A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard
this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer
statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of
"there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation
so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it
all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as
representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have
heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we
might never have considered before, or something that didn't
"stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for
the practical test.
It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers
become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our
ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those
strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow
them to soar magnificently through it.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you
through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are
always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips.
Remember... when it comes to being good pilots, we're all in this
A reader asks: What are service advisories, and are they
Service Advisories, sometimes
called Service Instructions or Service Letters (depending on the
manufacturer), are letters from aircraft, engine or component
makers that point out inspections, alterations or procedures they
recommend be made to their products. These may simply be notices
that a component supplier has issued its own bulletin (for instance
a GPS manufacturer’s bulletin that may affect your airplane),
or the result of isolated discrepancies reported by mechanics in
- Service Bulletins, or SBs, are factory-recommended
modifications, maintenance or inspection items, usually as a result
of repeated problems found in the field and reported in multiple
Service Difficulty Reports from mechanics.
- Mandatory Service Bulletins, or MSBs, are Service
Bulletins, compliance with which is considered "mandatory" by the
manufacturer for an airplane's warranty to be in effect.
Nonetheless they are not “mandatory” for noncommercial
airplanes. MSBs tend to address more critical airframe longevity or
safety-of-flight items, and often form the basis of an FAA
Airworthiness Directive (AD). In fact, most ADs refer to a MSB for
Regardless of the manufacturer’s terminology, however,
only FAA Airworthiness Directives are “mandatory” for
privately operated airplanes. This isn’t to say that some SBs
and MSBs don’t warrant compliance even if it’s not
required. Budgeting for the occasional, unexpected maintenance or
repair is just one of the joys of airplane ownership.
Aero-tip of the day: Different designations of
manufacturers’ bulletins identify varied levels of safety.
Each notice should be reviewed on its own merits when an owner
decides whether and when to comply with these non-mandatory