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Aviation Safety Reporting System
|airport : sea.airport
|agl single value : 0
|tracon : oma.tracon
|general aviation : instructional
|Make Model Name
|Bellanca Aircraft Corp Undifferentiated or Other Model
|Operating Under FAR Part
|ground : preflight
|instruction : trainee
|pilot : private
pilot : instrument
|flight time total : 350
|instruction : instructor
|aircraft equipment problem : critical
inflight encounter : weather
maintenance problem : improper maintenance
other anomaly other
|aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : tail wheel spring appearance
other flight crewa
other other : 3-4
|none taken : anomaly accepted
Nothing 'bad' happened because the flight did not take place, but it was dumb luck. I had a sleepless night the previous evening and knew I wasn't at my sharpest. I would have canceled the flight if it hadn't been a training flight with an instructor. I arrived at the airport early to preflight and signed out the plane. Oops, there was an open squawk about the spring on the tailwheel being incorrectly seated. I went to the maintenance shop and asked a random mechanic about it. He said something like, 'oh yeah, we haven't installed the new springs yet. It'll take 30 mins but the springs in place are still svcable.' then he offered to clear the squawk. I accepted and proceeded to do the preflight, removing fuel, etc. Noted the spring on the tailwheel was seated weirdly, but assumed it was ok since the mechanic ok'ed it. We wound up not making the flight for an unrelated reason -- ceilings were too low in the practice area, despite contrary indications in my 3 hour old briefing and sky clear conditions directly over the airport, 'but' I trusted the mechanic and my instructor would have trusted me, and we could have lost control on landing. As we were putting things away, the club's chief ground instructor asked if we had flown despite his squawk. When I told him the mechanic cleared it sight unseen, he expressed an interest in 'talking' to the mechanic. We took another look at the spring, and it really didn't look right. And I'm usually downright 'paranoid' on my preflight, having squawked planes for less serious problems. It really can happen to anyone.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: AEROBATIC TRAINEE PLT OF CHAMPION CITABRIA RPTS TO THE COMPANY MECH OF A FAULTY APPEARING TAILWHEEL SPRING AND IS ADVISED THAT IT WILL BE REPLACED WHEN THE NEW SPRING IS RECEIVED AND SIGNED OFF THE LOGBOOK SQUAWK, AND THAT THE OLD ONE IS SVCABLE FOR NOW. THE FLT IS CANCELED DUE TO WX AND THE CHIEF INSTRUCTOR GNDS THE ACFT BECAUSE OF THE FAULTY SPRING.
Narrative: NOTHING 'BAD' HAPPENED BECAUSE THE FLT DID NOT TAKE PLACE, BUT IT WAS DUMB LUCK. I HAD A SLEEPLESS NIGHT THE PREVIOUS EVENING AND KNEW I WASN'T AT MY SHARPEST. I WOULD HAVE CANCELED THE FLT IF IT HADN'T BEEN A TRAINING FLT WITH AN INSTRUCTOR. I ARRIVED AT THE ARPT EARLY TO PREFLT AND SIGNED OUT THE PLANE. OOPS, THERE WAS AN OPEN SQUAWK ABOUT THE SPRING ON THE TAILWHEEL BEING INCORRECTLY SEATED. I WENT TO THE MAINT SHOP AND ASKED A RANDOM MECH ABOUT IT. HE SAID SOMETHING LIKE, 'OH YEAH, WE HAVEN'T INSTALLED THE NEW SPRINGS YET. IT'LL TAKE 30 MINS BUT THE SPRINGS IN PLACE ARE STILL SVCABLE.' THEN HE OFFERED TO CLR THE SQUAWK. I ACCEPTED AND PROCEEDED TO DO THE PREFLT, REMOVING FUEL, ETC. NOTED THE SPRING ON THE TAILWHEEL WAS SEATED WEIRDLY, BUT ASSUMED IT WAS OK SINCE THE MECH OK'ED IT. WE WOUND UP NOT MAKING THE FLT FOR AN UNRELATED REASON -- CEILINGS WERE TOO LOW IN THE PRACTICE AREA, DESPITE CONTRARY INDICATIONS IN MY 3 HR OLD BRIEFING AND SKY CLR CONDITIONS DIRECTLY OVER THE ARPT, 'BUT' I TRUSTED THE MECH AND MY INSTRUCTOR WOULD HAVE TRUSTED ME, AND WE COULD HAVE LOST CTL ON LNDG. AS WE WERE PUTTING THINGS AWAY, THE CLUB'S CHIEF GND INSTRUCTOR ASKED IF WE HAD FLOWN DESPITE HIS SQUAWK. WHEN I TOLD HIM THE MECH CLRED IT SIGHT UNSEEN, HE EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN 'TALKING' TO THE MECH. WE TOOK ANOTHER LOOK AT THE SPRING, AND IT REALLY DIDN'T LOOK RIGHT. AND I'M USUALLY DOWNRIGHT 'PARANOID' ON MY PREFLT, HAVING SQUAWKED PLANES FOR LESS SERIOUS PROBS. IT REALLY CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.