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Remember your pre flight checks!


alanhinsaudi
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I had a problem with my PAP, no one to blame but myself. Late from work rushed the pre-flight checks that I normally carry out very thoroughly, and launched. Once in the air I usually do a quick once over on everything only to find to my horror that the retaining pin for the left front turnbuckle that attaches the harness to the swinging arm had worked loose and was half out of the hole, only the asymmetric pressure of my weight in the harness against the lift from the wing keeping it in place. A quick circuit to land, keeping a keen eye on the pin, tightened up the pin and launched again. However, this really shook me up and I was extremely angry with myself as I know better than that. Never, never, never short cut your pre-flight checks however little time you have as you may not live to regret it!

Also this should not have happened as I always preach the use of secondary locking devices, something I know I should have done(practice what you preach) but I've relied on my pre-flight checks to ensure an incident such as this would not happen. More fool me!

This is a classic human factors failure and as a champion human factors training for aircraft maintenance engineers it is extremely embarrassing but reporting incidents such as this is key to making our sport safer. Perhaps secondary locking devices should be fitted as standard from the factory?

I know HE now fit a retaining pin on the swing arm retaining bolt to prevent it becoming lose, perhaps PAP might learn from this.

Alan

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well done or piping up and producing real time evidence of our collective fallibility as 'ooman beans.

Why on earth aviation practice form other areas has not percolated across to paramotoring I don't know. Elsewhere the principle of, "If it can happen, it will happen" is well engrained and locking wire is used extensively to secure critical parts that 'can' work lose.

locking-wire-2.jpg

It comes in all sizes and a pair of 'wire locking pliers' makes the job neat, even fun to do.

pliers.jpg

Turn-buckles and shackles even have the eyes built in to them to facilitate it.

20081215-mua24refrr2dy5ng66gwg87tnb.jpg

I post this info for those who are unfamiliar....

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I like the HE method and I had planned use this on my PAP. Locking wire would work very well and is used extensively on aircraft but it is sharp and could damage your wing, or your person, if it/you comes into contact with it unless you cover the end with heavy duty electrical heat shrink insulation. I have also seen cable ties used but this is not something I would use myself.

Alan

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After my prop incident :? I spend 5 minutes doing full checks on everything that can come loose before and after flying. This means the motor has been checked twice before its next flight. I also carry a 6mm allen key in my pocket and if I land during an XC flight I check my prop bolts again as the prop is new and I'm paranoid that it changes dimensions slightly depending on air temp and humidity levels.

I used loctite on the threads of my shackle pins plus cable ties as a back-up.

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Are there recommendations on how many hours shackles should be used before replacing?

If you mean carabiners, there has been much discussion on this, but generally it seems good practice to replace every couple of years for conventional 'gate' types.

The Charly 'Pin Loc' variety are lifed at ten years with an unlimited number of load cycles, which is one of the reasons I've just switched to them. The other reason is that you stand half a chance of releasing them under load, if for example you are being dragged.

If you mean screw up shackles, then I would think comparable to the pin loc's as they are not subject to flex fatigue.

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