DOT Issues Safety Warning on Saircorp Consoles Used in GA Aircraft

Center consoles may not be secured within the aircraft cabin.

Items like unsecured fire extinguishers could fly about the cabin in turbulence.Department of Transportation

In order to protect pilots and passengers from items that could come loose and fly around the cockpit of a variety of Textron Aviation aircraft, the DOT recently issued SAFO 20016 focused on operators that have installed a center console manufactured by Saircorp. These consoles are fitted between the front seats of Cessna aircraft models 172, 177, 182, 185, 205, 206, 210, 310, 320, 337 and 340, as well as other manufacturers’ aircraft. Of critical importance is that these consoles may not be securely fastened inside the cabin.

The SAFO says, “Placing Saircorp consoles between the pilots’ seats often requires the removal of the existing fire extinguisher mounting bracket. The fire extinguisher may be relocated to an unsecured cup holder style tube in the back of the console. In this case, the fire extinguisher, if unsecured, may become a hazard. Similarly, when a portable oxygen bottle, fire extinguisher, power supply, computer display, manuals, or pilot accessories are placed in the console, they create a hazard due to the significant amount of unsecured weight.”

The DOT says the Saircorp console and extra loose items in the cockpit may be contrary to FAR Part 23 because of the hazards created should the console shift in flight during turbulence, hard landing, braking, or emergency conditions. The SAFO also warns the console might obscure the floor-mounted fuel selector, interfere with the throttle, mixture and carburetor heat, as well as the trim control and cowl flaps.

The SAFO suggests operators take appropriate preflight action to ensure the console does not shift during aircraft operations and does not interfere with or obscure aircraft controls. Operators should also minimize the number and weight of unsecured items placed in the console and ensure they secure heavier items like fire extinguishers and oxygen bottles to approved aircraft attaching points.