Navigating the Risks of Post-Maintenance Flights – Episode 217

Miles O’Brien joins Todd Curtis and John Goglia to discuss two fatal general aviation accidents that involved aircraft that were just out of maintenance. In focus are the decisions and actions pilots and maintenance personnel could have taken to avoid the crashes or make them survivable.

One crash involves a Piper Cherokee on its second flight after an oil pressure line was replaced. The pilot did not do a basic preflight check or notice a five-foot diameter oil stain under the aircraft. The engine failed shortly after takeoff, and the pilot crashed while attempting to make a 180° turn back to the airport. The pilot and a passenger were killed.

In a similar accident, a Piper Arrow on its first flight after maintenance had multiple issues, one involving one of the aircraft’s navigation systems and the other involving an oil leak. The pilot contacted ATC about wanting to return because of navigation problems, but soon after, the engine failed. Two people were killed in the crash. The NTSB found that when part of the avionics was replaced, a required gasket was not included. That caused the oil leak that led to the engine failure.

These disasters could have been avoided with better preflights. The detectives share their experiences and observations of overly casual preflight inspections. Pilots should focus on preflight planning for any non-routine flight and review in detail any work done on an aircraft on its first flight after maintenance.

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Greg Feith and John Goglia, the Flight Safety Detectives

World-renowned aviation industry consultants and former NTSB investigators John Goglia and Greg Feith have 100 years of worldwide aviation safety experience between them. In this hard-hitting podcast series, they offer the ultimate insider view of everything aviation safety including behind-the-scenes facts on deadly air crashes and issues impacting general aviation and the commercial airline industry.

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