Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.
On 28 April 2020 at about 1900 Eastern Standard Time, after last light, a Beechcraft B200 was being prepared for a flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton, Queensland. The aircraft was parked on an apron that required it to be chocked for refuelling.
Shortly after take-off, the pilot heard a noise outside the aircraft and asked a crew member to look out the window to confirm if the wing lockers were visibly closed. The crew member confirmed, and as the source of the noise could not be immediately determined the pilot decided to return the aircraft to Brisbane.
During the approach, the crew member identified that one of the aircraft's wooden chocks was not secured correctly and was hanging outside the aircraft by a rope.
Figure 1: Wheel chock-tie hanging out of the door
The operator has advised the ATSB that as there is a company requirement to use the chocks while refuelling at Brisbane, they are often stored loose in the cargo area for ease of access rather than in the bung bag, underneath equipment. The aircraft was also being prepared for departure at night, which contributed to the incident.
As a result of this occurrence, the operator has advised the ATSB that it is taking the following safety action:
An advisory will be issued to all crew to beware of the possibility of items trapped or falling from the door while being closed, and also to ensure adequate illumination is used when securing doors or items in the aircraft.
The operator is also exploring alternative stowage locations and methods for securing loose chocks.
The main cargo area in general aviation aircraft is often located adjacent to doors or hatches. Items stored in these locations have the potential to obstruct or impact the security of the door. This incident highlights the importance of conducting a thorough pre-flight inspection and ensuring loose articles are correctly stowed before departure.
About this report
Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.