Four years later...

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by 3393RP, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I came across this entry on Kathryn's Report about a Cherokee that experienced a separation of the right main landing gear during landing. Investigation revealed that seven of the eight attachment bolts for the gear were missing, and the remaining fastener had been sheared off. The gear had been removed and reinstalled four years prior to the event.

    The aircraft had undergone a 100 hour inspection one month prior to the event, and one assumes there had been multiple annuals or 100 hour inspections of the aircraft in the four years preceding the separation.

    This makes me ponder the common practice of having "your" mechanic perform annuals and inspections year after year. While I don't know if that was the case in this incident, it seems very likely. Is it a good idea to have one's aircraft annualled or inspected by a mechanic that doesn't perform regular maintenance on it? Will a fresh set of eyes be more circumspect than the individual that is removing the cowling and inspection panels for the tenth time?

    The idea has merit. Discuss.

    http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2021/01/piper-pa-32-260-cherokee-six-n7122j.html?m=0
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
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  2. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Sure. And this has been known for years. Yet this is not done on a regular basis by the majority of owners. So I think the question for discussion is why don't owners use different APIAs for their annuals every year or every other year?
     
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  3. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Is it too much to ask one IA to do the job correctly?
     
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  4. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    Simple, use the inspection report piper puts in the manual. That’s an inspection point on the list.
     
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  5. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Or to ask another IA not to do the job correctly and finish in 15 minutes?
     
  6. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At least it’s not; “ Send me a picture so I know what it looks like!”
     
  7. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I always used a different IA than my regular A&P/shop for that very reason.
     
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  8. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I think there's a very real opportunity for complacency and repetitive motion by an individual that is accustomed to his relationship with the owner and has familiarity with the aircraft. Humans being the flawed animals they are, recognizing that possibility is just common sense.

    One would suppose it was on whatever list used by whomever inspected the aircraft during the four years between removal of the landing gear and its involuntary separation from the aircraft. That didn't prevent a rather shocking omission of responsibility from occurring.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  9. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-Flight

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    There are so many threads about how much annuals cost and how long they take. I think some owners are willing to sacrifice thoroughness to save money, if parts aren't visibly broken, then there is nothing wrong?

    When I bought my 180 I was new to the airplane world and thought that IA's were a more disciplined and professional bunch. Wow, was I wrong. I paid for half of an "annual" prior to purchase as the plane would be out of annual when I got there to buy it. The IA flew there in his 195, which was used as an excuse for not having an air compressor. He was only there for the afternoon. He did not do a compression check, had he, he would have found the #5 exhaust valve burned. Had he packed the bearings, he would have found that the tailwheel head was worn out. Had he done an actual inspection he would have found that there were 4 ribs detached in the horizontal, and two missing rivets near the right gear box. He even missed the leaking fuel bladder.
    I found the tailwheel problem in the 1st month of flying it, it would shimmy badly over 40 mph, I tried to tighten the nut holding the head together, but the threads were pretty much gone and the pin the nut screwed onto was no longer pressed in place and turned freely. $1600 tailwheel assembly was ordered from Airframes Alaska. It leaked a little fuel from day one whenever the tank was full, I opened up the cover and found that the bladder was from 1954 and the seams had started to crack, ordered a new bladder from FFC for $1000. My "friend" at the time was an IA, and he talked a big talk about how good he was and how smart he was and how he was the best IA around. He did my next annual, and we flew together many times. One day while turning final I heard the clunk out of the tail like I always did when I rolled in full nose up trim, he said "its normal, all planes make some kind of noise". At annual I had a cylinder at 50 psi, he didn't bother to ascertain whether it was rings or a valve, saying "50 is the minimum, you're still good to go". I thought it was b.s. but at the time still believed in his abilities. He managed to do the "annual" in an afternoon with me opening everything up and helping.
    The next year, not very satisfied that after having owned it for two years that it had never had a real annual, I took it to my employers shop. They have 2 full time mechanics and work on everything from helicopters and jets to a 172. It was a 5 hour flight to get there, but I wanted a thorough check of the airplane finally. It was VERY thorough, from my description of the clunk out of the tail, they found the 4 detached ribs in 5 minutes. They found incorrect hardware a few places on the airplane, they found the burned exhaust valve right away. The annual ended up taking 3 weeks, many small items were fixed. I was very happy to have spent many thousands of dollars, knowing that it was finally in proper condition.
    I have since learned how to do most of the work, and what to look for myself. I also have a very thorough and competent IA doing the annuals. I work for him part time in his shop, where I learn more all the time.
    Bottom line for me is, find a good IA, and stick with him.
     
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  10. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Your last line says it all.

    Of course ; how do you tell a good one is not easy.

    I think an Owner that gets involved in the Mx is very helpful.

    They can actually do just about the equivalent of an Annual except sign it.

    Also important is communicating with your IA during the year regarding concerns,

    As in all fields there are a lot of good folks and a few bad.

    Don’t get sucked in thinking a big shop is better.

    The carpets and receptionist must be included in your cost.

    What’s important is the integrity of the IA; not the venue.

    I’ve done Annuals in a Presidential Hangar and ones where cleaning

    S___ off the boots was needed.

    Trying to assure a safe aircraft was always the goal.
     
  11. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you get involved and work with your shop, you should get no surprises,just don’t be complaining about the cost.
     
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  12. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Yes. My plane is in for its third annual under my care. I've used a different shop each time and each IA has found different things.
     
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  13. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just a caveat to determine the IA’s area of expertise.

    A Tech that is top-notch on a Beech may not be well versed in Tri-pacers.

    Occasionally things are “fixed” that were fine.

    I’m referring to items like many fuel fittings on older aircraft are not AN.
     
  14. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    The stuff I found indicated that some mechanics weren't using any list at all. Not even FAR43 Appendix D (or Canadian CAR 625 Appendix B). No details in the logs, no boxful of paperwork with a purchased airplane.
     
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  15. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    If your mechanic actually uses the inspection list should it matter? I provide a maintenance manual if the shop doesn't have it and it has an inspection list in it. But if you can find a specialist, it's even better. They will know likely failure modes and weak points.
     
  16. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    “ Upon further review” of post #1 I take issue with some of the comments.

    It gives the impression that of the 8 fasteners that only 1 was installed.

    First off there are 10 bolts that secure the Assy to the Spar.

    There are 4 Slotted Head Structural Screws ( AN 525? ) in plain view on the upper

    surface of the wing.

    There are also 4 bolts that attach the lower portion but the heads are inside the

    wing.

    2 of the 4 nuts on the outside of the wing are readily visible also.

    The other 2 require removal of the “Cuff” to be seen.

    There are also 2 more bolts inside the wing that are not visible unless some

    structural panels are removed.

    4 & 4 & 2 = 10 in my book.


    The thought that 7 fasteners were never installed is really hard to believe.

    The top 4 holes in close proximity to the fuel tanks going unnoticed is weird.

    The 2 on the bottom do require bending over to view.

    If they were never installed and multiple Annual and Preflight Inspections did

    not identify the issue is unbelievable.



    The other 4 do take effort to check.


    The bottom bolts are in tension and I do find some loose (stretched), broken or

    even missing.

    The upper screws experience different stresses and seem to have no issues.


    One possible scenario would is one shift starting the project and inserting

    the screws and bolts.

    Installation of the nuts might have been assigned to the next shift.

    The entire scope of the task may not have been clearly understood.

    In any case it should have been detected by a number of individuals.

    I don’t think it would go far on 1 bolt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  17. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    The law requires that the items in, for example, FAR43 Appendix D, at a minimum, be inspected. Most manufacturer's checklists cover all that and more, and in more detail, since their checklist is model-specific and often addresses known weaknesses.

    A "specialist" is fine, but nobody has a perfect memory. A checklist, even if you refer to it after the inspection is done, will jog your memory about something that will make you go and look more closely at something, or maybe something you didn't see at all.

    The Appendix D requirements have some innocous-sounding statements that aren't profound until you think about them for a few seconds. Here are a few:

    (b) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the fuselage and hull group:
    (2) Systems and components—for improper installation, apparent defects, and unsatisfactory operation.


    (c) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) the following components of the cabin and cockpit group:
    (7) All systems—for improper installation, poor general condition, apparent and obvious defects, and insecurity of attachment.

    (d) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) components of the engine and nacelle group as follows:
    (10) All systems—for improper installation, poor general condition, defects, and insecure attachment.

    (j) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) each installed miscellaneous item that is not otherwise covered by this listing for improper installation and improper operation.


    So what part of "all systems" don't some guys get? And how about "each installed miscellaneous item not otherwise covered by this listing?" Those sentences demand that EVERYTHING be inspected, and that cannot be done in an hour or two unless the airplane is about as primitive as one can get. Like this one, maybe:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  18. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    Your opinion differs from that of the NTSB.

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
    The improper reinstallation of the right main landing gear by maintenance personnel which resulted in the separation of the landing gear and the subsequent abnormal runway contact during the landing.
     
  19. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    NTSB finding is just an opinion.

    NTSB final accident reports, with findings as to probable cause and recommendations intended to prevent future accidents, are statutorily prohibited from coming into evidence at trial; however, NTSB factual reports are generally admissible at trial.
     
  20. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My point exactly.

    At best; they only expect 80% of the fasteners

    to be Installed?


    Clarification : The other 2 bolts I referred to are clearly visible in the pic.

    The are still attached to the zinc chromated channel in the pic.

    The channel itself looks like the 8 attaching rivets failed.

    During inspections those 2 bolts should be checked.

    Awkward ; but doable with a flashlight and mirror.


    As said earlier; I often find the lower bolts loose , broken or missing.

    It is easy enough to verify some torque with a simple open end wrench.

    Often there is none and the fastener will readily turn.

    Having found this on nuts that have intact “Torque Paint” I believe the bolts stretch.

    When 1 bolt is loose the adjacent fasteners are likely to be in an overloaded condition

    that will lead to there failure also.


    If NTSB is saying the fasteners were installed but never properly torqued is

    definitely a possibility.

    If their message is that only 1 ( actually 3 ) bolts were installed is incredulous.

    Both pilots and mechanics would have to be totally negligent not to notice open

    holes in the wing.

    I have a lot of doubt if things would stay together more than 1 landing in that condition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  21. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I'm pretty sure I said it was their opinion.
     
  22. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for this post and I am happy to hear that you finally found a good mechanic and shop, and got your airplane back to great shape. This is 100% the reason I am going experimental. I've been in military aviation maintenance for almost 25 years as both active duty and civilian. As a civilian I have worked with many mechanics that hold A&P certs, myself included. Some of them I would trust with my life and enjoyed working with them, and some of them I wouldn't trust to put gas in my car. I have only recently been involved with GA, but it appears in the GA world that A&Ps and IAs are put on a pedestal, often for no other reason than holding the certificates. There are many mechanics out there that do amazing work and are amazingly knowledgeable and experienced, that take their job very seriously as if they themselves would be flying the plane. And then, there are some that are more than happy to cash a check and sign a logbook, or even worse, do more damage than repair, as in leaving tools in airplanes, not working to or inspecting to the most basic of technical documents, attempting to do things in which they have no experience and don't even attempt to get any training, etc etc etc.

    I fully respect and admire those that take their job seriously and always try to do quality maintenance. And I understand that we are all human and that we all occasionally make a mistake. As long as we admit it and make an attempt to correct it, no harm no foul. And to me, not engaging a second opinion or set of eyes is a mistake for any mechanic. We should not get offended for someone else to check our work; we should welcome and encourage it.

    Saying that, maybe when I find a really good AP/IA that would do an annual with me, I would reconsider a certificated aircraft. I would absolutely love a Cardinal or a TB10. But for now I will keep tinkering away building the plane I want (albeit a very slow one).

    As stated earlier by @Magman, when you find a good one, stick with them.
     
  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Anyone can hire a new IA to inspect their aircraft. But new IAs can be expensive, sometimes ruinously so. And I'm not convinced a new IA will necessarily make the airplane one whit better. Just because one IA decides something isn't airworthy doesn't mean it isn't safe
     
  24. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Yet we still have owners seeking out the $200/annual that's done in 20 minutes, and still seeking out A&P's that are more handy with a pen than with a wrench.

    This flying hobby is expensive...............:rolleyes:
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    My mechanic takes a couple days, but he is cheap. That said, he's also meticulous and can fix near anything. I am loathe to go to another and wrack up big bills just in case my guy missed something, especially since some of what the new IA decides might not be up to snuff might not only be just fine but also lead to said mechanic breaking something else in his attempts to fix whatever. Moreover, a lot of the expense of that first annual is the mechanic going through all the logs, which my guy has already done.
     
  26. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    An IA has liability to consider. If he decides something is unairworthy and the owner or another mechanic pushes back so that the IA gives in and lets it go, and an accident happens due to that unairworthy thing, he's at big risk of lawsuits or worse.

    "Airworthy" means "safe and fit for flight." If it's not airworthy it's not safe. "Airworthy" doesn't mean "perfect;" there are such things as wear that can still leave some safe service margins, but an owner that has no mechanic training or experience is not in a position to judge airworthiness. That's why governments control who makes such decisions and licenses those people.

    I have found numerous dangerous flaws in airplanes. Once the owners understand the risk presented, they're onboard with getting it corrected. The inspector has to be a teacher much of the time. An owner deserves to see the justification for the repair.
     
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  27. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Cheapest thing in the airplane is the owner. What I've found interesting is it doesn't matter if we are talking about a $30k Champ or a $10 million dollar jet, neither owner seems willing to spend what is necessary to keep themselves and their family safe.
     
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  28. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I met one guy that wanted to do a Progressive on his Apache.

    No problem?

    Turned out his version was to check one area this year, another area next year,

    still another in 2 years, etc.

    On his plan the screens would be checked about every 6 years.

    Poor Orthopedic Surgeons.
     
  29. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Anecdotally the mantra of many maintainers with situational ethics is “the owner is ultimately responsible for airworthiness.”
     
  30. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Exactly. And a prime example of that is on the various Piper spar AD threads everywhere. Are they complaining about the spars being cracked? No. Are they complaining about the cost of the inspection to find the cracks? No. Instead they’re livid about the possible $16K repair cost and how its big-brother over reach that they have to check for the cracks in the first place. :rolleyes:
     
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  31. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    But, that's just it, the IA doesn't have to "give in." He can give the owner a dated/signed list of those discrepancies he believes to be unairworthy and sign off the inspection accordingly. In this manner he absolves himself of that direct liability. Unfortunately, a number of owners don't understand this process and make it a personal issue with the APIA. However, it can also go the other way when an APIA oversteps his authority and holds an aircraft hostage for items he requires to be fixed before he signs. In a perfect world, the list requirement in 43.11 is there to balance out these issues between both parties.
     
  32. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I have a wood spar Citabria that has an AD to inspect for cracking. As much as I don't want to find a crack, I certainly want my mechanic to find one if it's there. My biggest fear in a plane is unanticipated structural failure in flight. My worst fear in a plane is being trapped in an uncontrollable aircraft with nothing to do but wait for the ground to come up and smite me.
     
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  33. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The exact reason I’ve blocked out 2-3 weeks this summer for the annual on the cherokee. Supposedly it’s not subject to the AD. Plenty of time for the spar inspection, annual, and any repairs needed. Besides, I hate flying in the hot summer.