Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Tiger Moth AD; Coming to the USA?

You can see my grin.  This shot is from a photo shoot during Oshkosh.  Maybe JK can tell me
the photographer's name.  She cranked out some great images.
Click here to see the British AD.
For the first time I can remember, last November, I actually put in a bid for vacation.  Flying for 121 carriers involves bidding for everything.  Of course it also involves knowing how to work a schedule to your advantage.  This means it is often best not to bid at all.  Yet, this time something big was up.  I wanted to participate in the Australian Tiger Moth Rally/Race, and thanks to some prodding by a friend "over there", I set things in motion.  Then, well, read on.
At this point I would like to go straight to offering my most sincere apologies to the entire de Havilland Community.  Davidson’s Law, three pages back from Murphy’s, says, “Plans made are nothing more than the earliest foreshadows of pain”.  Or in its shortest version, it reads, “The act of planning invites disaster”.  It’s true, and it doesn’t matter the reason.
I can plan a tedious day of to-do listing (marking items off) and our well will get hit by lightning thus forcing me to spend the five best days of the year so far tracking down the fault.  If a day is set aside for working a chain saw eight hours, it will be the coldest and cloudiest day of the month.  And likewise, if I plan to do something extremely fun, a serious AD will be placed on the flying machine I was hoping to fly.  If you want proof, this paragraph describes only one week in my life; this week.  It ended tonight with a few messages from overseas.
From the Vintage Wings Canada website.
First there were the messages from Aussies describing a scenario painfully similar to the one that created the onerous T-6/SNJ wing attach angle AD several years ago.  Put briefly, a somewhat abused and neglected Tiger Moth, operated in ways that were always stressing the airframe, crashed and killed some people.   Next, all Moths were placed under suspicion.
The ensuing investigation may have revealed several things of interest, but ultimately the big finding was that airframe failure sucks.  After that, a specific area of weakness was identified.  Then it was determined there may have been a run of faulty tie rods.  These parts run across the bottom of the fuselage between the attachment brackets for both port and starboard lower wings. They tie the wings together so that the load is not taken by the fuselage alone (TR).  When combined with rough operation it appears they let go.  And there you have the story behind the latest AD set to sweep around the world.
Wish I could have made this one.
Two days ago, friends in Australia and New Zealand said they believed little had been done to discuss the problem with the UK or de Havilland support.  Then today UK authorities published an AD addressing the very issue in question.  Therefore, it seems they have been talking and you can also expect to see it in the good old USA.   If you have a biplane Moth, of almost any variation, you could be affected.  Click here to read it.
Whatever the case, be it rough treatment, faulty parts, or components going airborne beyond their life limit, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  And again, I apologize for planning a great Tiger Moth trip.  I won’t be doing that again.
Maybe I’ll just sneak over in October for something else.  I hear the race has been postponed.
Thanks to Nick Stroud, from The Aviation Historian, for sending me the official UK AD. 

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