Some of us might occasionally haul a canoe or kayak around from one lake to the next this time of year.. Or haul or canoes home before winter. I was recently reminded about the placarding requirements. And thought you folks might find this interesting. But, my airplane's TDCS does not address external loads! You are in luck...the Alaskan Region Flight Standards has developed a Regional Policy for "Fixed Wing External Loads". The policy can be picked up at you local FSDO front desk. Be sure to ask for the amendments. This was developed March 22, 1993 and amended Spring 1998. The amendment has an external load limitations section addendum sheet, dated August 13, 1998. This sheet must be carried on board the airplane. The sheet lists different loads, flight test airspeeds for each load, a place for the pilot signature and a place for the certificate number adjacent to each load.
From the FAA
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO CARRY AN EXTERNAL LOAD?
The best way to answer this question, is to meet with your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) airworthiness inspector. Begin by reviewing your airplane's "Type Data Certificate Sheet" (TDCS). Depending on the make and model, you may be pleasantly surprised to find some items are permitted to be carried externally. This will allow you to operate the airplane in the standard category. The DeHavilland Beaver (DHC-2), is one such example. Some boats are listed and permitted to be carried as an external load on the DHC-2.
When your TDCS does not address external loads, you are now operating in the restricted category. You will need a restricted airworthiness certificate and a completed FAA Form 337 (Major Repair and Alteration). The 337 along with the operations limitations are valid only when the airplane is operated in the State of Alaska. You cannot carry persons for compensation of hire. Anyone carried on board other than the pilot, must be a flight crewmember, a flight crewmember trainee or be performing an essential function in connection with the carriage of the external load. As pilot, your experience must be a private pilot and have a minimum of 250 hours, total flight time. You must also have 50 hours in make and model. Operations cannot be conducted in turbulent air and are limited to VFR day/night only.
You must post at each entrance to the airplane (in plain view) the word "Restricted".
Are all external items considered to be a major alteration that requires a restricted airworthiness certificate? No, the most current "Fixed Wing External Load" policy will contain a list of non-restricted items. Any item not included on the permitted list will place your airplane in the restricted category.
That's the background on how to become properly certificated and prepared to carry an external load...but that's only half the story. Carrying the external load safely and in a manner that does not negatively affect flight characteristics is critical to the start and completion of the flight.
The following tips might help ensure the test flights and subsequent flights uneventful:
- Early morning is the best time to fly. The air is cooler and more stable.
- Use 3 separate ropes to secure the load and be careful of the rope material. Nylon tends to stretch and shrink. Poly rope is almost as strong, but is very slippery. Hemp is the weakest, shrinks when it is wet and stretches when dry. Know your knots to provide a faster, more secure external load.
- When hauling lumber of any kind, nail it together to keep the center boards from sliding out. One or two nails per board are usually sufficient.
- Metal roofing should be nailed to a wooden frame. Be sure the frame extends beyond the edges of the roofing so you do not fray the rope.
- If hauling a square stern boat, place the blunt end forward.
- External loads are best hauled on one float only so you can maintain positive control of the airplane in case the load cause a slight buffet of the tail surfaces.
- You can carry a load on either side, but it's better to carry the load on the pilot's side of the airplane. If a problem occurs during the flight, the pilot can see this and land before load separates from the airplane and potentially hits the tail surfaces.
- Tape loose ends of the tiedown ropes to the adjacent ropes.
- Do not haul a load on float spreader bars. This may affect the pitching moment of the airplane.
- A six foot square piece of cargo net is a great way to secure smooth objects such as outboard motors and propane bottles. Lacing the object in the cargo net will give you many tiedown points.
Do not hesitate to talk with other experienced pilots who have been hauling a wide variety of external loads. Remember, safety must be the utmost concern and focus. For further information or questions, stop by your local FSDO or if in the Anchorage Flight Standards District call 907-271-2000 or 800-294-5116 (Alaska Only), ask for Jerry Nunnally, Danny Billman or Tom Eldridge.
Prepared by: Fred Handy, Airworthiness Supervisor, Anchorage FSDO and
Val Jokela, Operations Specialist, Alaskan Region"