Electrical System Know-How
Don’t rely on what you think you should do—know what to do. What you don’t know may hurt or even kill you, like it did the NASCAR crew on July 10, 2007. Read on to understand how the accident could have been prevented, and tap additional resources to tackle electrical issues.
NTSB Member Statement—NASCAR Accident
Member Robert L. Sumwalt, concurring:
…..Failures on NASCAR's part allowed an un-airworthy aircraft to be dispatched and flown with a known maintenance discrepancy that directly led to the crash. Examples of NASCAR not having adequate procedures include:
· No communication procedures for providing flight operations personnel (pilots and schedulers) with airplane airworthiness information.
· No specific procedure for the director of maintenance to communicate maintenance status of an aircraft to anyone else within NASCAR.
· No system through which any individual, including the director of maintenance, could remove an aircraft from flight status because of an airworthiness concern.
· No procedure spelled out for a pilot to determine airworthiness before flight. Instead, the organization relied on an informal procedure where in most cases (not all), a pilot would attempt to determine airworthiness by a preflight fact sheet taped to the airplane with highlighted items signed off by a mechanic.
And for procedures that were in a manual, there was widespread evidence that many of those procedures were not followed. Of important note—when NTSB investigators interviewed the director of aviation after the accident, he could not readily locate the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual. ….
Visit the ASI Accident Database for additional details
(Search NTSB Number NYC07MA162)
This course will help you recognize the symptoms of aircraft aging, understand its impact, and mitigate the risks (approx. 45-60 minutes). Take the Course>>
Although in-flight electrical fires are extremely rare, they can happen at any time—and they can be disastrous, as proven in the 2007 fatal accident involving a Cessna 310 in Sanford, FL. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and take action if you experience this type of event. Download it! (PDF file—487KB)
by Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Foundation President
An in-flight electrical fire is one of the worst emergencies that can confront a pilot. Fortunately, they are rare. Like many critical faults, it may start slowly at first and then build very quickly into an unrecoverable situation. Read More>>
by Martin Gomez
On the third cycle, a puff of smoke and a shower of sparks erupted from behind the panel. I turned toward Clarksburg, now about 20 miles away, started a descent, and called approach. "Mayday, mayday, mayday, Lifeguard Cessna Four-Eight-Five-Seven-Victor. We have an electrical fire; we'll need a descent into Clarksburg." Read More>>
Updated Tuesday, April 21, 2009