Aviation safety issues and actions

Potential adverse effects of a tip-up canopy opening in-flight

Issue number: AO-2014-164-SI-01
Who it affects: Owners of Van’s aircraft fitted with a tip-up canopy
Issue owner: Van’s Aircraft Inc.
Transport function: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2014-164
Issue release date: 25 November 2016
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The safety action taken by Van’s Aircraft Inc. will, once the service letter is distributed, make builders and operators of Van’s Aircraft Inc. aircraft fitted with a tip-up canopy aware of the consequences of the canopy opening in flight, and how to reduce the risk of such an event. The ATSB will monitor the release of the service letter.

Safety issue description

In‑flight opening of the tip-up canopy in a number of Van’s Aircraft Inc. models has resulted in varying consequences, including a significant pitch down tendency, increasing the risk of a loss of control. 

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2014-164-NSA-013
Action organisation: Van’s Aircraft Inc
Date: 25 November 2016
Action status: Monitor

In response to this safety issue, Van’s Aircraft Inc. developed a service letter for distribution to builders and operators highlighting the varying consequences of a canopy opening in flight, in particular, involving a tip-up (forward opening) canopy. The letter recommends inspecting the canopy locking mechanism to confirm that it operates as designed and to ensure the mechanism fully engages when closed. Keeping seatbelts fastened during all phases of flight is also emphasised. 

Safety Advisory Notice

Action number: AO-2014-164-SAN-012
Action organisation: Pilots of canopy-equipped aircraft
Date: 25 November 2016
Action status: Closed

Detecting an unsecured canopy prior to take-off could prevent in-flight control issues resulting in injury or aircraft damage.

AO-2014-164-SAN-012: Is your canopy secured?

Last update 24 July 2017