Take extra precautions after return-to-service maintenance.

Have you ever finished a routine task and couldn’t recall if you completed every step correctly? Humans are imperfect creatures, and we’re susceptible to an occasional memory lapse. So how should we respond if we realize we experienced such a lapse after completing a maintenance procedure or preflight? And what could we do to prevent this common hazard from resulting in a costly or fatal mistake?

How often do we choose to press on and assume that we got it right, only to discover that we did, indeed, miss a step? I can only hope that, for most of you, such an occasion was a cheap lesson or wake-up call. Regrettably, however, safety statistics reveal that such procedural oversights are too often linked to preventable incidents and accidents. Many of those event causal chains could easily have been broken through a simple action: Getting another set of eyes.

Whether mandated through existing technical procedures or not, asking another qualified person to double-check your work is one of the best ways to ensure your aircraft is airworthy, particularly before a return-to-service flight.

In this month’s Spotlight on Safety, HAI Safety Working Group leaders Dave Dziura from Colorado HeliOps and Chris Young of the Tour Operators Program of Safety emphasize critical precautions to take before any return-to-service flight. Make sure to always get an extra set of eyes, and plan more conservatively for that first flight after return-to-service maintenance or any work on flight-critical systems.

The extra caution will help ensure that future flights remain smooth and worry-free for everyone.

Author

  • Chris Hill

    After an aviation career in the US Army and Coast Guard, Chris Hill oversaw aviation safety management systems throughout the USCG as aviation safety manager. He holds an ATP rating and has logged more than 5,000 flight hours, primarily in military and commercial helicopters. Chris joined HAI in 2018 as director of safety.

Chris Hill

Chris Hill

After an aviation career in the US Army and Coast Guard, Chris Hill oversaw aviation safety management systems throughout the USCG as aviation safety manager. He holds an ATP rating and has logged more than 5,000 flight hours, primarily in military and commercial helicopters. Chris joined HAI in 2018 as director of safety.

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