August 12, 2020

The Discipline Needed for Aviation Safety

Episode 33


Flight Safety Detectives listeners ask for insider details and John and Greg deliver! A theme in this wide-ranging discussion of questions received is the importance of discipline.


A listener asked for the backstory in the NTSB investigation of Eastern Airlines Flight 980. Greg shares the details of the Jan. 1, 1985 crash and the 10 months of effort that led to him climbing a mountain in search of the cockpit and flight data recorders. That crash, in part, was caused by the air check pilot not following procedures.


Another question related to 2011 crash of a Cessna 421. That accident illustrated the insidiously damaging effects of lightning strikes. John and Greg discuss errors in the NTSB accident report. A lack of a disciplined look into the engine damage missed the true cause.


The discussion discipline in all areas of aviation then turns to a series of accidents involving Mooney aircraft. Greg has again and again found fuel tank drain holes mistakenly plugged by sealant during repairs of other issues. This lack of care in maintenance leads to water in the fuel and disastrous results.


John and Greg conclude that it is the little things that matter, and a high level of discipline is needed to catch them.

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