Issue Number 221
November 1997
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

Maintaining Safe Aircraft

Since ASRS introduced incident reporting forms for maintenance personnel in the spring of 1997, we have received over 150 reports from mechanics, and continue to hear from flight crews about maintenance-related incidents. Following are some examples, beginning with a report from an air carrier mechanic: Another mechanic provides the rest of the story: One reason the mechanics may have failed to notice the safety pins is that the "remove before flight" flags attached to the pins are often rolled up and tucked out of the way to enable good visibility of the work area. Flags can also blow up into the wheel well and become caught there. Solution: make certain those flags keep flying until the aircraft is released back to the flight line.

Static Display

Flying the flags might have prevented another return-to-land incident, as reported by a corporate Captain:

A "remove before flight" flag or long strip of "caution" tape attached to the tape covering the static ports and pitot tubeswould have provided a visual warning to ground and flight crews.

Half-Full or Half-Empty?

Optimists and pessimists alike can appreciate the difficulties a commuter Captain confronted due to a half-cup of water:

Skydiver with Parachute DeployedA recent ASRS report reminds us that the "big sky" isn't as big as we may think. A parachute-jump plane pilot explains in an ASRS report:

The pilot of the other aircraft was legal to be occupying the airspace at the same time as the jumpers. However, careful see-and-avoid practice by the pilot might have prevented this near-tragedy.

Communications Problems in GA Flight Training

In the September CALLBACK, we published summaries of two research papers presented by ASRS at The Ohio State University Ninth International Aviation Psychology Symposium. One of these discussed communications-related difficulties that occur during general aviation dual flight instruction. Some of these problems included failure to comply with ATC clearances, poor radio technique, and confusing or misleading intra-cockpit communications. Below are three incident reports relevant to these issues. First, an instructor confesses to being a little too wrapped up in the instruction mode.

In another radio-related report, an introduction to instrument training turned into a lesson in priorities and cockpit discipline. A private pilot reports: Thankfully, there was no departing traffic to create a head-on conflict. In both these incidents, the instructors allowed the intra-cockpit communications of the teaching situation to take precedence over communications with ATC.

Pilot's Headset"Wishy-Washy Coms"

What a private pilot refers to as "wishy-washy communications" led to lack of a positive hand-off of aircraft control-and nearly resulted in a damaged aircraft.

Wishy-washy communications and lack of decisiveness played major roles in this.

Reservations Required

Arrival and departure reservations are required at certain designated "High Density Traffic Airports," including Kennedy, LaGuardia, Chicago O'Hare, Washington National, and Newark airports, as this general aviation pilot learned: I was unaware that a reservation was needed to land or take off at Washington National Airport. It was only told to me when I discussed the flight with my instructor after my return home. This information is not shown on any approach charts. I have since reviewed the necessary steps for flying into airports that require reservations.IFR traffic can request reservations through Flight Service Stations. VFR operations may be accommodated if ATC can fit them in without significant delay to IFR operations. For more information, see the Aeronautical Information Manual, Section 4-1-21.

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
Uncommanded 20-degree roll in a B737-300
A spoiler cable incorrectly installed on a DC9-10
Parachute jumping activity over a Nevada STAR
Unpronounceable computer-generated navaid fix names
SF340 cargo fire detection system false alarms above FL180
September 1997 Report Intake
 Air Carrier Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots