Repositioning a Cessna Aircraft By Pushing Down On The Tail, An Expensive Lesson Learned.

I’m the Crew Chief for a Flying Club based out of the Pitt Meadows Airport.
 Last week one of our Members noticed some play in the leading edge of the Horizontal Stabilizer at its root on one of our Cessna 172’s. It didn’t take our AME long to diagnose it as a cracked rib on its leading edge. 

It was what he said next that completely floored me, he explained that this type of damage is usually caused by people pushing down on the tail to spin the plane around. But how could this be, I watched every Instructor I had in the early 90’s do it and even some of the older Service manuals recommended it.

I always knew that pushing down on the tail wasn’t the best for the planes and discouraged our Members from doing it but I had no idea how much damage it could cause.  A quick Google search produced hundreds of articles and photos on the subject and they all had a similar message, there is no correct way to push down on the tail of a Cessna by hand without eventually causing damage.

Written By: Kyle E. (BCGA Member)