View Full Version : Simple questions, simple answers?

27th May 2013, 10:44


Manually controlled flaps are provided. They are extended by a control cable and are spring-loaded to the retracted (up) position. The control is located between the two front seats on the control console. To extend the flaps pull the handle up to the desired flap setting of 10, 25 and 40 degrees. To retract, depress the button on the end of the handle and lower the control.

Flaps ...... proper operation


The flaps extend but no longer retract due to the spring-loaded mechanism being unserviceable.

Pilots rely on the wash from the prop and/or airflow in flight to 'blow up' the flaps due to this malfunction.

The aircraft is being flown in this condition.


1. Is the aircraft airworthy in this condition; and as a consequence
2. Is the insurance valid and
3. Would you fly the aircraft knowing that this problem existed.

27th May 2013, 17:53
It would take more effort than comes to hand to look up specific regs but in essence common sense would dictate the following responses:

I'm assuming the aircraft is on the ground and we're asking these questions pre-flight.

1. Is the aircraft airworthy in this condition;

Not unless this is an alternative operation given by the POH.

and as a consequence

2. Is the insurance valid


3. Would you fly the aircraft knowing that this problem existed.

Hells nope.

dont overfil
27th May 2013, 18:49
Very few PA28 flaps will retract solely due to the efforts of the springs if there is a substantial wind from the rear.


27th May 2013, 20:07
Today in a 15kt tailwind they retracted quite nicely, it needs a bit more than that... although I had that problem in stronger winds a couple of times, so D.O. is quite right. I also pointed this out to my student as one of the reasons why we park with the nose into wind [the other one being his obvious trouble in holding the elevator neutral...]

I sense you have a gripe with a flying school that does not want to spend the money to fix the flaps. I would point out to them that when the flaps retract suddenly, they do so with a bang and that might over time damage the flap hinges. If these develop cracks or bend, it is going to be a LOT more expensive than adjusting / replacing the springs. Also, the flaps are rigged (adjusted) together with the ailerons to keep the wings level, I would guess that banging against the stops will not help keeping the bolts in their precise position, or whatever is used to adjust the rigging - although I do not know that for certain - perhaps ask in Tech Log.

27th May 2013, 21:35
Probably only needs a few drops of oil on the shaft bearings, a two minute job, tell the owner/school to get it sorted or change maintenance supplier!
From memory i think the bearing supports have holes in them for oil. Makes me wonder how often these get checked.

28th May 2013, 11:23
The answer for me was quite simple - I didn't fly the aircraft.

I'm not griping at the flying school, although I understand that might be construed from the content of my original post.

Whilst the decision not to fly was, for me, quite simple the issues that arise are more profound.

29th May 2013, 09:09
With profit margins becoming ever slimmer due to the effects of the current recession and (more significantly) the future effects of EASA these issues will no doubt become more prevalent.

Corners will inevitably be cut by flying schools (ATOs) in an attempt to stay in business with the consequent effect on safety.

Maintenance items and commercial pressures on instructor standards will no doubt be two of them as this example seems to confirm.