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NTSB Video, Airplane Misrigging Lessons Learned From A Close Call

NTSB Releases Video Safety Alert on Importance of Preflight Checks to Catch Flight Control Problems

April 21, 2015 - A Video Safety Alert highlighting the extra vigilance that pilots should take in doing preflight inspections prior to a first flight after maintenance work was released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The video also addresses the crucial role that mechanics have in ensuring that a plane’s flight control system is rigged correctly after maintenance activities.  It features an airborne close-call – an inflight emergency on a general aviation airplane that occurred near St. Louis in December 2014. 

The 14-minute video features interviews with two college-aged pilots struggling to maintain control of a small single-engine airplane on its first flight following maintenance work. The pilot flying the Cessna T-182T talks about how he was able to figure out that the flight control trim system had been reversed, and how he remedied the situation in time to land the plane safely.

In another interview, the highly experienced mechanic who did the work on the Cessna, shares his perspectives on how the maintenance error that led to the flight control problem occurred. He also offers advice to other aircraft maintenance professionals on how they can avoid a similar mistake.


“Improving safety in general aviation has been one of our Most Wanted List items for the last several years,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A Hart. “These safety alerts are important tools to share the lessons learned from our many investigations. In this instance, tragedy was averted. It is our hope that pilots and mechanics will take these lessons and apply them and avert future tragedies.”

This video follows the release of four Safety Alerts that the NTSB issued on April 7, all of them focused on general aviation. Two of those Safety Alerts, “Pilots: Perform Advanced Preflight After Maintenance” and “Mechanics: Prevent Misrigging Mistakes” summarize the key findings presented in the video.
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