July 2020

1/. Fitting of Aftermarket Oil Coolers to Rotax Powered Aircraft.

In December 2019, a pilot flying an Airborne XT-912 WM aircraft, suffered an inflight loss of oil pressure followed by engine failure.
This resulted in an emergency landing in which the aircraft sustained considerable damage.
The pilot escaped serious injury.
 
Since that report was received, we have received notification of a very similar incident. In this case, the aircraft did not suffer any damage and the pilot was not injured.
In both cases, the pilots had fitted larger capacity aftermarket Rotax oil coolers to their aircraft. These coolers had failed.
 
All pilots should be aware that they cannot modify their aircraft unless the modification is approved by the manufacturer.
This includes parts from the engine manufacturer that are not the same part number as that fitted by the aircraft manufacturer.
Doing so will place the aircraft outside of certification and may lead to insurance being voided.

Any proposed modifications to an aircraft must be sent to the manufacturer for approval.
The proposal must include a detailed description, drawings, and photographs so the manufacturer can understand what the modification entails
and enable a determination as to whether the modification complies with all relevant design standards.
 
Owners of Rotax 912 powered aircraft should refer to the following Service Information from Rotax, particularly the Notice at 1.1:
https://legacy.rotaxowner.com/si_tb_info/serviceinfo/si-pac-014.pdf
 

2/. Failure of PG Tandem Spreader Bars.

SAFA has been made aware of an accident that occurred in France on July 14, in which a tandem PG pilot and passenger perished.
The spreader bar failed at the connection point with the glider, leading to the complete separation of the pilot and passenger from the wing.
 
The report from the FFVL (Federation Francaise de Vol Libre) suggests that the age of the spreaders was probably the cause of the failure.
The FFVL, and indeed the SAFA, recommends that all tandem pilots conduct an inspection of their spreader bars, or have them inspected by a professional member.
These should be replaced if there are any visible signs of wear or damage, if they have more than 500 hours of use, or if they are more than 5 years old.

The SAFA takes this opportunity to remind all pilots of the importance of conducting regular checks of their equipment and particularly of tandem equipment.