs._ We were concerned that the tooling and drawings_ and the general "know how" that has provided all of us with our excellent turbonormalizing systems would be allowed to be dispersed or simply "disappear".

Because of our association with General Aviation Modifications, Inc., we have had the opportunity in 1997 and again in the spring of 1998 to perform a number of formal and informal FAA flight tests with a turbonormalized_ Bonanza._ During that process, we learned some important things about the system_ that pointed to some further improvements in speed and range performance that could be made. 

So, along with other interested pilots, we helped organize a new company,_ to_ acquire the rights to use those STCs and to further develop those STCs into a still better turbonormalizing system. We have started a new company named Tornado Alley Turbo, Inc. (TAT) to manufacture an improved turbonormalizing system. We are pleased to advise you that TAT has now commenced operations._ Tornado Alley Turbo did not acquire the going business of Turbo 2000. It was and is our intention to use the previous STC'd technology as a foundation to develop and market turbonormalizing systems with substantially improved performance, over the already excellent performance now provided by these systems. We have already accomplished a significant portion of our goals in this regard,_ as you may have_ noticed in advertisements in recent ABS publications._ We anticipate futher_ enhancements to both the Bonanza and C-185 systems. We look forward_ to having you visit our facility in Ada, Ok.

However, during the last few days, there have been two situations discovered, along with new information about an earlier fatal accident. In our view these are matters about which every owner of the FliteCraft/Turbo2000 systems_ would wish to be promptly informed.

Without waiting for further investigation, and without waiting for the _FAA to_ complete its review of these matters, and without regard to any other consideration, we are taking the initiative to promptly provide you with this_ information and to provide_ you our recommendations as to what should be done,_ now.

BACKGROUND DATA:

Data from the following three Bonanzas are of immediate concern:

One: On Wednesday,_ November 18, a Bonanza with a 1994 turbonormalizing system suffered the inflight_ loss of the tailpipe._ This is the "S" shaped 3.5" diameter stainless steel_welded tubing part that attaches to the exit from the turbocharger turbine housing flange.

This tailpipe is attached to the turbocharger flange with an aerospace quality_ stainless steel bolted "V-band" clamp, which is in widespread use in general aviation exhaust applications.

First reports, from a mechanic who has seen this specific part, are that there appears to be an old crack in the clamp which had ultimately failed.__ We have only cursory information on the age or number of hours of in-service use_ of the installed_ "V-band" clamp, but the information available suggests that it was in service for some time. It may, and we emphasize "may", have_ been recently removed and reinstalled.

The loss of the tailpipe resulted in some smoke in the cockpit. The pilot_ reduced power to idle and did an excellent job of making a successful landing at a nearby airport._ There is significant heat damage to portions of the engine compartment_ adjacent to the turbo case, but it appears to be repairable.

Two: By coincidence, also on November 18,_ the owner of a turbonormalized Bonanza,_ with approximately 1100 hours in service, had the airplane in the shop for a_ routine annual inspection._ During the inspection, it was discovered that the_ same "V-band" clamp at the junction of the turbo case housing and the tailpipe had failed._ The part had apparently been failed for some time, as there was evidence of significant chafing and wear at the adjacent and attached slip joint on the wastegate bypass exhaust tubing.

Three:In June of 1998,__ a turbonormalized Bonanza suffered an accident with two fatalities._ The preliminary NTSB report did not suggest that the turbo housing flange/tailpipe "V-band" clamp was in any way associated with the cause of that accident. Information that we received during the last week suggests that there was a crack or hole in the turbocharger case. The information further suggested that the associated "V-band" clamp was broken, although there is no information suggesting that the exhaust pipe was missing. At present, because of the unusual finding of the cracked turbocharger case housing, it appears the cause of this accident may be related to that problem. However, pending further investigation, we have no way of knowing for sure whether or not this accident is related to the first two maintenance items, or not._ However, we wanted to make sure you are as fully informed as possible at this time.

We offer the following as our opinion of this situation, along with our recommendations:

WHAT WE THINK:

There are over 200 of the FliteCraft and Turbo2000 aircraft flying since the_ STC was first approved over 10 years ago._ These aircraft have accumulated tens of thousands of successful, reliable, operating hours. The exhaust system in these aircraft has a reputation among mechanics knowledgeable about the system as_ being more durable and more reliable than any other turbocharged exhaust system_ installed in any general aviation aircraft. Some of these individual aircraft_ have thousands of hours on the original exhaust system without any significant_ problem.

Thus, based on the description of the two recent problems that we now have_ available to us, it appears that this problem is most likely maintenance related, and does not involve any fundamental defect in the design or the materials._ The new information about the fatal accident in June of 1998, is also, obviously of concern, even if the particular circumstances and cause of that accident yet remain unresolved.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND:

BEFORE FURTHER FLIGHT: We recommend and urge that, before further flight, the "V-band" clamp which attaches the tail pipe to the turbocharger should be inspected visually in accordance with the attached Mandatory Service Bulletin, (MSB) TAT 98-1.

If the visual inspection reveals no discrepancy, then the aircraft may be returned to service subject to the new 400 hour/ 4 year service life limit described in MSB TAT 98-1.

Otherwise, the aircraft should be grounded until the clamp can be replaced with a new or serviceable clamp.

AT NOT MORE THAN 25 HOUR INTERVALS:

At not more than 25 hour intervals, and while the engine is cold, the pilot/owner/operator of one of these turbonormalized systems should_ simply grasp (with one hand) the cold tailpipe that extends from the left lower cowl flap area, and give the part a firm_ push/pull from side to side.

If the tailpipe appears in any way to be loose, or_ insecure, the aircraft should be grounded until an A&P with IA can remove and_ inspect the tailpipe and the associated V-band clamp, in accordance with the_ suggested inspection and reinstallation instructions described in the attached MSB, TAT 98-1.

AT 100 HOUR INTERVALS: The existing "Turbo-Flite 520/550 System Maintenance and Trouble Shooting Manual" calls for periodic 100 hour removal of the exhaust pipe and its associated "V-band" clamp in order to facilitate the inspection of the turbine impeller. At that inspection, particular attention should be paid to the condition of the "V-band" clamp and to the proper nut torque during re-installation.


AT NOT MORE THAN 400 HOUR/ 4 YEAR INTERVALS:

Replace the subject clamp with a new clamp. WITH RESPECT TO THE ENCLOSED MANDATORY SERVICE BULLETIN:

PLEASE REPORT THE RESULTS OF THAT INSPECTION BY FAX TO THE FOLLOWING PHONE NUMBER: (580)332-4577

IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT ALL RESULTS OF THE INSPECTION BE REPORTED, REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME, SO THAT WE CAN ACCUMULATE A DATABASE OF THE RESULTS, TO BE USED AS A BASIS_ FOR ANY FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS THAT MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE.

A SUGGESTED FORM FOR THE REPORTING OF THE RESULTS OF THESE INSPECTIONS IS ENCLOSED WITH THIS LETTER.

We have ordered a small supply of approved replacement "V-band" clamps.__ While they last,_ we will supply these parts to any person who returns to us the_ old part, for our inspection.__ At present, we anticipate the cost, with two day_ shipping and handling, to be approximately $45.00.


If you have any questions, contact Tornado Alley Turbo, Inc., (580)332-3510.

We regret that our first communication with each of you has come under these_ circumstances._ It is our intention to try provide expeditious service information concerning any of the old parts and_ components, as well as prompt information concerning any_ future parts or components as such information becomes available to us.

We have no idea what action, if any,_ the FAA may take with respect to_ the information described in this letter.__ However, we believe these matters warrant prompt attention.


Sincerely,

Tim Roehl               George W. Braly

President                  Chief Engineer

Tornado Alley Turbo, Inc.



For more information, please contact:
Tim Roehl
Toll-Free: (877)359-8284
Phone: (580)332-3510
Fax: (580)332-4577