NEWS | June 15, 2021

UH-72A: Pre-flighting Lakota Protects Airframe

Pilots and crew,

Failing to secure the aircraft hydraulic crest cowlings prior to flight is becoming a bad trend. And it’s preventable.

The UH-72 community has experienced numerous Class “C” accidents because the hydraulic crest cowling opens in flight and makes contact with the rotor blades. It’s important that you pre-flight your Lakota and make sure the hydraulic crest cowling is secure.   

Unsecured cowlings can damage rotor blades (courtesy photos)

Here are some important tips to follow:
  • The pilot in command (PC) should ensure the aircraft pre-flight is completed by following the RFM and ATM. The PC is the final approval authority for operating the aircraft.
  • Make sure you don’t get distracted during preflight. If you run into maintenance problems during preflight, have the issue corrected immediately, then preflight the area again.
  • Walk around as a crew, not just one person. Have one rated crew member (RCM) (pilots) walk clockwise and the other RCM counterclockwise prior to getting into the aircraft. And if there’s a non-rated crewmember (NCM) (crew chief), have the NCM do a walk around as well. The more sets of eyes, the better the chance of finding a problem. Also, if it's dark, use an unfiltered lens during the walk around.
  • If crews split up the preflight, sit down as a crew and go over the complete preflight checklist to ensure the aircraft was visually checked and all required inspections were completed like it says in the RFM.

These aircraft hydraulic crest cowling accidents are preventable. The next time you climb into the aircraft to start a mission, have confidence that your aircraft’s preflight is complete because you followed the procedures to the letter.