Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has revealed that unacceptable aircraft tyre-wheel maintenance by aircraft maintenance personnel and non-compliance with standards operational practices by flight crew cause frequent aircraft tyre bursts in the country which pose safety risks to air passengers.
The Director-General of NCAA Captain Musa Nuhu who expressed worry over the development stated this in a letter he addressed to airline owners and operators last week on how to arrest the situation.
According to NCAA, a tyre’s safe performance is jeopardized when it experiences overheating or damage by foreign objects, when there is chemical reaction between atmospheric oxygen and volatile gases from the tyre inner liners producing burst, continued use of tyres that have worn beyond limit or that were retreaded and aircraft tyre heating especially in hot weather operations.
It noted that multiple operations in close succession before the tyre can cool down rapidly elevate tyre temperature while retreading of aircraft tyres are common and are more at risk to tyre heating problems than original tread tyres.
“The authority has become aware increasingly aware of the frequent occurrences of tyre burst during operations. Investigations into these occurrences have revealed factors which, inter alia, include unacceptable aircraft tyre-wheel maintenance practices by aircraft maintenance personnel, and non-compliance with standard operational practices by flight crew whenever incidents of aircraft tyre busts occur during operations.
“A lot of major air mishaps have been attributed to aircraft tyre bursts. Debris from these explosions often ruptures fuel lines, hydraulic lines, electrical lines and air conditioning ducts installed near the wheel well. Despite the safety risks in tyre bursts, the authority has report of instances where airline pilot continued to taxis an aircraft after experiencing tyre bursts,” said NCAA.
To guide against tyre burst, NCAA recommended that pilots and airlines operators/owners must use only tyres and wheels assembled/repaired/stored in accordance with current instructions by manufacturers, follow the recommendations and procedures in the aircraft AAM and/or wheel manufacturer’s Component Maintenance Manual, have a well documented tyre retread policy, flight crew must follow instructions recommended by aircraft manufacturers as may be contained in the Pilots Operating Handbook and flight crew should allow tyre cooling periods during transit stops.
“This letter provides information and guidance to all aircraft owners/operators regarding recommended tyre care maintenance practices needed to assure the continued airworthiness of aircraft. It also provides guidance on those operational practices necessary to maintain safe aircraft operation in the event of tyre burst while in service.
”All aircraft owners and operators are required to ensure strict compliance with these requirements or may elect to comply with any other alternative means of compliance approved by it, said the letter signed by Engineer K.I Ajiboye, Director of Airworthiness Standards.