A350 pitot probe covers left on prior to pushback: ATSB | Airlines

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A keen-eyed refueler at Brisbane Intenational Airport (BNE) in Australia spotted that pitot probe covers had been left in place on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 moments before pushback was initiated, according to the final investigation report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The refueler, who was working in an adjacent bay on May 27, 2022, alerted the licensed aircraft maintenance engineer (LAME) responsible for the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350’s turnaround and the pitot probe covers were duly removed.

The ATSB has highlighted the incident in order to demonstrate how “assumptions, procedural omissions can lead to unsafe conditions”.

The ATSB found that the pitot probes, which provide airspeed data to aircraft systems and flight crew, had been covered at the airport due to the nesting behavior of a species of invasive mud wasp, which has been known to block the tubes in as little as 20 minutes.

The ATSB investigation revealed that procedural risk controls for the removal of the pitot probes from the aircraft, registered 9V-SHH, had been circumvented.

The report has also asserted that a final walk-around inspection of the aircraft was not conducted by LAME, nor by the headset operator who had started working for the contractor three weeks prior.

Despite this, the LAME certified in the technical log that the covers were taken off without visual or verbal confirmation.

Credit Heston MRO

A warning placard about the pitot probe covers was also removed by the LAME from the flight deck.

“The final walk around inspection of the aircraft was also not conducted by the LAME or the headset operator. That inspection is intended to ensure that the aircraft is correctly configured for flight with all panels and doors closed and all covers removed,” ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said.

He added: “This incident demonstrates how assumptions and procedural omissions can lead to unsafe conditions; in this case, the potential for…

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