Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Pitot Covers Brisbane Take 2

Old 27th Aug 2022, 03:15
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
If the Captain, FO or SO hasn't got time to check those pitot covers are off prior to pushback in a more practical manner, then aviation has a problem. And it would appear Brisbane airport has an even bigger problem.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the typical activities that occur in the cockpit of an airliner during the last 15 minutes or so before pushback:
  • The take-off briefing is completed.
  • The final load sheet figures are received and the data entered into the Flight Management Computer (FMC).
  • The final performance figures are calculated and the data entered into the FMC.
  • The refuelling is completed, along with the associated paperwork.
  • The ATC clearance is obtained. At many airports around the world, that clearance is not received until about five minutes before pushback. A change to the expected clearance might well require another calculation of the performance data, data re-entry, updating the FMC with a revised SID and an amended briefing.
  • Last minute maintenance activities, including certification of the Aircraft Maintenance Log by the releasing engineer and acceptance by the PIC. That sometimes involves the write-up of a deferred defect by the engineer, requiring the PIC to consult the aircraft's Minimum Equipment List (MEL). The MEL might impose performance restrictions or additional procedures that require amended performance calculations and/or re-briefing.
Most of that activity requires the presence of BOTH pilots for cross-checking and briefing purposes, and it is not unusual for that process to be interrupted on multiple occasions by well-meaning engineers, traffic staff and cabin crew as they provide updates on maintenance, passenger boarding, cargo loading, etc. It is a massive time management exercise that doesn't leave room for a pilot to leave the cockpit. In the majority of cases there are only two pilots on board; a third pilot is normally only required for long-haul flights.

You might like to note that "perving on passengers" isn't featured on that list.

Last edited by BuzzBox; 27th Aug 2022 at 05:07.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 08:21
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
I really don't have problems with my views being challenged. Happens multiple times per day.


That's no surprise.

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Old 27th Aug 2022, 09:08
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Your words, not mine.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 09:31
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Problem 1: At this airport mud wasps can apparently put mud into a PITOT tube within 30 mins of an aircraft arrival. So PITOT covers need to be fitted and left ON during and after the pilot's walk-around.

Problem 2: To fit and remove the covers, (on many airliners) mobile steps are required, making it therefore an operation undertaken by engineers, who need to go and find and bring a set of steps to the stand.

Problem 3: Apparently engineers are few and far between at this airport or with some operators, so tech log completion can be hectic, by harassed single engineers, and double checks not carried out.

Problem 4: Looking to see if covers are on the flight deck is bad practice. The actual external airframe needs to be checked for covers and pins removed, because ground staff and engineers might use their own covers and pins to save time.

Potential solutions?:

1: Ground crew holds up the three PITOT covers and the steering pin to PIC during the wave-off before taxi.

2: Sew long strings to the PITOT covers to enable the velcro to be unpeeled and the covers pulled off from the ground, without needing to use steps.
Or, fit the covers to fishing rod type arrangements so they can be fitted and removed without steps.

3: Both pilots open their DVs and lean out to check that covers have been removed just before push-back. (A real pain to have to move EFB / plates from window, then unstrap and take headset off etc).(On some aircraft, not all the PITOT probes can be seen that way).

4: Come in 10 mins early to read all the NOTAMS, and/or read them again - more thoroughly - during the cruise to the destination airport.

5: Stop airlines offering ever-lower seat prices, necessitating ever more corners to be cut. Make them compete instead on service, punctuality, baggage allowance, comfort, food, etc etc, but not below a defined minimum seat cost. ( Ha ha ha, good luck with that one !).

6: At least do something to mitigate the mud wasp problem. Whatever procedures are currently in place are not working safely enough.

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Old 27th Aug 2022, 10:13
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
At this airport mud wasps can apparently put mud into a PITOT tube within 30 mins of an aircraft arrival. So PITOT covers need to be fitted and left ON during and after the pilot's walk-around.
According to CASA, mud wasps can build nests and significantly block pitot tubes within 20 minutes. Another study found that wasp activity could be observed around the nose of the aircraft within a few minutes of arrival at the gate (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...type=printable).

3: Both pilots open their DVs and lean out to check that covers have been removed just before push-back. (A real pain to have to move EFB / plates from window, then unstrap and take headset off etc).(On some aircraft, not all the PITOT probes can be seen that way).
Not all aircraft have sliding DV windows. The A350 that was involved in the latest incident is one such aircraft.

6: At least do something to mitigate the mud wasp problem. Whatever procedures are currently in place are not working safely enough.
The Brisbane Airport Corporation has taken steps to reduce (but not eliminate) the mud wasp population. According to a recent media release, wasp activity has been reduced by 64%.
(https://newsroom.bne.com.au/success-...asp-reduction/)

In my view, the most practical 'solution' is a Tech Log entry combined with:
1: Ground crew holds up the three PITOT covers and the steering pin to PIC during the wave-off before taxi.

Last edited by BuzzBox; 27th Aug 2022 at 10:57.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 11:33
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Not all aircraft have sliding DV windows. The A350 that was involved in the latest incident is one such aircraft.

Oh right. Ha ha! I am type rated on the A350, but have never been on board one
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 13:02
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Oh right. Ha ha! I am type rated on the A350, but have never been on board one
Seriously?? When I did A350 differences training (A330/A350), we had to do two sectors in the aircraft with a training captain (1 x PF/1 x PM), followed by four sectors of consolidation before we could go back to flying the original ‘type’.

Last edited by BuzzBox; 27th Aug 2022 at 21:41.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 19:10
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Why don't civilian aircraft adopt military ways. A panel in the aircraft where the covers are stored. If a cover is missing plane doesn't fly.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 23:54
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Why don't civilian aircraft adopt military ways. A panel in the aircraft where the covers are stored. If a cover is missing plane doesn't fly.
This has been COVERED above. Engineers sometimes use different covers, not those from the aircraft, in this case due the wasps.
It is usually the case that they are from the stowage in the flight deck, like the gear pins.
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 02:16
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Originally Posted by Icarus2001 View Post
This has been COVERED above. …
I see what you did there!
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 05:01
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
Ah, no I don't. Removal of pitot tube covers should be a simple job. You learn it from hour one of flight training. If you want to turn it into a legal exercise then maybe you should join CASA's legal department.
It already a legal exercise! An Engineer (should) remove the covers and certify that the work has been carried out by signing the tech log for the work, and then the CRS for the release of the aircraft as fit to fly. A legally required signature in a legally required document.

One thing I have been pondering as an Engineer, the usual process is do and verify the job, and then certify for the work in the tech log. In this scenario, the Engineer removes, or observes and verifies covers being removed, goes up stairs, gains access to aircraft, fights way down the aisle to flight deck, gains entry to tech, makes entry and certifies, deals with last minute cabin issue, gets off aircraft, jet bridge off, possible ATC delay etc etc......how long for this process to be carried out? Enough time for problem wasps to do their thing? So we end up with a hole in the process where you certify the work and then pull the covers immediately before pushback.......as long as they have been remembered by you as you deal with 2 other aircraft and deal with a customer airline who is too focused on OTP than basic standards and safety. So strictly speaking we end up with an incorrect process and hence risk to safe flight.

Just to verify also that pitot covers are not stowed onboard large aircraft. In fact over the past few years when parking aircraft we did not have enough company stock in stores to cover the whole fleet!

Someone mentioned having all 3 covers joined together by cord with a warning penant right in front of tug drivers window and so visible to pushback team. Seems best solution to me, but doesn't solve the process problem.
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 07:07
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So the certification of removal is done before the removal happens?

If yes, that’s commercial pressure perverting safety procedure, pure and simple.
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 08:16
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@Buzzbox, well it has appeared on my licence as a combined A330/A350 rating, but I have never yet set foot in the latter, nor done a differences course.

@uxb99 Because a cover or a pin on the flight deck does not prove that the aircraft is ready to fly - another cover or pin might have been fitted to the aircraft. Those who turn round to look at the cover and pin storage on the flight-deck to confirm covers and pins removed are setting themselves up for a massive fail one day. The actual aircraft needs to be checked externally.
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 17:05
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How about tethers suction cupped or similar to the cockpit side windows?
So many solutions available.
Obvious thing is the current system isn't working.
Guess a tech log entry is not so reliable given the numerous cases where work is signed for but not done. (including other topics)
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 23:27
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First item of the Before Start checklist:
"Pins & Pitot covers". Go no further until you are absolutely certain they've been removed…… If not certain, ask the LAME to visually confirm. May take a minute but so be it.
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Old 29th Aug 2022, 02:12
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
So the certification of removal is done before the removal happens?

If yes, that’s commercial pressure perverting safety procedure, pure and simple.
It has been going for years, right in front of your eyes;
Steering By-Pass pin, shown to crew after engine start/pushback.......part of the certfied Transit Check for some airlines.
Final walk round, cargo doors, pax doors closed and locked......part of the certified Transit Check for some airlines. How do you certify for the door being closed if you need to open it to get off the aircraft post signing the Tech Log?

Pretty basic stuff maybe, but examples where practicalities over ride the process. Same could be said for the pitot covers. Leave them on for as long as possible prior to pushback to prevent wasp ingress with removal already certified in tech log or remove them and sign for the work leaving time for wasps to do what they do in the interluding 10-15 mins? I can exactly see how this happened in a process sense and adding in an Engineer dealing with multiple aircraft, distracted by another fault and some airlines' OTP obsession. Recognising the inbuilt issue and having a inbuilt protection is the issue, such as show covers with the by-pass pin as they are all joined together, and crew to stow warning placard which is placed next to the throttles once they have sighted the covers post pushback.

Blame is better to give than to receive!
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Old 29th Aug 2022, 02:18
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So we end up with a hole in the process where you certify the work and then pull the covers immediately before pushback..
That shouldn’t happen. If Engineers are making a conscious decision to do this then they don’t understand how fallible their minds are. Distraction is probably the greatest threat but their are others. If any Engineers are reading this I hope you’re disturbed by the idea of signing them off as removed prior to removing them. I’m pretty sure most of you would not contemplate it.
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Old 29th Aug 2022, 02:30
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"Pins & Pitot covers". Go no further until you are absolutely certain they've been removed…… If not certain, ask the LAME to visually confirm. May take a minute but so be it.
This 100%. Pilots need to stop "helping out" management and their metrics and start creating problems. So often I see pilots to eager to solve problems and take on responsibility that really shouldn't be there. If the flight's delayed until we can complete a checklist properly the flight is delayed. Especially so in something like this where the risk is so high.

Remember that they will blame you for any mistakes if you take on the responsibility and solve problems for them. If BNE flights are always delayed 5 mins to check the pitots are correct then they will soon enough get the message. If you get some push back just quote them chapter and verse of the manual and the problem will become theirs to deal with. Nothing gets solve quicker in aviation than an issue that affects a manager's bonus.
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Old 29th Aug 2022, 02:34
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Deliberate, systemic certification of safety-critical pre-flight actions before they’ve been carried out? The accident investigation report writes itself.
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Old 29th Aug 2022, 06:04
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So just before telling the guy on the headset that your cleared to push, what do y’all say or ask them?

do you ask that all the doors are closed, and the bypass pin is installed?
ask them if the pitot covers are removed too, maybe.
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