FAA Flight Standards Corner

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 Recent events within the rotorcraft community indicate that we should all be aware of the following best practices:


Importance of following maintenance guidelines – The inconsistent use and interpretation of aircraft maintenance documentation is a known safety issue in the aviation industry. Failure to follow maintenance procedures is considered one of the most pervasive human factors issues in aviation maintenance. Globally, accidents and incidents illustrate that noncompliance with maintenance procedures can cause accidents and incidents through all sectors of aviation. Yet, despite routinely being identified as a concern, non-adherence to maintenance procedures continues to persist as a safety issue. It is imperative for maintenance technicians, pilots, and operators to comply with aircraft maintenance and operational documents.

Reducing the normalization of rotorcraft doors opening in flight

A rotorcraft door opening in flight can create a potentially hazardous situation. Pilots and operators who do not fully appreciate this risk may consider doors opening in flight to be normal. This can lead to the under-reporting of such events, inadequate investigations of the causes, and an increase in the risk of accidents and incidents. Non-reported events are lost opportunities to remedy any defects in structural latching systems and operational checklist. Proper reporting may prevent accidents and incidents from occurring. It is highly recommended that pilots and operators document all door opening events to their maintenance team for proper investigation and corrective actions.

Proper security of passengers and cargo – Unsecure items can become flying projectiles during an abrupt stop or when turbulent air is encountered, with the possibility of causing severe injuries to occupants or damage to the aircraft. In the event of a door opening in flight, there is a high risk of unsecure items exiting the cabin and compromising the safety of flight. It is highly recommended that pilots and operators use sound judgement and security practice for securing passengers and cargo.