Non EASA fleet aircraft: Industry consultation on seat harness / belt lives

Closed 1 Jan 2019

Opened 31 Oct 2018

Feedback Updated 16 Apr 2019

We Asked

For comments on the most appropriate means of ensuring the integrity of seat harnesses and belts. One such option included the mandatory lives of all harnesses for Non-EASA aircraft.

You Said

In total, 18 responses to the consultation were received from a good representation of different areas across the General Aviation community, including private pilots, approved organisations and licensed engineers representing viewpoints with respect to gliders, vintage fixed wing aircraft, gyroplanes etc. 

Overall, the message was clear; 17 out of 18 responses were in opposition to mandatory lives (94%). A number of respondents had responded positively to the guidance already offered in Safety Notice 2018/005 on this topic.

We Did

The General Aviation Unit (GAU) has consulted directly with some of the respondents to the original consultation. In doing so, Safety Notice 2018/005 has been superseded by Safety Notice 2019/003 which has expanded the previous guidance in 2018/005 with key issues and factors to consider when assessing the condition and utilization of seat harnesses and belts. It is hoped that this increased level of guidance will provide further information to competent persons who are involved in assessing harnesses and belts so that they can make a more informed decision as to the serviceability.

Results Updated 16 Apr 2019

The General Aviation Unit (GAU) has reviewed the responses to the consultation. In total, 18 responses to the consultation were received which represented a good representation of different areas across the General Aviation community, including private pilots, approved organisations and licensed engineers representing viewpoints with respect to gliders, vintage fixed wing aircraft, gyroplanes etc. 

Overall, the message was clear; 17 out of 18 responses were in opposition to mandatory lives (94%). 

The GAU is now engaging with some of the respondents to the consultation to discuss this topic further, with the view to optimising the existing Safety Notice 2018/005 and to ensure it is widely accessible and useable.

Files:

Overview

AAIB Safety Recommendation 2017-021 required CAA to review the maintenance requirements for seat belts and harnesses, and, if necessary, revise these to ensure that seat belts and harnesses remain in a condition with an acceptable residual strength. In response, CAA published Safety Notice 2018/005, providing clarification of items to consider during routine aircraft inspection.

Complementing this, the Light Aircraft Association published Airworthiness Alert LAA/AWA/18/07 drawing attention to the CAA SN and highlighting the importance of maintaining safety harnesses in a good condition.

Non EASA fleet aircraft: Industry consultation on seat harness/belt lives sets out background and discussion along with a request for comments.

Why We Are Consulting

The CAA wishes to consult with key elements of the non-EASA GA Continued Airworthiness community on the most appropriate means to assure the integrity of seat harnesses and belts. 

The CAA considers that whilst introducing mandatory replacement lives for harnesses could be considered a means to ensure that an acceptable residual strength is retained, there is a diversity of components, installations and factors affecting degradation which are likely to make it a considerable challenge. 

We would therefore welcome comments:

  • On whether mandating replacement lives for the Non-EASA UK regulated GA fleet’s seat belts and harnesses would be appropriate, either assuming a single non-variable figure or the application of ‘adjustment factors’
  • As an alternative, the CAA would welcome proposals to ensure retention of an acceptable residual seat harness/belt strength that did not result in the mandating of replacement lives, such as the provision of thorough seat harness/belt condition criteria that identifies how acceptable residual strength could be inspected for.
  • Any other related suggestions would be appreciated.

Please email you comments or feedback directly to: GA@caa.co.uk

Audiences

  • General Aviation

Interests

  • Airworthiness