Technical

Spring Flight Safety Message

Spring Flight Safety Message

GASCI Flight Safety message Adapted from an LAA note to GASCo  22nd March 2018 – highly relevant to Irish GA aviators also… 

It’s that time of year again, when many LAA members and other pilots ease both their aircraft and our piloting skills out of hibernation.

As a result, in the past month the LAA has been promoting safety advice focussed on two key points:

The first is the quality of the fuel in the aircraft tanks, particularly for those who use Mogas, which in recent years almost without exception contains up to 5% ethanol. It has, since late 2014 been agreed that E5 Mogas can be used in aircraft inspected and approved for the purpose.

One line in the approval is particularly important; “fuel to be fresh”.  Mogas is developed to be used every day in a family car and is therefore not as chemically stable as Avgas. If left in a fuel tank for an extended period, such as over the winter, the more active elements evaporate leaving a ‘stale’ remainder. In extreme conditions that can leave you with fuel not even inflammable enough to start the engine. It can also lead to waxy contaminants that could choke carburettors or fuel filters.

There’s an even more serious potential issue for aircraft which use composite materials in fuel tanks or even ‘wet wings’ where the wing skins act as the fuel tank. On some occasions where stale fuel has been left for a long time we’ve seen degradation of the wing itself, as a result of attack by the more volatile fuel vapours as they evaporated. In one extreme case the wings were written off. As a result the LAA has removed the approval for the use of E5 Mogas in ‘wet wing’ Jabiru aircraft.

Another characteristic of Mogas is that fuel companies alter its blend between winter and summer. ‘Winter’ Mogas is designed to be more volatile, which means it’s easier to start your car on a cold morning. However it also makes it more likely to cause a vapour-lock in a fuel system at higher temperatures. Mogas should not be used if the fuel tank temperature is likely to exceed 20 degrees Centigrade, but the use of winter brews on a warm spring day could make a vapour lock more likely.

The second safety message being promoted at this time of year is a focus on pre-flight planning and situational awareness. It has been noted in forums such as the CAA Airspace Infringement Working Group meeting, that each year the number of airspace infringements increases at the start of the flying season.

The theory is that when GA pilots are regaining their currency, situational awareness suffers as too much mental capacity is absorbed in simply flying the aeroplane. In addition, just as with handling skills, navigation suffers with a lack of use.

We’re therefore advocating the “Take 2” campaign created by members of the Manchester and Liverpool airspace user’s group. Its basic premise is simple; don’t fly right up to the edges of the controlled airspace. “Take 2” advocates planning you flight to keep a 2nm lateral gap between yourself and the edge of controlled airspace or planning to fly at least 200 feet above or below any such zone. The “Take 2” advice is easy to remember and could just give a margin to stay legal – and safe!

With Thanks to the LAA & Steve Slater

Rotax 912 and 914 Engines: Reciprocating Engine – Valve Push Rod Assembly – Inspection / Replacement

Rotax 912 and 914 Engines: Reciprocating Engine – Valve Push Rod Assembly – Inspection / Replacement

Applicability: Rotax 912 iS Sport, 912UL, 912ULS, 914UL engines. For Serial numbers affected refer to Rotax SB SB-912 i-008iS/SB-912-070UL / SB914-052UL at latest revision

Reason:  Power loss and engine RPM drop have been reported on Rotax 912/914 engines in service. It has been determined that, due to a quality control deficiency in the manufacturing process of certain valve push-rod assemblies manufactured between 08 June 2016 and 02 October 2017 inclusive, partial wear on the rocker arm ball socket may occur, which may lead to malfunction of the valve train. This condition, if not detected and corrected, may lead to rough engine operation and loss of power, possibly resulting in a forced landing with consequent damage to the aeroplane and injury to occupants. To address this potential unsafe condition, BRP-Rotax issued Service Bulletin (SB) SB-912 i-008 / SB-912-070 / SB-914-052 (single document), providing applicable instructions. For the reason described above, this MPD requires a one-time inspection and, depending on findings, replacement of affected parts. This MPD also prohibits installation of affected parts on an engine. This MPD, for the uncertified engine variants, mirrors the EASA AD 2017-0208, which was for the certified engine variants.

Compliance/ Action: Required as indicated unless accomplished previously:

Note 1: Valve push-rod assemblies Part Number (P/N) 854861 are hereafter referred to as “valve push-rod”.

Note 2: BRP Rotax SB-912 i-008 / SB-912-070 / SB-914-052 (single document) is hereafter referred to as “the SB” (see link below).

Note 3: BRP Rotax SB-912 i-008iS / SB-912-070UL / SB-914-052UL (single document) is hereafter referred to as “the Applicability SB”

Note 4: Group 1 engines are those having a serial number (s/n) as listed in the Applicability SB (see Note 3); or an engine, having any s/n, on which a valve push-rod (see Note 1) has been replaced in service between 08 June 2016 and 18 February 2018 inclusive. Group 2 engines are those that are not Group 1.

Inspection: (1) For Group 1 engines (see Note 4): Within the compliance time identified in Table 1 below, as applicable, visually inspect the push-rod ball sockets of each valve push-rod in accordance with the instructions of the SB.

Table 1 – Visual Inspection of Affected Assembly

Engine Flight Hours (FH) since first installation on an aircraft Compliance Time

 

160 FH or less

 

Before exceeding 170 FH since first installation of the engine on an aircraft, or within 3 months after 18 February 2018, whichever occurs first.
More than 160 FH

 

Within 10 FH or 3 months, whichever occurs first after 18 February 2018.

Corrective action: (2) If, during the inspection as required by paragraph (1), a valve push-rod having black surface is detected (reference Fig. 1 in the SB), before next flight, replace that valve push-rod and its affected parts (see Note 5) with serviceable ones in accordance with the instructions of the SB.

Note 5: Affected parts are listed in Table 2.

Table 2 – Affected Part

Part

 

Part Number

 

Vale push-rod assembly

 

854861

 

Rocker arm left

 

854383

 

Rocker arm right

 

854393

 

Part installation: (3) For Group 1 and Group 2 engines: From the 18 February 2018, it is prohibited to install on any engine a valve push-rod (see Note 1) manufactured between 08 June 2016 and 02 October 2017 inclusive.

ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THIS MPD/SB IS RECORDED IN THE AIRCRAFT LOGBOOK

Further information is available at the following links:

Service Bulletin Information Release

The Service Bulletin

The UL Service Bulletin 

EASA Airworthiness Directive (Certified Aircraft Only, included for Reference)

UK CAA Mandatory Airworthiness Directive

Rotax 912iS Emergency Airworthiness Directive

Rotax 912iS Emergency Airworthiness Directive

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for Rotax 912 iSc2 Sport and Rotax 912 iSc3 Sport engines (all serial numbers).

Ignition House Sealing Plug – Inspection

These engines are known to be installed on, but not limited to, Aero-East-Europe Sila 450C, Diamond Aircraft Industries DV-20 E, Pipistrel Virus SW 121, Flight Design CTLS-ELA, Diamond Aircraft Industries Inc. DA 20 and Aero AT SP z.o.o. AT-3 R100 aeroplanes, and Grob Aircraft G109 powered sailplanes. The installation of these engines was either done by the respective aeroplane manufacturer or through modification of the aircraft by Supplemental Type Certificate. At present, we understand that none of the affected engines are installed on NMAI aircraft however we have decided to publish this EAD in case any members decide to install or purchase an aircraft powered by one of these engines.

See full details here.

De-regulation of Single Seat Microlights and Powered Parachutes

De-regulation of Single Seat Microlights and Powered Parachutes

Following a long campaign by the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI), the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has changed their stance on how the airworthiness of Single Seat light aircraft is managed. This is similar to the de-regulation of single seat fixed wing microlights (SSDR) that happened in the UK in 2014.

Through the publication of Aeronautical Notice A112, pilots can fly single seat microlights and powered parachutes without an individual Flight Permit. All they have to do is comply with the conditions of AN A112. In the UK, pilots can modify 2-seat aircraft to make them single seat and take advantage of the de-regulation; this isn’t the case in Ireland.

Which aircraft qualify?

To be allowed fly without an individual Flight Permit, the aircraft must meet this criteria;

(a) the aircraft is registered in the State (Ireland) and,

(b) the aircraft is designed to carry no more than one person and,

(c) the aircraft has a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of;

(i) no more than 300 kg for an aeroplane, powered paraglider, parawing, parachute, foil, or canopy; or

(ii) no more than 330 kg for an amphibian or floatplane; or

(iii) no more than 315 kg for an aeroplane equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system.

What are the conditions?

Pilots flying an aircraft using this Aeronautical Notice should read all the conditions of A112 carefully. The registered owner must inform the IAA that the aircraft will be flown under the conditions of the Notice by emailing registration@iaa.ie. This should be done advance of the expiration of a current Flight Permit and certainly before flight without an individual Flight Permit.

The biggest change is that the aircraft won’t need to get an individual Flight Permit issued by the IAA every year. This means that the IAA fee doesn’t apply! The owner, however, is responsible for making sure that the aircraft is properly maintained. The pilot is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is fit for the intended flight. Then, the usual licensing rules and Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) still apply.

Of course, owners who want to remain under the current Flight Permit scheme may continue to do so. The NMAI will continue to provide inspectors and support to members choosing to continue with the Flight Permit scheme.

8.33kHz – Refunds for GA radio upgrades

8.33kHz – Refunds for GA radio upgrades

The National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) is delighted to announce a refund scheme for General Aviation radio upgrades. A consortium led by IAOPA Europe and aviation consultants Helios has applied for EU funds to offset the cost of upgrading equipment to meet new rules on 8.33kHz channel spacing – and they are calling on General Aviation (GA) users and aerodromes to pre-register now to obtain refunds, where applicable. The NMAI is the lead association for Ireland.

Expansion of the voice channels available helps relieve congestion in the VHF band as mandated by SESAR – Single European Sky. Upper airspace has already converted to 8.33kHz spacing and regulatory attention is now switching to airspace below FL195, commonly used by the GA community. The new regulations will affect all radios operating in the 117.975-137MHz band (the VHF band) – both airborne and ground based – and come into force from 31st December 2017. They affect aircraft flying in any class of airspace, once a radio is used.

If the consortium’s application is successful, a refund of at least 20% of the cost of the 8.33kHz radio could be available. This will ease the financial burden for all general aviation aircraft and aerodrome owners in no fewer than 19 countries with the expected upgrades expected to cost up to €147 million. The countries affected are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

For Ireland, the NMAI, with help from the IAA, made the effort of collecting data and submitting a national application. The number of aircraft estimated to require a radio upgrade in Ireland could be up to 550 and the estimated amount to be spent is in the region of €1.73 million. If this application is successful, €345,000 will be refunded to the local GA community during the years 2017 and 2018.

Mark Dwyer, Chairman of the NMAI commented on the announcement saying “The NMAI have spent a lot of time putting this application together, not just to benefit our members, but the entire General Aviation community in Ireland. We are delighted that up to €345,000 in refunds could be available to the Irish GA community to offset the costs of upgrading to 8.33 kHz radios.”

He went on to say “I’d particularly like to thank Ruth Bagnell from the Irish Aviation Authority for the help and guidance putting this application together, her support was invaluable. We’d also like to thank Kevin Doyle, Aviation Services and Security Division of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for co-signing our application.”

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Michael Erb, Senior Vice President IAOPA (Europe) said “New 8.33 radios in certified aircraft cost an average of around €5,000. So, it’s definitely worth making a claim. We’ve applied for almost €37 million in grant funding, which would support the upgrade costs for over 26,000 airframes.” The cost of uncertified radios that may be fitted to aircraft operating on a Flight Permit is thought to be closer to €1,000.

Philip Church, Helios’ project director noted “The timescales for the mandate are tight and the period to admit claims will be short. To increase the chance of getting a partial reimbursement of your costs, we recommend that owners sign up right away and actively plan on equipping within the project timescales. It is a very simple registration procedure and you do not need to submit any documentation at this stage.”

IAOPA Europe invites all GA aerodromes, aircraft owners, pilots and AeroClubs of all aircraft registered or owners based within the participating countries to find out more and pre-register at their dedicated website. Please visit www.nmai.ie/8-33khz-radio-refunds/ for full details. The refunds will be available for upgrades of radio equipment after February 7th, 2017 on a “first come, first served” basis.

New Rotax Engine Registration System

New Rotax Engine Registration System

This CT had it’s engine stolen professionally from Sutton Meadows Airfield, near Ely in Cambridgeshire in the UK.

Following a spate of Rotax engine thefts in the UK over the last 12 months, engine manufacturer Rotax has launched a new engine registration system to try to combat the problem. Last year over 20 engines were stolen in the UK anda further 6 have been stolen so far in 2017. It’s not clear where the engines are ending up but in September police in Italy arrested two men, one from the Ukraine and the other from Romania, after stopping their Mercedes truck with Polish licence plates. The police discovered six aircraft engines and propellers.

Organisations in the UK and Europe are spreading details about the stolen engines but it’s unlikely that they are being installed in aircraft in Western Europe. In trying to address the problem Rotax say “[the] new easy-to-use engine registration system is an essential step on this journey.”

Click on the image to view a full sized version of the Rotax poster

Engine registration can be done by following a three-step process. As a first step, the customer enters all required registration data using the online registration form on www.flyrotax.com/engine-registration.html.

The second step, the end customer receives a confirmation link via email after submitting the registration. By following this link, the data entered must be validated and needs to be confirmed by the customer. The confirmation link expires after 48 hours.

The third and final step of the engine registration process is for the details submitted to be validated by BRP-Rotax.

This new paperless engine registration process offers various advantages for Rotax aircraft engine owners. It will allow Rotax to optimise the distribution and service network according to customer’s needs, customers will receive newsletters and relevant notifications on engines, like new technical documentation. Of course, once and engine is reported stolen, a re-registration of that engine is impossible.

The thefts have not just been confined to engines, expensive avionics have also been stolen.

Since the launch of the new engine registration in December 2016, 320 customers have already registered their engines via the new online system. Rotax has produced more than 175,000 engines over the last 40 years. NMAI members are encouraged to register their engine as soon as possible at www.flyrotax.com/engine-registration.html

EuroFox SB – Checking of elevator trim cable assembly

Applicability: All EuroFOX aircraft operating under the NMAI Flight Permit system.

Compliance By: Required at the annual inspection and 100 hr. service intervals, though recommended as part of a normal daily inspection.

Ongoing compliance: Assembly is easily visible and is already part of the recommended aircraft inspection and lubrication schedule

Background: Some of the UK fleet of EuroFOX aircraft are heavy use tug aircraft operating in conditions the majority of the single owner fleet do not encounter. Some tug aircraft will complete 500 hours a year and 3000 full power take offs to 2000 ft and immediate landing sequences. In many of these tug aircraft one year’s usage can replicate a typical private aircraft 8-10 year life. Therefore, even though the EuroFOX design and production stretches back almost 30 years, the UK tug fleet offers good forward visibility regarding any potential aircraft issues that may affect the rest of the UK fleet.

How the design works

This assembly is designed so the low forces applied needed to move the elevator trim tab are transferred to the tab by a manually operated trim tab lever inside the cabin. There is no tension setting of the 1mm wire cable, just pulled through with no slack and crimped on initial build. Cable tension is then set using the adjusters at the trim lever end in the cabin. The cable runs through the U clamp and acts as a single unit rotating around the pivot pin, the wire does not rotate around the U channel so there is no wear. If the pivot pin become stiff or seized the U Channel will be prevented from rotating, the wire will rotate around the U channel bracket and wire wear with cable fraying will eventually occur. The links below will download videos that will show how the system is designed to work. Correct with pivot pin rotation (example shown is temporarily clamped and not final crimped):
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/48737227/trim%20tab/Clevis%20free%20as%20designed.MOV

With the pivot pin seized or stiff:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/48737227/trim%20tab/Clevis%20lcoked.MOV

SB content: In one particular 800 hours high use aircraft with many 1000’s of take-off/landing cycles, it was noted that the trim cable had started to fray. This aircraft had not been maintained in a methodical and systematic manner and in line with published maintenance and lubrication guidelines. This SB is to remind and inform owner/operators that this is an area to pay attention to and the photo below shows a good example of cable fraying and what may happen if regular detailed inspection and maintenance is not performed. The elevator trim cable is part of the 100 hour inspection and lubrication schedule for the aircraft, this SB is to remind all owners to comply with this and make additional inspections if deemed fit or the aircraft is operated/stored in a particularly harsh environment. The initial aircraft build and sign off of the trim cable crimping along with the U channel and pivot pin assembly will affect the long term correct and safe operation of the whole unit. Your inspector should consult EuroFOX Aviation if not completely familiar with the assembly techniques.

eurofox-sb04-2016

Click image for bigger version

Inspection and lubrication method:

  1. Ensure the U clamp has sufficient clearance to allow the assembly to freely rotate around the pivot pin
  2. Ensure the pivot pin nut is not tightened so as to reduce the clearance in the U channel which restricts movement
  3. Ensure on initial build that the crimp in the stainless wire is not too close to the U bracket and the U channel is free from any burrs where the 1mm wire locates inside the bevelled end.
  4. Keep the pivot pin assembly free from dirt, debris and any corrosion by using a suitable grease lubricant or ACF 50
  5. Ensure that the 1mm cable ends (loops) are inspected for fraying and replaced if there is any evidence of such

Certification: Owner inspection satisfactory and logbook entries quoting the SB number and compliance to this SB on annual inspections.

Tools or materials required. Mark one eyeball and suitable lubrication.

Contact EuroFOX Aviation if you require any new parts (or the NMAI Tech Office)

Publications affected: None, regular inspection and lubrication of this area already listed in the Aeropro and EuroFOX Aviation publications.

Full Service Bulletin can be viewed here.

E-MPD Clevis Pin / Split Ring Installations – Inspection / Replacement

Following maintenance, a clevis pin came out of the RP-4 roll trim system pulley on a QuikR causing a left turn. The split ring securing the clevis pin had come out. It is not known if the ring was disturbed during the maintenance. The split ring which came out was the same “spiral start” pattern as that which has caused trouble before (see Service Bulletin 139). This pattern of ring has no positive stop, so that simple rotation of the ring (e.g. caused by it getting caught on something) will cause it to disengage. Disengagement of the split ring and subsequent clevis pin departure could affect the control of the aircraft.

Manufacturer: P&M Aviation Ltd

Applicability: 2016-011-e

Effective Date: 24 November 2016

Compliance/Action: Compliance is required as follows, unless previously accomplished:

  1. Before further flight, from the effective date of this MPD, inspect all clevis pin / split ring installations on the aircraft in accordance with paragraph 2 of P & M Aviation Ltd Service Bulletin 144.
  2. If the inspection in paragraph 1 reveals any spiral start pattern split rings they must be replaced in accordance with paragraph 2 of P & M Aviation Ltd Service Bulletin 144 before further flight.
  3. Record the inspection from paragraph 1 and any necessary rectification action from paragraph 2 in the aircraft technical log in accordance with paragraph 3 of P & M Aviation Ltd Service Bulletin 144.
  4. Repeat the actions in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 at each Permit to Fly revalidation. 

Reference Publications: See Here

Read the full Emergency Mandatory Permit Directive Here

P&M Aviation SB 144 Spiral Ring Replacement

1) INTRODUCTION

Following maintenance, a clevis pin came out of the RP-4 roll trim system pulley on a QuikR causing a left turn. The split ring securing the clevis pin had come out. It is not known if the ring was disturbed during the maintenance.

The split ring which came out was the same “spiral start” pattern as that which has caused trouble before (see Service Bulletin 139). This pattern of ring has no positive stop, so that simple rotation of the ring (e.g. caused by it getting caught on something) will cause it to disengage. See A below, showing the ring starting to disengage.

Type C is better having a 90 degree positive stop. Type D is used on the QuikR and GTR washout rod universal joints and the most secure type of ring, having no starting ramps and 2 complete turns through the hole. All type A split rings have been discarded at the Factory.

split-rings

2) ACTION

Split rings of the spiral start pattern “A” above must be removed in all locations and be replaced with stainless steel split pins or rings to pattern C or D. The small 4mm clevis pins used in the RP-4 pulley take a 1/16” split pin, part no. FPSP-002. Larger clevis pins take 5/64” stainless steel 316 split pins, part no. FPSP-005.

The ends of the split pin should be trimmed and curled over so as to minimise the possibility of snagging.

3) Documentation

The aircraft technical log must be signed “ Service bulletin SB144 (split rings) carried out” by a qualified inspector and/or an owner/operator.

4) Continued Airworthiness

At each permit revalidation, the inspector must check the service bulletin has been carried out, that there are no split rings of the “spiral

You can read the full service bulletin here.

Eurostar EV-97 Wing Spar Cap Inspection

LSA has received information from two Eurostar owners regarding the wing lower spar cap which on inspection has shown cracking of the paint which may indicate unusual movement of the joint between the fuselage and the wing root (figure 1). The cause of this and extent within the UK fleet of Eurostar EV-97 aircraft is currently unknown.

As an interim measure and until LSA understands this anomaly, we strongly suggest that you inspect your lower spar caps around the 5th bolt outboard of the wing to fuselage attachment bracket shown in figure 1. The lower attachment should look as in figure 2. If you observe paint cracking or any other difference from that shown in figure 2 DO NOT FLY the aircraft. After inspection inform LSA of your findings by phone or email even if you find no differences. Please do not disturb the paint if you discover anything suspicious, as this could destroy any evidence present. A simple questionnaire is attached. Your feedback will enable LSA to evaluate the extent and occurrence of this anomaly.

To inspect the wings of your aircraft in situ, firstly remove the top and bottom wing fairings. Access to the spar cap can then be gained through the rear lightening hole on the inboard rib (figure 3 ). A camera can be inserted through the lightning hole to take a picture of the area. To prevent the camera from falling into the wing attach a lanyard or similar restraint to enable you to retrieve the camera in the event that you do drop it. Alternatively a good quality borescope can be used to view the area.

Until further information is available on this issue, owners are reminded that they must always observe the loading and speed limitations, particularly in turbulent conditions. They are put in place for good reasons.

Light Sport Aviation is actively working with authorities to understand this anomaly and will contact all owners as soon as more information is available.

The full service bulletin can be seen here

cracking

Cracking in the paintwork is evident

no-cracking

There’s no cracking evident in this photo

method

A mobile phone camera or good quality borescope can be used to inspect the affected area