Is Tool Control important in General Aviation?
FOD/Tool Control in many GA Aircraft Maintenance facilities can be somewhat lax, indeed sometimes necessary measures and procedures are virtually non-existent. It can be considered a waste of time because 'We just don't leave tools behind'. However, it cannot be denied that human factors will always exist. On top of this, how would a smaller company justify the expense of an advanced (or not so advanced) tool control system?
Small MRO's complain that they cannot afford a tool control system; 'the customer always wants to pay less' for servicing. Well that may be the case with some aircraft operators, but most will be glad to pay a little more to use an MRO that has appropriate procedures in place to ensure the personal safety of those concerned. An MRO can promote good tool control as selling feature of their services.
To highlight the reality of the risk, following is a recent incident reported in Australia by CASA on 21-11-2016:
CESSNA 208 B—ATA 2730 ELEVATOR CONTROL SYSTEM TOOL STUCK. DR 611649156
"During flight control rigging check, pilot checked full and free movement of all flight controls. Very slight friction or binding of the elevator control was identified. The issue was discussed with the LAME who investigated further and discovered an object wedged between the control column shroud and the control column attaching cables. The shroud was removed and a screw driver was found."
This incident highlights how a simple tool control system could prevent a catastrophic event.
Every aircraft technician should have some kind of tool control procedure in place, at minimum neatly organised foam trays that allow for quick visual inspection of toolkits is essential.
The irony is that at Henchman we can often supply a quality toolkit including foam cutouts for less than what a lot of engineers will pay for tools only.