Mission Aviation Fellowship

Achtung Mobile Phone: Loose Objects

I was several hours into a tail-wheel conversion course with my instructor at my flying club. During taxi to the runway hold point we heard a ‘thump’ in the aircraft. My mobile phone had fallen out of my back pocket and onto the floor space at the instructor’s feet (the seating configuration of this aircraft type means the occupants sit in front/behind each other rather than side by side).

The instructor picked up the phone and told me to ensure it was properly secured. He briefly explained the potential consequences of objects lodging in the floor around the control stick and the potential for losing control of the aircraft. After securing the phone the lesson continued as normal, without incident.

On the first lesson in the aircraft (and on subsequent lessons) the instructor made clear to me the importance of making sure the floor was clear of all loose objects. Being a tail wheel aircraft, the angle at which the aircraft sits on the ground means that any objects will have a tendency to fall aft towards the area behind the normal P1 seat.

Had the instructor not been on board and the phone fallen out during flight then it is possible that it could have lodged in the area around the P2 stick with potentially disastrous consequences.

Lessons Learned: As well as checking the floor area is clear of all loose objects, I will ensure that my pockets are empty and all their contents are safely stowed in my flight bag.

CHIRP Comment: A good lesson and one we are pleased to publish. Zipped pockets are an alternative to empty pockets; anything that is needed in flight and might be dropped should be tied on.

From a CHIRP GA feedback report

Author: FTN Editor

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