Why Safety Wire?

Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re on a budget and money can only be allotted toward tools and equipment that get your aircraft up and flying. What do you purchase?

Obviously every pilot and plane owner will have different requirements based on their own unique maintenance needs at any given moment.

“Safety first.” Isn’t that the expression that should take precedence and determine what supplies are truly required?


Page 7-19 of the FAA’s Advisory Circular 43.13-1B on “Safetying.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

With all that cloud-surfing at high speeds you are bound to encounter areas on your aircraft where fasteners loosen. Complications arising from vibrational forces are matters that should not be dismissed so easily. Routine maintenance and repair should include the use of safety wire.

In fact, according to the FAA’s 14 CFR Part 43 the use of safety wire is one example of a preventative maintenance item and is included as an item in a propeller check.

So what is safety wire and why should you use it? We have defined safety wire and its use in a previous blog post.

However it bears repeating that safety wire is a means of preventing vibration from compromising applicable fasteners from loosening in the event that they fail during operations.

Aviation is not natural. When you transport a person through the air you have to compensate for natural forces that resist. That which is unnatural is usually dangerous. And so that’s why the aviation industry ensures there are systems in place to buffer and backup. In other words, one component fails there is another in place and another. Safety wire works on the same principle. It’s peace of mind.

Besides peace of mind, there are other benefits to using safety wire. First it can act as an aid during inspections. If safety wire is applied and it is out of place or broken, this indicates that vibrational forces have acted on those fasteners and thus may need to be repaired or replaced before next flight. But how would you know this? Safety wire, in its twisted configuration, is highly visible and displays an assurance that fasteners held to scrutiny are secure.

Safety wire is also relatively inexpensive and the tools and accessories are not hard to find. Also these tools are not as rigidly limited in use, meaning it’s not like you need a specific screwdriver or bit to properly fit a screw head. Safety wire pliers, twisters, and tabs have a wide, almost universal field of use.

Still, safety wire has a few downsides that are worth noting. Casual plane owners may find it takes time to properly install; in this case it might be easier to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic or technician.

Another problem may occur when cutting excess wire. Small pieces may cause injury to either person or plane so it is important to properly clean the area of excess bits of wire scrap after completion of installation as well as to wear adequate safety gloves and eyewear during application. After all safety first, right?

For more information on the implementation of safety wire, aka “safetying,” please refer to, Pages 7-19 to 7-26 Section 7, Chapter 7 of the FAA’s Advisory Circular AC 43.13-1B.

The Best Towbar in the Universal

“I gotta Bogi on my fender and I can’t shake it off!” Contrary to how that might sound, that is actually a good thing.

Planes, when stationed, sometimes need to be moved without a pilot revving up the engine and turning those propellers. Pushback may be useful while powerback is not often recommended. Depending on type of aircraft and where the engine is located, these procedures may introduce sand, dirt and other damaging agents into the engine or to local structures.

But you still need your stationary aircraft moved.

Unfortunately, not all of us have bodybuilders sitting around trying to test their strength, prepping for a load-carrying competition. In fact, NONE of us have bodybuilders just moseying around the hangar. Would that be nice? Perhaps. Is it realistic? No. True, you could pull a plane but not everyone is geared toward straining their muscles.

Light-weight aircraft is somewhat of a misnomer. A “light-weight” vehicle is still quite heavy. If you can’t lift or at least push or pull your vehicle with your bare hands without risking a hernia, then you need a tool to do the job for you.

Spend any amount of time in and around planes and you have definitely seen a towbar help transport an inactive plane from one place to another. It’s a great way to conserve energy and prevent frustration. It’s also less cumbersome than doing it yourself. And while a tractor and tug may not be necessary or even an option, a towbar might do the trick. Even if a tug is necessary, a towbar is often required. Now if you only had a dependable one…

There are many towbars on the market but really good ones come from Bogert Aviation. One of the best I’ve seen is the Universal Big Bogi. Watch this video demonstration and see why I feel this way:

The “universal” designation translates to versatility. This versatility is created by four interchangeable “feet” that allow for a multitude of configurations that will conform to pretty much any plane fit for flying. There are additional holes for additional feet as needed. The adding and subtracting of feet thus eliminates the need to have several towbars—now it is all-in-one. And that, my fellow owners, will save you money.

Besides satisfying my thrifty-nature, the Universal Big Bogi has a really convenient adjustment mechanism. Inside the main bar is yet another bar that extends; this extended bar has pre-cut holes in which a pin locks the adjusted length in place. If you hear a snap, the pin has securely locked the new length. Really cool.

Handles situated on the main bar and the extending bar also allow for hand pulling (if you want to unleash your inner bodybuilder). And if not, or if you decide you’d rather have a vehicle escort your plane, attachments are available (clevis or ring).

Is this blog post a shameful plug? No. Is it a promotion? Yes. Here’s the thing: we carefully track what sells well and what doesn’t. The reason is simple—we don’t want to stock items that will collect dust and we don’t want to offer products that don’t appeal to our customer base. Having monitored sales of this towbar, we know that it gets the job done. And that alone merits a mention on the blog.

So travel the world in your aircraft, but when you need a break, land. And when you want to move your inoperable bird to a desired position, seek out the Universal Big Bogi.