Airworthiness Issue For Airplane Pilots And Mechanics That Are Being Impacted By The Canadian Wildfires

by John Chmiel
Wausau Flying Service, Inc.
Wausau, Wisconsin Downtown Airport
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine, July 4, 2023

ATTENTION: Airworthiness issue for airplane pilots and mechanics in Wisconsin and any other areas that have had their visibility impacted by the Canadian wildfires. Wausau Flying Service has had three (3) airspeed indicator (ASI) failures in the last four (4) days on three (3) separate aircraft. All failures were detected during takeoff roll and all takeoffs were aborted before becoming airborne. Upon inspection by our mechanic, each aircraft pitot tube was packed with what appears to be ash which caused the failure. Don’t be surprised if it happens to you if you’re flying an airplane that has flown a lot recently under these smokey conditions.

Attention CFIs: Train your customers on how to fly without an ASI. I recommend covering the ASI and teaching Attitude+Power(+configuration)=performance for their specific aircraft. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, find a CFI who is and get some practice. Pattern work with instruments covered is a great lesson and will make you a better pilot. You never know when you might need it and it seems that recent weather and conditions warrant a review. It could save a life. Call me if I can help you with this: 715-574-3400.

I have never experienced this many of the same source of failure in such a short time-span. Besides these, I personally have experienced ASI failures maybe four (4) times in over 40 years.


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