I was wondering if you could please help me to understand something.
How secured are the nuts and bolts of a plane’s rudder and trim section of the tail?
Can it withstand all the pressures, winds and turbulence of flying?
I believe your question may have arisen as a result of a recent court case where an Ohio couple sued Oxford Aviation claiming that part of plane’s tail fell off plane during a flight.
They alleged that their negligent actions had resulted in an emergency landing of a Cessna 441 aircraft because they failed to fasten and attach a portion of the Cessna’s tail section after repainting the aircraft causing it to fall off during flight.
Well, this may be probably a case of poor maintenance of a plane in an isolated general aviation incident.
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered an inspection of more than 1,000 U.S.-registered Boeing 737 jets to examine a potentially faulty part on the plane tail, which it said, could cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft if it failed.
Boeing said the rule was not linked to any incident involving the planes. Such safety directives are common in the aircraft industry and do not require planes to be grounded. It was a precautionary measure to prevent premature failure of the attach pins.
Generally, manufacturers of new planes must follow very stringent FAA regulations before any commercial planes are certified safe for the carriage of fare paying passengers. For instance, on the Boeing 787, the manufacturer had completed the “ultimate-load wing-up bending test” on the plane.
During the test, the wings on the 787 were flexed upward “approximately 25 feet” which equates to 150 per cent of the most extreme forces the airplane is ever expected to encounter during normal operation. (see video above)
The test demonstrated that a safety margin for the design and is part of the certification process to show the airplane can withstand extreme forces such as severe turbulence in flight. Thus, the total airframe of the plane which also includes the nuts and bolts of the rudder and tail must also comply with FAA guidelines as well in order to be certified safe for the public to fly in.
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