FAA NEWS

Aluminum propeller blades can be susceptible to fatigue, cracking, and fracture if a small nick, pit, or corrosion on the surface or edge is not found and repaired during preflight inspection or maintenance. Such damage can concentrate stress from normal airplane operation loads, resulting in fatigue crack initiation and growth followed by propeller blade fracture. Aluminum is more commonly used for airplane propeller blades than composite propeller blades or wood. Fatigue cracking and fracture of a propeller blade can damage the airframe, and engine, and cause a possible loss of control. Airplanes utilized for aerial application and coastal operations, as well as those operating on unimproved airstrips, are particularly vulnerable to propeller blade damage. Exposure to chemicals, salt-laden moisture, and loose rocks or debris significantly increases the risk of nicking, corrosion, and fatigue cracking, potentially leading to propeller blade fracture. Any airplane operating on an unimproved or backcountry airstrip is also at high risk for propeller blade damage because loose rocks, gravel, or debris on unimproved airstrips can create small nicks on aluminum propeller blades that can turn into large fatigue cracks. Failure to strictly adhere to the manufacturer-recommended overhaul schedules for aluminum propeller blades can have severe consequences. It can lead to the development of undetected fatigue cracks, which, if left unaddressed, can result in dangerous blade separation. The full NTSB Safety Alert with related accidents/incidents and resources can be accessed here. For More Information: Visit the National Transportation Safety Board
FAAST Blast — Week of May 13 - 19, 2024 Biweekly FAA Safety Briefing News Update   NTSB Safety Alert: Aluminum Propeller Blades The NTSB has investigated several accidents and incidents where a failure to properly inspect and repair small damage to aluminum propeller blades resulted in propeller blade fatigue cracking and fractures. Aluminum propeller blades can be susceptible to fatigue cracking and fracture if a small nick, pit, or corrosion on the surface or edge is not found and repaired during preflight inspection or maintenance. Such damage can concentrate stress from normal airplane operation loads, resulting in fatigue crack initiation and growth followed by propeller blade fracture. To address this issue, the NTSB recently issued SA090, available at https://www.ntsb.gov/Advocacy/safety-alerts/Documents/SA090.pdf. The alert directs owners, operators, and pilots to inspect all areas of the propeller blade, including the back/face side of the blade and the leading edge, for damage such as nicks or corrosion. Any findings should be referred to a qualified mechanic for inspection and repaired before further flight. For additional information, review AC 20-37E, Aircraft Propeller Maintenance and AC 43.13-1B, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices – Aircraft Inspection and Repair at https://drs.faa.gov/browse.   Off Course: One Pilot's Unexpected Journey For some, the dream of becoming a pilot starts at a very early age, but that’s not the only path to pilothood. In a recent episode of the FAA’s podcast The Air Up There, Victoria “V” Ross shares how she went from having zero interest in aviation to becoming a certified pilot and fully embracing it as a career. V discusses the challenges and triumphs that marked her path, aspects of pilot training, and reflects on her experience as a Black woman pilot and how she is breaking barriers and fostering diversity in the aviation community. Listen to this podcast and other episodes at https://www.faa.gov/podcasts.    Avoiding the Perils (and Regrets) of VFR into IMC Flying VFR into IMC is still one of the most lethal causal factors for GA mishaps. The FAA, NTSB, and various aviation safety advocates from industry and academia alike have tried to determine what happens when a pilot finds themselves in the incredibly hazardous situation of being VFR and then flying into IMC conditions. To learn a few theories, and how to avoid them, check out “Maybe Not Today” at https://medium.com/faa/maybe-not-today-e7d0457762aa in the May/Jun 2024 issue of the FAA Safety Briefing. See the entire IFR flying issue at www.faa.gov/safety_briefing.   Produced by the FAA Safety Briefing editors: www.faa.gov/safety_briefing Address questions or comments to: SafetyBriefing@faa.gov Follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter): @FAASafetyBrief or https://twitter.com/FAASafetyBrief
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