Safety spot articles 2012



January : A New Maintenance Section for a New Year -  Introducing Bite Sized Maintenance.

Items Covered:

Bite Sized Maintenance – Topic 1:  Servicing Wheels.

Rotax Engines – Further discussions about Fuel Pressure control when changing Fuel Pumps.

EuroFox – Glider Release Failure.

Europa ‘Classic’ – Tailwheel Attachment Failure


February 2014 : We Live and Learn - Sometimes. 

Items Covered:

Silence Twister – In-Flight Tailplane Attachment Failure – Discussing an accident  where the tailplane came loose in-flight because the rigging pin was incorrectly fitted.

Auster J5G – In-Flight Aileron Cable Failure – Discussing an incident where the electrical current from a wing mounted generator effectively melted the aileron drive cable.

EV-97 Eurostar – Damaged Rivets in Fuselage – Introducing the new EV-97 UK agents, Light Sport Aviation, and discussing a recent Service Bulletin requiring a close check of some fuselage rivets.


March 2014 : Getting Back into the Hot Seat after the winter break. 

Items Covered:

Walter Micron – Serious Corrosion – Discussing the importance of regularly inhibiting an engine that’s not being used … You’ve got to keep the water out.

Minicab – Loss of Control on Landing – Landing a lively tail-dragger can be a trial at the best of times … a worn-out oleo makes it much harder to do a good job.

RV (series) Aircraft – Empanage Cracking – Discussing a couple of recent Vans Service Bulletins requiring checks for cracking in the empennage.

Lancair 320 - Undercarriage Failure – Discussing the need to build deep inspections into the Tailored Maintenance Schedule.


April 2014 : A Moments inattention - Propeller Swinging.

Items Covered:

Luscombe 8E - Prop. Swinging Accident - Emphasising the need for the correct use of chocks when hand-starting an aircraft.

Kolb Twinstar – Compression Testing – An injury resulted from an incorrect compression test technique.

DH.82A Tiger Moth – In-Flight Break-Up – Discussing the recent in-flight structure failure suffered by an Australian registered Tiger Moth and the interim report written by
the ATSB focussing attention on the lateral Tie Rods.


May 2014 : Knowing Our Origins - Discussing Component Provenance

Items Covered:

Logbooks – A Vital Continuing Airworthiness Management Tool: Discussing the importance of keeping a good maintenance history for your aircraft. You never know when you might need to establish when a component was last changed.

Certificates of Validity – Changes to Issue Date Rules: A small change in the procedure for issuing new Certificates of Validity has meant that applications received outside of a 30 day ‘zone’ may not be able to keep last year’s issue date.

Tipsy Nipper – Main Wing Bolt Crack:      An excellent Spot by a Nipper owner has led to a fleet-check of all Nipper main wing bolts.

Spitfire Mk. 26 – Structure Failure at Lower Rudder Hinge: An LAA Inspector noticed some paint missing from a rivet head --- when he looked more closely he found that the structure at the lower rudder support had failed.


June 2014 : Silence isn’t Golden - Avoiding Engine Failures by Varying Scheduled Maintenance  

Items Covered:

Kolb Twinstar – Jabiru 2200 – Flywheel Detachment:
A Kolb Twinstar pilot recently had to carry out a forced landing because his flywheel detached from the crankshaft … the failure was due to the attachment bolts failing just hours before their mandatory replacement.

Dynon Heated Pitot Heads – Manufacturers Warning about their use: Dynon have recently issued a Bulletin advising owners to use their pitot heaters as if they didn’t have pitot heaters!  A discussion about what might be going on with this add-on.

Jabiru 2200 Engine – Pattern Part Alert – Distributor Caps: A warning to members that there are some Jabiru distributer caps circulating that don’t fit properly which has led to premature centre electrode wear.

Jabiru 2200 Engine – Pattern Parts Alert – Rotor Arms: A warning to members that there are some Jabiru supplied Rotor Arms don’t fit the drive shaft properly and this misfit has led to premature failure of the part.


July 2014 : Maintenance Regimes – The importance of tailoring a basic maintenance schedule for a good fit with your operational environment.

Items Covered:

Jabiru 2200 Engine - Pattern Parts Update: Advice about distributor caps and, after further failures, a warning not to use inappropriate rotor arms. 

Minimax – Incorrect Rigging Leads to an Accident: A series of procedural drop-offs led to a trim tab being fitted upside down on a Minimax and this, along with other factors led to the aircraft being seriously damaged during a heavy landing.

Pioneer 200 – Water Damage to Structure: Even though this Pioneer 200 was ‘suited-up’ with purpose made aircraft covers water managed to get into the fuselage and cause serious damage to the structure.  Advice about tailoring maintenance schedules to take account of storage conditions.

SportCruiser – Reduction in Vne: A recent incident where a tailplane suffered a structure failure during a Vne dive has led to an nvestigation by the LAA; whilst thjis investigation proceeds LAA Engineering has ‘written-down’ the Vne on all SportCruiser aircraft operating under an LAA Permit from 138 knots to 120 knots.    


August 2014 : Safety First – Not Laziness – It doesn’t pay to procrastinate when it comes to performing necessary tasks … if something needs doing the advice is to get the job done as soon as you are able.

Items Covered:  

Europa – Rough Running Engine – Exhaust Systems Cracking.

After a lot of ‘head-scratching’ the owner of this Europa finally discovered the reason why his engine was running rough when hot; the reason, a difficult to spot exhaust leak directing exhaust gasses straight at the carburettor float bowl.

Midget Mustang – Rough Running Engine – After a propeller balance.

A discussion about the procedure involved in propeller balancing and the sometimes unexpected result a smooth engine may have on the fuel system.   

Rans S6-ESD – Very Poor Climb – Incorrect Air Filters.

The owner of this aircraft had gone to the trouble of  re-pitching the propeller to achieve the correct  maximum RPM but this didn’t cure the poor climb (so he bought some new air filters!).

Rans S6S – Over-tightened Connections During Kit Assembly.

Chief Engineer, Francis Donaldson, explains that it’s not necessary to torque-up tube to tube connections … in the example discussed the ends of the tube ended up being squashed.


September 2014 : Forced Landings and Departing Doors – Another Europa door failure is discussed along with a few tips about coping with an in-flight engine failure.

Items Covered: 

Piper PA18 Super Cub – In flight Engine Failure – A recent engine failure over ‘hostile’ territory was well handled by the crew and no damage was done; the reason for the engine failure was found to be an incomplete overhaul of the Stromberg carburettor.

Europa XS – Door Torn Off In Flight – It was established that this door failure was caused because the pilot failed to secure it correctly before flight; a lucky escape for the crew as the door, as it departed, hit the tailplane which was badly damaged.

Pietenpol Air Camper – Undercarriage Failure – Another Rod-End failure, discussions about the need for a special inspection regime for this aircraft type. 


October 2014 : Arms, Legs and Nose Failures – Further coverage of the Jabiru ‘Pattern Parts’ Rotor arm issue and some follow-up info about the failure of a Stromberg carburettor featured in the September issue. 

Items Covered:

Pietenpol Undercarriage Failure – The September feature where the failure of a Pietenpol rod end bearing led to an undercarriage collapse encouraged Pietenpol owners to check the rod end bearings on their aircraft; one was discovered in the process of failing and the failure mode is discussed in this issue.

SportCruiser – Pipersport Type Nose Leg Failure – Although there have been anecdotal reports of failure of the Pipersport-type nose undercarriage from overseas owners this report examines two recent failures here in the UK.  It is clear that lack of maintenance has played its part in at least one of the failures.

Cvjetkovic CA-65 – Undercarriage Retraction Mechanism Failure -  The owner of this ‘unique to the UK’ aircraft was on his way to the 2014 LAA Rally at Sywell when, on the approach to the airfield, he found that he couldn’t get the undercarriage down; the reason why is discussed in this feature.   

November 2014 : History Has a Habit of Repeating Itself – Throttle bias on Rotax 9 Series engines claims another LAA Aircraft.  General discussion about the complexity of recording and categorising aircraft-related accidents and incidents.

Items Covered:

Rotax 9 Series Engines – Throttle Bias – Two continuing airworthiness points are covered in this single event where an uncommanded addition of full power placed the pilot in difficulties during a landing.  The first warns of the need to keep a hand on the throttle at all times during the landing and the second reinforces the importance of thorough checks after a ground impact event … however insignificant the first signs of damage might be.

EuroFOX – In Flight Rudder Jam – Exploring an incident which led to a Service Bulletin from the UK agent requiring checks in the Rudder system.

Rotax 9 Series Engines – Sinking Carburettor Floats – Another look at this issue after BRP-Powertrain issue a Mandatory Service Bulletin to check the operating float level – and some disagreement from UK experts about how (and if) these checks should be carried out on LAA Machines.

Also, in pictures – Chipmunk – The importance of carrying out the requirements of the De Havilland Support Ltd’s  Technical News Sheets (TNS’s) … TNS 122, Cracks in the elevator leading edge.    


December 2014 : There’s Rarely Just One Cause   ……. for an aircraft incident or accident: continuing the discussion from last month’s Safety Spot about the way accidents and incidents are recorded and emphasising the need to report all safety related information to LAA HQ Engineering: Items Covered:

Team Minimax 91 – EFATO – An LAA pilot put’s his hands up to making errors which led directly to the total loss of this airframe … fortunately the pilot only suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Rotax 912/CKT Exhaust system – Cylinder Head Damage – Discussing possible reasons for serious wear in this connection.

Reality Escapade – Tail-Spring Failure – Reminding owners of aircraft fitted with Tail-Springs that they need to keep a close eye on these highly stressed parts.

Also, In Pictures – Full power lost because of restricted throttle cable function on a foreign registered Breezer owned by an LAA member. The importance of checking all components before fitting: examples where problems found include a failed Zenair 701 main axle (poor welding) and a very difficult to lubricate Pioneer 300 Elevator Belcrank.

Also, to round-off the year, more pictures of failed Jabiru 2200 Rotor Arms.