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instructor agreed to take it up for a test fl ight and the owner’s seven-year-old daughter begged if she could go along. They went up and were doing aerobatics with the


owner watching when, during a loop, the aircraft stayed upside down at the top of the loop. It began to spin to the ground upside down until it impacted and burned in front of the owner’s eyes. The investigation revealed that the two-cent coin had fl oated down at the top of the loop and caught in the controls when he pushed the stick forward. This prevented the stick from moving back. Somehow it reminded me of the watch and how and


why this could possibly happen. The Safety net in this case was obvious. NEVER EVER


leave something dropped in an aircraft. Find it no matter how long it takes to fi nd it. About ten years later I was changing an anti-ice bleed air valve located on top of a B737-200 with Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines, when a nut slipped out of my cold fi ngers and dropped down the side of the engine. My fi rst thought was to go and get another nut, but I recalled the two-cent coin and the watch.


I opened the side cowls hoping it would be laying in


them. It wasn’t. I searched for ages until my crew chief came out to see what the hold-up was. When I told him, he said it will probably fall down when we tow it to the gate. If so we would fi nd it then. Opening the cowls at the gate still showed nothing. There was no way this aircraft was going anywhere until I found that nut. With the aircraft at the gate and ready to go, I got a stronger light and a mirror and with passengers loading, fi nally found the nut way in the accessory drive area, sitting on an electrical cable connection to the generator. How could it have possibly travelled so far under the engine? Would it have caused a problem? Probably not. Besides, they have two generators and the pilots would never shut down the wrong generator, would they? (Read case study “Flight to


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