ETR Damage and explanation of club "Just Culture" policy
During a recent inspection of the club Cessna 152, ETR, it was discovered that the engine mounting was bent. For this damage to occur, significant force would need to be applied to the nose gear - the nose oleo (suspension) would need to be fully compressed, then sufficient force transmitted to the engine mounting to bend it. The plane will be out of the air for several weeks while the damage is repaired.
This damage was almost certainly the result of a landing incident. The pilot was probably unaware that damage had been caused however they would certainly know that it was a heavy landing. As however it was not reported, the plane was flying for an unknown period of time with the potential for a fatal accident if the engine mounting failed catastrophically in flight.
As pilots, when we take a plane into the sky we assume that it is fit to fly in all respects - it is undamaged and all essential systems are operating satisfactorily. Extensive maintenance is carried out on the plane to ensure it meets these requirements. If damage (or potential damage) is not reported we cannot rely on this assumption.
The Nelson Aero Club operates under a "just culture" policy. Under this policy, no punitive action will be taken against anyone reporting an error or slip, unless such action was either deliberate or the result of consistent flouting of the rules. This enables us all to learn from our own and others mistakes and keep everyone safe in the sky. Attached are two links that explain how the CAA operate the "just culture" principle in more detail:
In the above instance, had the pilot reported the heavy landing we could have inspected the plane and fixed any damage before anyone else flew it. There would be no repercussions for the pilot (apart from a pat on the back from fellow pilots for helping ensure their safety). At worst, there would have been an unnecessary inspection. At best, you would have saved your, or a fellow pilots life.
So please. If you think the plane may have been damaged in any way, report it. First action should be to contact an instructor - our contact numbers are on the club website. The instructors will get you to fill in an incident report - these are on the wall in front of the desk at the club. This will enable us to keep a record of any incidents, and learn from our mistakes.