Simple Flying - Michael Doran

While investigators examine why the pitot tube covers were left on, Brisbane Airport is trying to make the wasps pack up and find new homes.

The arrival of wasps has spoiled many a pleasant picnic or day in the garden. They create havoc and can be deadly, particularly if they find temporary accommodation in the pitot tubes of an airliner, as has happened at Australia's Brisbane Airport.

On Friday, the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) released a preliminary report into just such an incident. While no wasps were involved, the precautions to keep them out of the pitot tubes could have had catastrophic effects on the Singapore Airlines jet two minutes from pushback. In short, the two engineers servicing the Airbus A350-941, registration 9V-SHH, had not removed the pitot tube covers, although the airliner was about to depart. A refueller on another aircraft saw the threat and altered the senior engineer, and the covers were removed in time, averting any potential danger.

Given the prevalence of wasps in the airport environment, the pitot covers must go on, so there's always a chance, however small, that they might not come off in time.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BNE) has gone to the root cause, the wasps, and proactively implemented a program to reduce their presence. The airport has developed an Integrated Vegetation Management program that has delivered a 64% reduction in wasp activity at the Domestic and International terminals after treatment.

Full Article