What do these items have in common?
- Cleaning rag
- A cap from an adhesive tube
- Small pieces of Nylon strip
- Disposable glove
They were all Foreign Objects (FO) found on an aircraft that were used in an old slow and costly process to install nylon grommet edging: the legacy MS21266 grommets that have to be glued into place so they adhere to the edge.
Any one of these items could have resulted in FOD (Foreign Object Damage) which could create problems that run from high risk to catastrophic. Think a jammed flight control, a “frozen” trim cable, or immobile key flight controls like the yoke. A $0.79 ball point pen can jam a flight control; metallic drill chips can cause a short; rags can create jams and or metallic shavings.
Why Keep an Inherently Old Slow Costly and Risky Process in Place?
FO/FOD is a serious problem and is seen as such by the industry including OEMs, MROs and operator/owners.
In this instance, these FO’s were found pre any incident, but the danger and risk is there. It’s clear that the way a nylon grommet is installed is creating significantly greater risks down the line. Its simple really – the industry knows that the more you carry on, the more likely you are to leave something behind.
So why not make this obvious and simple change?
The problem is inertia. We all know the aerospace industry works slowly – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality – yet here is evidence of serious risks that could be mitigated by changing 1 component:
Replace all the glued in nylon grommets (MS21266) with Spring-Fast® Grommet edging M22529/2.
And yes…the product is fully qualified as an FAA-approved replacement part and already has NAVAIR approval.
M22529/2 is a very simple install: measure, cut, and snap in place. Far fewer items are required for installation on the plane. Just by the sheer number of components that have to be brought on board for a nylon grommet, it’s likely OEM/MRO’s are at least 5 times more likely to leave FO on an airplane.
Compare What’s Brought On to Plane to Install Grommets
For M22529/2: 2 items
– A trimming tool
– IPA wipe for cleaning edge surfaces
For MS21266: 10 items
– Squeeze bottle of MEK/ACETONE/IPA
– Cheese cloth
– Pliobond or acrylic adhesive
– Masking tape
– Disposable gloves (2)
– Cutting Pliers
– Rag/Cloth for clean up (1)
– Fan for ventilation
Doesn’t it make sense to move to a grommet edging system that reduces these risks?
However, the advantages are impressive even beyond risk mitigation.
– The installation cost is at least 49% lower than using glued-in grommet
– It can represent a 9.5x efficiency increase for that particular task
– It provides best-in-class performance