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Pitot probe covers focus of safety advisory notice for operators at Brisbane Airport, Australia
30 August 2018

The ATSB has issued a safety advisory notice to all operators flying to Brisbane Airport, Australia, to consider the use of pitot probe covers there and to have rigorous processes in place to confirm the covers are removed before flight.

The release of the safety advisory notice comes after the publication of the ATSB’s preliminary report into an airspeed indication failure on take-off involving a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 at Brisbane Airport on 18 July 2018.

The ATSB found that local engineering support crew placed covers on the pitot probes soon after the previous landing. Inspections during the aircraft’s turnaround did not identify their fitment and they remained on the aircraft for its departure. This resulted in unusable airspeed information being displayed to the flight crew. The flight crew continued the take-off and carried out several checklists before returning to Brisbane Airport.

Several high-capacity aircraft have departed from Brisbane with one of the pitot probes blocked by insect nests in recent years, including two that resulted in rejected take-offs investigated by the ATSB.

The airport has had a wasp eradication program since 2006 and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia have issued advice about the risk they pose, with some operators now using pitot probe covers for short turnarounds.

Aircraft about to be pushed back with pitot covers in place (two of three visible)

 

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