Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Alerts For GA Pilots

The NTSB highlights five more areas it believes need attention

The Safety Alert dealing with ELTs suggests pilots: "Confirm that the ELT unit is 'armed' and properly installed in the aircraft.

"Follow manufacturer instructions for properly securing the ELT and inspecting the fasteners.

"Remember that ELTs secured to the aircraft via Velcro®-style mounting mechanisms can be susceptible to strap looseness and misalignment during installation and inspection. Further, the retention straps may degrade over time due to wear, vibration, temperature or contamination, and they may not properly restrain the ELT during an accident.

"Consider upgrading to a 406-MHz ELT, which the NTSB has long recommended be mandatory due to its superior position accuracy reporting, timeliness of alerts and ability to provide aircraft identification and other information."

The Safety Alert on securing objects suggests that pilots: "Inspect the airplane for forgotten or misplaced tools before takeoff. Remember that even experienced pilots and aviation maintenance technicians can make mistakes. If you have recently had maintenance performed on your airplane or if you have conducted maintenance yourself, this action is especially important.

"Conduct an inventory of cockpit items before takeoff, including the number of personal electronic devices, GPS units and antennas on board the aircraft, and ensure that they are secured. This also helps to assure their availability throughout the flight.

"Account for all flight gear and personal items such as hats and jackets before and after each flight, and ensure that they are secured.

"Incorporate all of these checks into your preflight actions.

"Remind passengers during the preflight briefing of the importance of item security and proper stowage of PEDs and personal items."

In the Safety Alert "Check your Restraints," the Safety Board points out that although seat belts and harnesses have to be inspected as part of the annual, there's no easy way to tell whether they've deteriorated due to age, exposure to UV rays, contaminants and repeated use.
Conduct an inventory of cockpit items before takeoff and ensure that they're secured.
An accident that occurred in 2006 just off of Santa Monica, Calif., was highlighted. It involved a Beech A36 that was ditched in the ocean after the engine lost power during initial climb. A connecting rod had fractured from the crankshaft. The Safety Board said things began to unravel in the engine after a nut came off of its bolt because it hadn't been properly torqued, and no cotter pin had been installed to prevent it from backing off.


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