View this email in your browser
Special Pandemic Pandemonium Issue

Notice Regarding Future Safety Stand-Downs

At this point, we have all been affected by the pandemic pandemonium.

I am certain that you do not need to hear another “expert” talk to you about the COVID-19 virus and the many things that you should do to prevent the spread of the disease. As an organization that is dedicated to safety, it is our duty to stop meeting in large groups.
HSA is canceling our program of regional helicopter safety seminars until further notice. We still believe that there is a need to bring you current safety information, and as soon as we can find a way to do that safely, we will continue.
Until we can meet again, I and my colleagues at HSA wish you all the best. We hope that everything goes well for you, your family, and your business.
— Stan Rose
Bill Hopper preaches his gospel of Human Factors in Maintenance to the audience at the Feb. 21 Helicopter Safety Stand-Down, held in Fort Worth, TX.

Preflighting the Idle Aircraft

When an aircraft sits for an extended period of time, a pilot should check closely for bird nests, evidence of corrosion, and to ensure the aircraft has not been cannibalized. It's important to know: 
  • When did the aircraft last fly?
  • Was the aircraft stored outside or in a hangar?
  • Was the aircraft run within the past 30 days?
One item that can deteriorate over time is the fuel in the tank, including the accumulation of water and the development of microbial growth. Were any calendar inspections performed on the fuel system during that downtime? Verify by checking the aircraft records.

The aircraft preflight checklist calls for sumping the aircraft fuel system prior to every flight on a regular basis, but if the aircraft isn't flown regularly, it won’t hurt to sump once a week. Not sumping the main fuel tank(s) on a regular basis may cause the fuel tank drain to leak.

When sumping the fuel system, it is important to check for contamination. Contaminants that may collect in a fuel cell include rust, scale, fuel-hose material, fuel-tank material, and water. The fuel should also be checked for color and odor.

Fuel sampling should be done prior to moving the aircraft. Otherwise, the contaminants, particularly water, will be entrained back into the fuel.

On helicopters that utilize an airframe fuel filter, the filter will incorporate an electrical fuel filter bypass indication that will activate an A/F FUEL FILTER light on the annunciator panel. Not testing the bypass indicator button on the airframe fuel filter housing on a regular basis may cause the bypass switch to be inoperative, should the fuel filter go into bypass. 
— Bill Hopper

Operations May Be Slow or Even No-Go,
But Fuel Quality Control Must Continue

Depending on your specific operation, flying may have slowed without any obvious sign of when things will get back to normal. However, it is critically important that we continue to maintain the quality of our fuel supplies.

Often, I am asked, “How long is fuel good for?”

A widely accepted answer to that question, assuming stagnant storage, without any new fuel being added or without the fuel being recirculated and filtered, is:
  • One year for aviation turbine jet fuel
  • Only 6 months for aviation gasoline AKA avgas 100 LL.
Once the time periods listed above have passed for the respective fuel type, you must send a properly obtained fuel sample, in the correct sample container, to a lab to have a few ASTM tests performed to verify the fuel is still on-specification.

Even when we are not flying, we must continue to perform the industry standard tests to protect the quality of our fuel. We must continue to sump fuel tanks to remove water and particulate, as well as recirculate the fuel in order to sump filter vessels under pressure. Simply recirculating the fuel and performing the industry standard tests will go a long way toward avoiding problems associated with stagnation.

When performing fuel storage tank sumps, remember to displace an adequate volume to evacuate the entire sample line and access fuel from the tank bottom. Filter sumps must be performed under pressure to ensure proper evacuation of low points.

Remember, filter differential pressure, which should not exceed 15 psi at the rated flow of the filter vessel, tells us the condition of the filter. It should only be read when fuel is flowing through the filter vessel.

For more information or to answer any specific questions, please contact me at Aviation Training Academy, 281-386-8512,
— Walter P. Chartrand
Sign up for your FREE monthly newsletter on helicopter safety!
Maintain Your Perishable Skills

When choosing topics for this newsletter, we tried to pick ones that would help you through this tough time, when we are not flying as much as we were a month ago, never mind as much as we would like. Please remember that flying skills and the thought process of an experienced pilot can diminish rapidly when you're stuck on the ground for too long.
It is not like you're going to forget how to fly but you might not look as good as you want to look when the TV cameras records your first landing in a couple of weeks. In addition, there are little things that we take for granted when we are logging time every day. Knowing your instrument cross-check, remembering the nuances of aircraft checklists, and reciting the memory items from the emergency checklist are all skills that degrade when they are not used.
In a time of forced isolation, it is important to develop routines that are useful to us as social animals and also might just help us when we get back in the cockpit. Social media and free videoconference options like (try it, you'll love it) make it easy to interact with our peers and maybe just learn a thing or two.

I was told about a group of pilots who get together online every day to spend some time talking about aviation subjects. Playing “stump the chump” with the aircraft manual is always eye-opening and a good way to review useful information. Or take this time to work together toward additional ratings.
As the legendary aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan said, “Any time not spent flying, or preparing to fly, is wasted time.” Make good use of your time on the ground to be the best you can be in the air.

— Stan Rose

Copyright © 2020 Helicopter Safety Alliance. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2698 Alden Road, Box 174, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Helicopter Safety Alliance · 1712 Pioneer Ave Ste 115 · Cheyenne, WY 82001-4406 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp