FIRE HAZARD IN RESETTING CIRCUIT BREAKERS
On December 23, 2009, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Inspection Bulletin (SAIB) for all aircraft.
The bulletin discusses the hazards involved with resetting a tripped circuit breaker, particularly in flight.
We recommend that you check your circuit breakers twice before each flight. We suggest you do the first check before
you start the engine, the second one during your run-up procedure. If you run your finger over the line of breakers, you'll
add redundancy to the check by inlcuding your sense of touch with your sense of sight. You might also discover an
already tripped breaker that pops out as your finger jiggles it loose.
If you have a circuit breaker on your plane that has tripped and you discover it during your run-up procedure, we
recommend that you don't try to reset it until you're back on the ramp. Before you try a reset, run your finger over the
master switch to remind yourself of the fastest way to cut electrical power if something starts to burn and you smell
smoke. As discussed in another SAIB dated October, 2009, you should think about cockpit ventilation before resetting
the breaker as well.
We also recommend that at your next annual inspection, you double check with your mechanic to ensure that he or she
has taken a close look at the wiring in your plane for signs of crushed wires, chafing, or other damage. In fact, you might
want to give your mechanic a written list of items you'd like her or him to check so that you're both reminded.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
The FAA has issued numerous safety bulletins regarding carbon monoxide poisoning and the Special Airworthiness
Information Bulletin (SAIB) for all aircraft with reciprocating engines, issued on May 7, 2010, refers to a study conducted
by Wichita State University.
The bulletin discusses the hazards of flying with a leaky exhaust system and refers to a fatal accident involving a Beech
We suggest that you follow the FAA's recommendations and install a carbon monoxide detector in a location that's visible
to you while flying. Even though we're into interiors and the inexpensive detectors aren't really attractive, you can find
them at Aircraft Spruce (http://www.aircraftspruce.com/search/search.php) for under $5.00.
During your preflight inspection of your airplane, we recommend that you gently wiggle the exhaust pipe to ensure it is
secure. If it's loose, there's a good chance the system will be cracked somewhere and the exhaust gasses may very well
vent into the cabin.
We also suggest that you when you do your preflight run-up, you listen carefully to the exhaust note. If you hear a rapid
"tick tick tick," you probably have an exhaust leak at the manifold. If the exhaust is louder than you remember from
previous flights, you may have a leak at the muffler.
If you have a leak at the exhaust manifold, -- or if you're having your engine rebuilt or other work that will require new
exhaust gaskets -- we strongly recommend that you instruct your mechanic to replace all of the gaskets with Blo-Proof
gaskets. They're guaranteed not to fail and they don't cost much that much more than regular ones do.
The FAA recommends that you replace the muffler in your plane at 1000 hour intervals. We suggest that if you choose to
not follow that recommendation, a carbon monoxide detector should be mandatory in your plane.
As always, we recommend that at each annual inspection you double check with your mechanic to ensure that he or she
has taken a close look at the exhaust system in your plane. You might include the item on a written checklist that you can
both review before and after the inspection is complete.
Flight Control Cables
On February 7, 2012, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Inspection Bulletin (SAIB) for Beech Debonairs and
Bonanzas but the bulletin applies to all aircraft with cable driven flight controls.
The SAIB was issued after the pilot of a Bonanza noticed that the elevator control felt different while taxiing prior to
takeoff. He decided to return and have it checked out. Inspection revealed that the forward elevator cable assembly had
failed. Another Bonanza at the same airfield was inspected and the forward elevator cable on that plane was frayed.
Both airplanes were located in Australia.
The FAA recommends a check of the flight control cables along their entire length be done during each 100-hour or
annual inspection. While the recommendation seems like a redundancy to the FARs guiding IAs performing inspections,
we have found numerous instances where prior inspections were less than thorough and appeared to have been merely
"pencil whipped." Thus, we recommend that after your next annual inspection, you ask the shop for a copy of the
checklist used during the inspection. At first glance, the checklist should be dirty as if handled with a mechanic's fingers.
You should review each line of the checklist to ensure all of the items have been inspected.
We further recommend that during your preflight operations, you pay careful attention to your sense of touch. As you
taxi for departure, feel how the rudder pedals travel during turns. They should move freely and smoothly.
We suggest that you check the rest of the flight controls in the runup area. As you move the controls, don't just look at
the control surfaces to ensure they are moving in conjunction with your inputs. Rather, feel how the controls are moving
in your hands. With the brakes firmly set, and if no other aircraft are nearby, you might want to close your eyes as you
move the controls to focus your attention on your sense of touch. By feeling the smoothness of the controls, and thereby
learning that feeling, you will have a good chance of recognizing any anomalies that might occur in the future.
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