FLYING Magazine

Air Plains Services has obtained parts manufacturer approval (PMA) for stock Cessna 172 short airboxes for N and P models with the original O-320 Lycoming engine, it announced Wednesday. 

The Air Plains part (number APS0552164-4) is approved for Lycoming O-320-H2AD and O-320-D2J engines.

The shortbox PMA is the second for the company in recent months. In December, it received approval of a new PMA long box for the Cessna 172 I, K, L, and M models with the original factory O-320 Lycoming engine.

Based in Wellington, Kansas, the company has been producing replacement engine parts and avionics for many Cessna 100-series aircraft for more than 40 years.

Company officials noted that the short box PMA is the latest in a long line of PMA airboxes for Cessnas, such as the 172XP as well the 180, 182, and 188 models.

Air Plains said that compared to original equipment, its PMA designs are sturdier since they have “adhesive reinforcements in areas of high stress, hardened control arms with a thicker cross-section, [and] added nut plates to the front of the airbox to accommodate a Brackett air filter, if installed, all at a much lower price.”

Other improvements include a corrosion-resistant steel shaft and oil-impregnated bronze bushing that eliminates the risk of needle ingestion by the engine, and four-corner fuel drain holes instead of the standard two allow fuel drainage from any attitude on the ground, which can help prevent fires if the aircraft is over-primed.

“Our airbox business has blossomed in recent years,” Air Plains president Katie Church said in a statement. “The success of our original 172 airbox, designed for the upgraded 180 hp Lycoming engine, prompted owners of other models to ask about an option for their aircraft and we responded. The key for us is that we do the design and production on-site, so we monitor every step of the process.”

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