Issue Number 230
August 1998
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

"Caveat Emptor" and a High Wing Aircraft

...means "Let the buyer beware." This is good advice for all pilots who are getting to know their newly-acquired aircraft. Our first reporter relied on apparently inaccurate information that contributed to a forced landing.

The aircraft manufacturer and the aircraft operating manual are the best sources of information about aircraft specifications and operating parameters. If such documentation is unavailable, a new aircraft owner can drain the fuel tanks and create a dipstick by marking a stick as measured quantities of fuel are put into the tanks. This will ensure the correct amount of fuel for a flight.

Another buyer was caught unawares with the purchase of what was supposed to be an ultralight vehicle. Research into the FARs caused him to question that designation.

This aircraft is not eligible to be operated under 14 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 103. The previous owner elected to obtain a special airworthiness certificate under 14 CFR Part 21; thus, the reporter purchased an "airplane." To carry passengers, the reporter must therefore meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 61.

Beagle CharacitureCanine Companion Notes

Animals shipped in an aircraft's cargo hold are sometimes quite unhappy with their traveling accommodations. A ground crew member reports on the case of one very nervous canine flier:

In a callback conversation with an ASRS analyst, the reporter stated that a defective kennel door latch allowed the dog to escape. The reporter added that the ceiling panel was not attached tightly enough to prevent the dog from clawing it away from the ceiling. The moral of the story, for ramp personnel and dog owners alike, is to double-check the security of shipping kennels before the flight.

In the next report, "man's best friend" apparently performed well, but the human half of the dog/person team failed to finish the job. An air carrier Captain reports:

At the conclusion of the training session, the canine team had been called away to another mission and had forgotten to take their "training material" with them. The Captain was able to determine that the explosive material was not a hazard (fortunately!) unless it had a detonator.

"Overseas Oversights" around the Planet EarthAir carrier pilots have company dispatchers and other resources available to them for planning and executing flights outside the U.S. For General Aviation pilots, however, definitive information may not be right at hand. Or, pilots may simply be unaware of the differences between U.S. and foreign flight requirements, as was this reporter:

Careful research is necessary to determine each countrys requirements for which overflight or landing is expected. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in Frederick, Maryland, is a good place to start. Other aviation organizations may also provide overseas flight planning services to their members. The nearest foreign consulate offices may be able to provide useful information, as well.

A widebody jet's crew was carrying all the right paperwork, including airport taxi charts, when they got stuck - literally - at an overseas airport. The Captain reports:

A tug pulled the jet back onto the taxiway, and, after an inspection to determine that the aircraft was undamaged, the flight departed--two-and-a-half hours late. The Captain offers some thoughts on why this incident occurred:

Although the reporter's points may be valid, a flight crew still needs to ensure that they fully understand the taxi route, even if they have to ask ATC to repeat the instructions. Tying up the frequency for a few extra seconds is preferable to tying up the taxiway for a much longer time.

ASRS Database Reports on the Web

In January 1998, ASRS introduced a new feature on its Web site--ASRS Database Report Sets. We provided 20 sets of reports for downloading on topics commonly requested from ASRS. Each report set consists of 50 screened ASRS database records in Microsoft's Rich Text Format (RTF). Access to the ASRS Database Report Sets feature has been high--18,662 report sets have been downloaded since January 15, 1998. Following are the number of report sets downloaded from January 15 through June 30, 1998:

Report Set Topic Total Downloaded
Cabin Attendant Reports 1,855
Pilot / Controller Communications 1,523
CRM Issues 1,410
Controlled Flight Toward Terrain 1,385
Checklist Incidents 1,369
Mechanic Reports 951
Parachutist / Aircraft Conflicts 942
Automated Weather Systems 914
Inflight Weather Encounters 848
Commuter and GA Icing Incidents 839
Runway Incursions 815
Commuter and Corporate Flight Crew Fatigue 761
Non-Tower Airport Incidents 709
TCAS II Incidents 701
Turbojet Aircraft Upsets Incidents 683
Land and Hold Short Operations 650
Wake Turbulence Encounters 649
Fuel Management Issues 648
Passenger Electronic Devices 595
Rotary Wing Aircraft Flight Crew Reports 415
Grand Total 18,662

In response to requests from users, ASRS is expanding the list of report set subjects. In addition to the 20 topics listed above, ASRS will be adding the following additional report sets:

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. ASRS Web Site:

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
Anomalous VOR indications attributed to a passenger's pager
False GPWS alerts due to a faulty radio altimeter connector
Inflight separation of a B-757 over-wing emergency escape slide
False TCAS II traffic and resolution advisories in an A-320
Inflight separation of a B-727-200 emergency exit foldout step
June 1998 Report Intake
 Air Carrier Pilots 2,118
 General Aviation Pilots 796
 Controllers 55
 Cabin/Mechanics/Military/Other 72
 TOTAL 3,041