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Over-Water Risks

Its an aviation clich that your single engine goes into automatic rough when crossing any significant body of water. To be sure, any engine problem while beyond gliding distance from land is a critical problem, even if you have more than one. When flying a single, its everything. Another clich is that most of us dont bother to analyze the real risks of overwater flying. Any water crossing of any significance-and wed put the Great Lakes, Hawaii and Bahamas in that basket-should be carefully planned to ensure risks are mitigated to acceptable levels. The thing is, both clichs are true more often than not.

Airworthiness Concerns

Yet, as with all airplanes as time marches on, wear and tear take a toll on the way various mechanisms work, and better designs often are available to replace them. That's especially true when it comes to the PA-28 fleet's sidewall-mounted fuel selector, the current design of which now is in its third generation. The original design-generation 1, or Gen1-did not have much in the way of a detent protecting against inadvertent repositioning, nor does it prevent over-rotation leading to unintended movement to the OFF position. These characteristics aren't the most desirable in a fuel selector assembly, especially since the component is mounted in the sidewall under the pilot's left knee, where it can be difficult to view.

Our Airplanes Are Aging

The event perhaps most demonstrative of what can happen as an aircraft ages occurred on April 28, 1988, over Hawaii. Thats when an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 operating in scheduled passenger service as Flight 243 between Hilo and Honolulu lost part of its cabin roof while in cruise at FL240. The crew successfully landed the airplane after diverting to Maui. Of the 89 passengers and six crewmembers aboard, there was one fatality-a flight attendant who was swept overboard during the decompression event.

Airborne Hot Spots

The FAA defines a hot spot as a location on an airport movement area that demands heightened attention by pilots and vehicle operators due to the history of potential collision or runway incursion. Knowing where any hot spots are at the airports you intend to use arms you with useful risk management information. Meanwhile, the FAA has gone sort of nuts with the airport hot spot concept. Dont believe me? Check out the airport diagram for Addison Airport (KADS) in Dallas, Texas, below. Every taxiway intersection east of the runway is a hot spot.

More Cockpit Stress

In the May 2019 issue, I couldnt help but note the connection between Key Dismukes article Stress in the Cockpit and Mr. Burnsides observations in Cockpit Communication. When there is poor communication in the cockpit, stress levels are going to rise. It doesn't matter if the communication shortfall takes place in the air or on the ground. Two of the four categories of errors made by airline crews that were pointed out by Dr. Dismukes were inadequate comprehension, interpretation, or assessment of a situation, and inadequate communication. These categories are faithful descriptions of the failure to explicitly define and communicate expectations that your friend experienced with his flight instructor.

IFR Route Changes

Sitting around and talking with pilot friends, you hear nonstop talk about aircraft and equipment. Eventually, someone always brings up ATC in conversation. Pilots argue among themselves more intensely than Socrates debating Plato. One question that new and even veteran pilots bring up is why, when they file an IFR flight plan, that their clearance is usually never as filed but includes a route change of some sort.

NTSB Reports

After a low pass over the field, the pilot returned to land. On final approach, he was blinded by [the] sun and the tailwheel hit vines growing near the airstrip, causing the airplane to stall. The left wing, left main landing gear and propeller were damaged during the hard landing. According to the NTSB, [b]ecause the pilot did not hold a current pilot certificate, nor did he meet the medical certification requirements, he was not legally authorized to act as pilot-in-command of the airplane at the time of the accident.

Diesel Additive Again Contaminates Jet Fuel

After noting that five incidents of aircraft uncommanded roll events with the ATLAS activated have been reported to EASA and the FAA, the U.S. agency on May 24 issued an airworthiness directive (AD) grounding Cessna CitationJet 525, 525A and 525B models equipped with Tamarack active load alleviation system (ATLAS) winglets. The action is related to an EASA AD and is mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product.

Your Flight Service User Guide

One way to deal with this torrent of poorly presented information is to call Flight Service, ask for an abbreviated briefing and query the briefer about Notams for your proposed flight, and especially if theres any new FDC Notam affecting the airspace or procedures you anticipate. Listen to the briefer; there might be some nuggets you didnt know about. And at least youll be on the record when FAAs enforcement apparatus asks you about a TFR bust. -J.B.

Air Filters

Receiving inspection of new air filters (p/n P107336) revealed three out of four had a defective sealing surface, causing the sealing/mating surface to crack and crumble. This defective sealing surface could potentially enter the engine. The defective filters sealing surface has a light-gray color while the replacement filters we received, inspected and found to be in serviceable condition had a dark gray, almost black sealing surface. Suspect that the defective filters had improper material on the sealing surface or were improperly cured.

Flying Your Propeller

Remember that propeller blades are airfoils moving in a plane different from and usually perpendicular to the direction of flight. As an airfoil, the amount of lift the blade creates when moving through the air depends on its angle of attack, and its angle of attack-plus drag-can depend on a variety of factors, including the airplanes pitch attitude. Remember, too, that the outer portions of long prop blades move faster-they cover greater distance in the same amount of time-than shorter ones.

Is ADS-B In Helping?

There probably are few pilots in the U.S. who arent aware of ADS-B and its In and Out flavors. The traffic and weather services ADS-B In brings to the cockpit have proven popular and inexpensive, portable receivers used with consumer-grade tablet computers have proliferated along with panel-installed equipment to bring enhanced situational awareness to even the lowliest cockpit. Yes, the data and information available through ADS-B In is for advisory purposes only-it cant be used in lieu of airborne radar or collision-avoidance equipment required by operating rules.