The FAA has issued an Information for Operators (InFO) warning pilots not to paint pitot tubes.
According to the FAA, an InFO “contains valuable information for operators that should help them meet certain administrative, regulatory, or operational requirements with relatively low urgency or impact on safety.”
The latest InFO, dated Aug. 18, informs aircraft operators of the potential for pitot-static system malfunctions after an aircraft is repainted. The advisory came about after a CFI applicant arrived for his evaluation with an aircraft with a painted pitot tube. When questioned about the painted pitot tube, the applicant was unaware of any potential for malfunction.
Manufacturers typically deliver aircraft with unpainted pitot tubes with the expectation that the pitot tubes will remain as delivered, according to the FAA. “Painters and/or maintenance personnel may not be aware of the effects of inappropriately applied paint to critical orifices and/or the performance of the system,” the InFO notes.
“Painting these instruments may possibly cause unreliable instrument readings or other hazards,” it continues.
The InFO’s recommended action states that “Persons engaged in repainting of aircraft and/or return to service of aircraft after painting should follow the manufacturers’ recommendation concerning painting of pitot tubes and/or any other component delivered from the manufacturer unpainted. If uncertain, the manufacturer should be contacted for information about a specific aircraft or component.”
Questions and comments on this InFO can be addressed to the FAA’s Aircraft Maintenance Division, General Aviation Branch, 202-385-6435.
For more information: FAA.gov.