|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : dtw|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Medium Large Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : cfi
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 180|
flight time total : 11000
flight time type : 9000
|Function||other personnel other|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : far
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I will describe an event where we complied with a MEL procedure to the letter of the law and still flew a dangerous aircraft. I reported to an aircraft for flight from dta-atl after another aircraft had been maintenance cancelled, an medium large transport. After checking the logbook a writeup existed that the elevator power annunciator light would not come on when full elevator down was put in on the yoke. Maintenance checked it out and informed me they would MEL it. So, in accordance with the MEL, we turned off all hydraulic pumps and depleted pressure with the spoilers. When the first officer pushed the yoke full forward the mechanic and I both visually checked the movement of the elevator down--it was not much movement, but the mechanic informed me that was normal. We returned full hydraulic pressure and checked again. Same movement--all was normal. We departed into snow and icing conditions to atl. The MEL limit with a full airplane. Upon arrival in atl maintenance met the aircraft, with the switch believed to be the problem, after dtw maintenance called them. Before changing the switch for the light a mechanic climbed up in the tail and checked movement and pressure at the elevator. It was not normal. They bled the accumulators and got the light to come on dimly. The problem was low pressure not giving full deflection of the elevator. I had just flown a dangerous aircraft with no hydraulic boost in the elevator. We changed aircraft and returned to dtw. I believe the MEL should be changed completely. If the elevator power light will not test the aircraft should be grounded till repaired, not a visual inspection of elevator movement. If we did not go to atl this aircraft could have flown for months with procedure for MEL's. You have no way of telling if you have full elevator travel from a visual inspection on the ground. I don't know if this is the appropriate place to report this, but I have had great success with your system in the past for flight problems. With the economic pressures of major airlines today we need this system to keep air travel safe. It's dangerously close to unsafe today thanks to today's pressure for the bottom line. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter turned in report to his company which also is copied to the alpa safety committee, so they are looking at the problem. He also stated mechanics he has talked to agree looking at horizontal stabilizer is not satisfactory to ascertain if system working properly.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR MLG DISPATCHED UNDER MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST. PROBLEM LATER FOUND TO BE NON MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST ITEM AND MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST MAINTENANCE VERIFICATION PROC IS APPARENTLY INADEQUATE.
Narrative: I WILL DESCRIBE AN EVENT WHERE WE COMPLIED WITH A MEL PROC TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW AND STILL FLEW A DANGEROUS ACFT. I RPTED TO AN ACFT FOR FLT FROM DTA-ATL AFTER ANOTHER ACFT HAD BEEN MAINT CANCELLED, AN MLG. AFTER CHKING THE LOGBOOK A WRITEUP EXISTED THAT THE ELEVATOR PWR ANNUNCIATOR LIGHT WOULD NOT COME ON WHEN FULL ELEVATOR DOWN WAS PUT IN ON THE YOKE. MAINT CHKED IT OUT AND INFORMED ME THEY WOULD MEL IT. SO, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MEL, WE TURNED OFF ALL HYD PUMPS AND DEPLETED PRESSURE WITH THE SPOILERS. WHEN THE F/O PUSHED THE YOKE FULL FORWARD THE MECH AND I BOTH VISUALLY CHKED THE MOVEMENT OF THE ELEVATOR DOWN--IT WAS NOT MUCH MOVEMENT, BUT THE MECH INFORMED ME THAT WAS NORMAL. WE RETURNED FULL HYD PRESSURE AND CHKED AGAIN. SAME MOVEMENT--ALL WAS NORMAL. WE DEPARTED INTO SNOW AND ICING CONDITIONS TO ATL. THE MEL LIMIT WITH A FULL AIRPLANE. UPON ARR IN ATL MAINT MET THE ACFT, WITH THE SWITCH BELIEVED TO BE THE PROB, AFTER DTW MAINT CALLED THEM. BEFORE CHANGING THE SWITCH FOR THE LIGHT A MECH CLIMBED UP IN THE TAIL AND CHKED MOVEMENT AND PRESSURE AT THE ELEVATOR. IT WAS NOT NORMAL. THEY BLED THE ACCUMULATORS AND GOT THE LIGHT TO COME ON DIMLY. THE PROB WAS LOW PRESSURE NOT GIVING FULL DEFLECTION OF THE ELEVATOR. I HAD JUST FLOWN A DANGEROUS ACFT WITH NO HYD BOOST IN THE ELEVATOR. WE CHANGED ACFT AND RETURNED TO DTW. I BELIEVE THE MEL SHOULD BE CHANGED COMPLETELY. IF THE ELEVATOR PWR LIGHT WILL NOT TEST THE ACFT SHOULD BE GNDED TILL REPAIRED, NOT A VISUAL INSPECTION OF ELEVATOR MOVEMENT. IF WE DID NOT GO TO ATL THIS ACFT COULD HAVE FLOWN FOR MONTHS WITH PROC FOR MEL'S. YOU HAVE NO WAY OF TELLING IF YOU HAVE FULL ELEVATOR TRAVEL FROM A VISUAL INSPECTION ON THE GND. I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS THE APPROPRIATE PLACE TO RPT THIS, BUT I HAVE HAD GREAT SUCCESS WITH YOUR SYS IN THE PAST FOR FLT PROBS. WITH THE ECONOMIC PRESSURES OF MAJOR AIRLINES TODAY WE NEED THIS SYS TO KEEP AIR TRAVEL SAFE. IT'S DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO UNSAFE TODAY THANKS TO TODAY'S PRESSURE FOR THE BOTTOM LINE. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR TURNED IN RPT TO HIS COMPANY WHICH ALSO IS COPIED TO THE ALPA SAFETY COMMITTEE, SO THEY ARE LOOKING AT THE PROB. HE ALSO STATED MECHS HE HAS TALKED TO AGREE LOOKING AT HORIZ STAB IS NOT SATISFACTORY TO ASCERTAIN IF SYSTEM WORKING PROPERLY.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 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.