CC15004 Airbus - Epilogue

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Report / May 8, 2015 / Project number: CC15004 - D Category

Location: OP IMPACT
Date: 2015-05-08
Status: Investigation Complete

On 8 May 2015 at 1510 hrs (L), the CC150 departed its base of operation for an air to air refueling mission in support of OP IMPACT. Upon successful completion of the mission the crew commenced their return home. Approximately 4 hours into the flight and 1 hour and 15 minutes from landing, the crew felt a significant, sudden vibration lasting approximately 3-4 seconds, and was felt in the control column, rudder pedals and throughout the entire aircraft. The crew checked all aircraft system pages on the Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system and nothing unusual was found. 

The flight continued without further incident and landed safely at 2024 (L). Upon landing, an exterior inspection revealed disbonding and in-flight departure of a portion of the right elevator trailing edge. Damage was assessed as minor. Fourteen months following the original occurrence, two additional elevators sustained disbonding without separation of any portion of the elevator from the aircraft; these were also assessed as minor damage.

The investigation determined that high surface temperature, due to the dark paint scheme, and moisture ingress affected the properties of the structural adhesive between the elevator skin and honeycomb core to an extent such that disbonds occurred under normal operation.

A number of preventive measures have already been taken on the CC150 Polaris fleet, including: the application of a new light-color paint scheme on composite surfaces to minimize heating, increased frequency of elevator inspection, and revision of the preventive maintenance program to include X-ray on a regular basis as well as ensuring the condition of the sealant is part of each elevator inspection. In addition, a study on the potential effect of dark paint on the current RCAF inventory is in progress, along with a process review to ensure that a similar situation is not repeated.

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