The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign helps educate GA pilots about safety, including loss of control, power plant failure, and controlled flight into terrain.
Fly safe! This series shows you how to incorporate safety into every flight.
Keep It Locked
If you are used to seeing a piece of hardware on your aircraft with a locking device, and you notice the locking device is loose or missing, it’s time to ask about getting it tightened up properly or replaced. Ensuring hardware locking devices are properly installed can save your life!
A good example of this type of locking device is safety wire, or positive wire locking. It’s necessary in areas where a bolt could loosen during vibration and provides the necessary tension to keep the bolt in place. Used properly, it will lock so that the wire remains taut and prevents further movement.
Vibration is a Part of Flight
Vibration is normal during flight, but keep in mind that it can also loosen critical components of your aircraft.
Loose hardware or components have led to accidents, many of them fatal. You don’t want to lose functionality of an aileron actuation arm, a throttle cable, or an elevator flight control cable while you’re in flight.
Have the safety wire and hardware locking mechanisms installed on your aircraft properly, and check them often to ensure they are taut and ready for flight. Finger tightening is not enough. Your life depends on a properly installed safety device.
Fasteners, Wires and Fast Facts
Safety wire is not intended to take the place of the proper installation of fasteners. Always make sure that the fasteners are tightened to the proper torque first, then install the safety wire. The tension of the safety wire should always tend to tighten the bolt, nut or fastener. Ask yourself, does it pass the “righty-tighty” test.
Here are more tips to keep things tight:
- Inspect your aircraft carefully before each flight.
- See that all fasteners and hardware locking devices are properly installed.
- Safety wire should be tight and maintain a light tension when secured.
- You should notice about six-to-eight twists per inch with a good safety wire job.
- When inspecting fiber or nylon locknuts, make sure the bolt or stud has at least one thread showing past the nut. Turnbuckles should either have safety clips or safety wire.
- Castle nuts require a cotter pin to lock them down.
Do You Have Your WINGS?
In order to keep playing your “A” game, get good coaching and stick with it. Fly regularly with a flight instructor who will challenge you to review what you know, encourage you to explore new horizons, and insist that you always do your best. Flying with your “A” game includes ensuring aircraft components are properly secured on your aircraft during preflight. Of course, you’ll have to dedicate time and money to your proficiency program, but it’s well worth it for the peace of mind that comes with confidence.
WINGSPros at Your Service
Need more information or help with WINGS? Contact a WINGSPro by going to FAASafety.gov and select FAASTeam Directory. Next, type “wingspro” in the keywords field and enter your state abbreviation in the state field. Press search and then scroll down to find WINGSPros in your state. Feel free to contact them or your local FAASTeam program manager or representative. They love to make new pilot friends and help with WINGS.
Did you know?
Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
There is an average of one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.
Check FAA AC 43-13.1b, Section 7, for more information about aircraft fastener safety.
Learn more about safety wiring through this AOPA Airframe and Powerplant brief.
The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It’s based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.
You can enroll in the WINGS program on the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) webpage.
This WINGS Pilot Proficiency User’s Guide will give you more information about WINGS.
The FAASTeam has also put together several videos on WINGS:
Curious about FAA regulations? It’s a good idea to stay updated. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.
The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars, and more on key general aviation safety topics.
The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risks, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents.