Aviation safety issues and actions

Maintenance processes for landing gear

Issue number: AO-2019-045-SI-01
Issue owner: Air Fraser Island
Transport function: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2019-045
Issue release date: 29 April 2021
Current issue status: Closed – Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB acknowledges the operator’s action regarding its changes to the control and conduct of maintenance on their aircraft. However, the ATSB notes that the prescribed maintenance program for any aircraft should be considered the minimum requirement, and when frequently operating in challenging environments such as a beach ALA additional activities or risk controls should also be considered. Nevertheless, the safety action taken by the operator has reduced the risk of this safety issue.

Safety issue description

The operator did not place appropriate emphasis on ensuring the continuing airworthiness of the landing gear of its GA8 fleet, although being aware of:

  • the increased loads on the landing gear when routinely operating from beach landing areas up to 20–30 times daily, and being subjected to a salt-laden and humid environment
  • the axle failure of VH-BFS in 2009
  • the mandatory inspection requirements of service bulletin SB-GA8-2016-169.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2019-045-NSA-046
Action organisation: Air Fraser Island
Date: 29 April 2021
Action status: Closed

In April 2021, the operator advised that it:

…has overhauled its maintenance system which included a restructure of maintenance personnel, hiring and appointing a new experienced Head of Aircraft Airworthiness and Maintenance Control, contracting a new aircraft maintenance provider and appointing a Quality Assurance Officer to audit the companies maintenance system. These changes have collectively reduced external pressures and workload on the maintenance crew resulting in improvement in the quality of workmanship and increased operational standards throughout the company.

The operator further advised that it had:

…started the process for all of our Ga8 gear legs to get NDT [non-destructive testing, in this case a magnetic particle inspection] so we have a new zero hour point to work off across the fleet.

Last update 29 April 2021