May 2000 Issue

Loaded for Air

Keeping the wings on your airplane means flying within the envelope to avoid potentially fatal structural loads

One of the most fatal types of accidents in general aviation is structural failure, in which the chance of death is nearly 100 percent.

Luckily, wings don’t come off aircraft very often. But when it happens, it will be catastrophic and probably unsurvivable. I’m shocked while listening to some flight instructors who quietly advertise that they would teach aerobatics regardless of the aircraft’s certification, citing that the aircraft had a safety margin so it “wasn’t a big deal.”

It is a big deal. In fact, there’s a rental/training aircraft at a nearby flight school that is so bent that it won’t fly straight and level, and students regularly complain that its “stall is so unpredictabl...

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