Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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The NTSB, the FAA, and me

CNN reports that the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency that investigates aircraft accidents in the US, has sent a letter to the FAA urgently recommending that all Zodiac CH601XL aircraft be grounded until an aerodynamic issue they claim is reponsible for several inflight breakups of the airplane has been corrected. They also sent a letter to ASTM International, the body that sets the standards under which the Zodiac is certified for flight, recommending changes in those standards.

The FAA, in a reply to the story on the AVweb news site, says that it has no immediate plans to call for the airplanes to be grounded.

Yes, my airplane is a Zodiac. I've known about the issue for several months now, including its possible link to the aircraft accidents. I've also been following the manufacturer's recommendations on the tension of one particular set of cables, and have also been taking particular care in flight to not exceed a couple of recommended limiting speeds for the airplane. I believe these measures, taken together, will minimize the risk of the problem affecting the airplane.

Life is risk. Aviation is all about managing risk. Yes, I could die in my airplane tomorrow. I'm more likely to do it by doing something stupid that kills lots of pilots, rather than by having my airplane come apart around me. I'm even more likely to die in my car on the way to the airport, or in bed, or lots of other ways. I do what I can to manage risk, and then I quit worrying about it.

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