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Opinions on grounding club aircraft

I’m interested in hearing your experience and thoughts when it comes to grounding your flying clubs aircraft?

Do your clubs tend to give pushback if you ground an aircraft due to deficiencies? Do they prefer that you “consult for a second opinion” a member of the board/person responsible for maintenance (often not a technician themselves)?

When you find a fault with an aircraft that you think makes it unairworthy do you always give the club “the courtesy” of letting them know first or do you just write it in the logbook/report according to your clubs reporting system?


In my club, we prefer that people ask for a second opinion if they’re uncertain as quite a few reported deficiencies either aren’t relevant to enter into the technical log (e.g. a damaged backrest pocket) or they are not deficiencies at all. (We had a lot of problems with an clueless mechanic after a pilot reported that a particular instrument light didn’t work when, in fact, there was no light in the instrument in question nor was there a requirement for one!)

However, if they’re certain about it we are quite happy with them simply reporting the deficiency.

But a deficiency doesn’t automatically ground the aircraft — it is up to the PIC to decide. Before part-ML it was actually the case that any deficiency that wasn’t deferred would ground the aircraft unless you had a MEL — but I don’t think anyone cared. Obviously no one would hesitate to fly an aircraft with an unserviceable landing light during daytime even if that deficiency wasn’t deferred.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

You will have to find out wha your clubs prefers. Some clubs (or schools) absolutely hate it when pilots (often technical laymen) write things into the logbooks, as it might create more trouble getting the aircraft back in the air than necessary). But on the other hand, of course, don’t just remain silent on issues. Do let the club (usually it’s technical advisor) know anything you think isn’t right. This is for safety, but also because not doing so could ruin the day for the pilot because he might find the aircraft is not ready for his planned flight.

Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

Often, in clubs you find someone who will ‘ground’ the aircraft for really minor things, so clubs tend to require a second opinion… I grounded the cub once, but that was after one of the magnetos was not working, discussion with an instructor and trying several times. The mechanic did find that something was wrong (don’t remember exactly). On the other hand, the autopilot on the C172 was inoperative for some time, and the plane was not grounded (who needs an autopilot, hei??? no such device on real aircraft :-)), but it could have been if left completely up to any pilot without second opinion…

ENVA, Norway

It is not clear to me how you actually ground a (certified) aircraft. Simply writing a small snag in the book doesn’t ground the aircraft in my book (ho ho …), or does it? Anyway, I think that way too few people write, or inform, about snags. Many simply ignore stuff, pretend they didn’t see it or whatever. Whenever I find something I always write it in the book, unless easily fixed.

The elephant is the circulation

We try not to write anything in the aeroplane logbook – our “club mechanic” does this if he sees fit to do so. We have a little notebook for each aeroplane that any aeroclub pilot can write literally anything in, to bring to his attention if something even seems odd, let alone is broken.

I think it is worth repeating that it is up to PIC to decide if you want to fly an aeroplane – you can always walk away.

Regards, SD..

Why not use a “snag notice board” for pilots only and let “aircraft logbook” to mechanics only?

Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

LeSving wrote:

It is not clear to me how you actually ground a (certified) aircraft. Simply writing a small snag in the book doesn’t ground the aircraft in my book (ho ho …), or does it?

It did under part-M. Not that anyone I know ever cared. (Nor did I.)

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

In a U.K. training operation you are required to have a defect recording and Deferred Defect system. Deferred defects should be done in accordance with the operators MEL. Like most, we use an aircraft tech log system for this.

We limit who can formally raise defects (Anyone can raise the issue, just the recording action) as they often require some interpretation or are pilot finger trouble rather than an actual defect – avionics problems very commonly are people messing up settings.

Posts are personal views only.
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

This is a potentially red hot topic within a flying school/club, for the reasons already outlined: defects reported by renters can be real, or they can be imagined, and if they make a plane un-rentable that costs money, and gets hot politically if the discussion of the issue is within hearing distance of another potential renter or better still a potential PPL student whose ~€10k+ “deposition” is highly desired.

The schools I was at (for various reasons I have already written about years ago, more than one) used a special phrase to disguise that they had an unusable plane: “gone tech”.

One event I recall I mentioned here. Its supposed rectification was faked (it was never fixed).

As MattL outlines above things have got a bit more formalised now since my PPL training 20 years ago but the politics will remain. With notable exceptions with more modern fleets, the planes used are mostly quite old and those range from rather tired through really shagged all the way to outright dangerous like this. That school looked really bad in the accident report on the famous G-OMAR crash, mentioned e.g. here and is now gone.

Great discussion

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
13 Posts
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