E-2C Wing Scrape Close Call

A Navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft was in the NASA Dryden Flight Loads Laboratory (FLL) for a series of wing and tail loads calibration tests. A Close Call incident occurred in the FLL on December 13, 2004, when an “H”-Beam structure unexpectedly leaned outward and made contact with the top of the wing when structure was being removed from the right wing of the Navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. The “H”-Beam structure had been used to keep the wing from deflecting upward and the aircraft from “rolling” while the under-wing load pads were being bonded to the aircraft. The contact occurred four feet inboard of the wingtip directly above the wing's main spar. Damage consisted of scraped paint over an area approximately 1.5” by 2” and two small scratches. The damage was deemed “negligible” by the on-site Navy Representative. It was determined that the primary factor for this incident was the overhead crane operator's misjudgment on the amount of tension that was applied to the two nylon safety straps that were utilized to support the “H”-Beam structure when restraining cables were disconnected. The slack in the “choker” loops was enough to allow the structure to lean outboard approximately 15°. Other identified contributing factors were poor crew coordination, performing steps out of sequence, and failure to use written procedures.
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