Critical Shipping Procedures When Transporting An Aircraft Gyroscope

March 2013

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote an article about how to properly handle your aircraft’s gyroscope and prevent it from being scrambled. To some, this advice may seem obvious and unnecessary, but it continues to amaze me how little thought and effort is given when a gyroscope is packaged and shipped to Duncan Aviation for repair and overhaul. The gyros that are sent in for repair or overhaul with improper packaging have shown a higher degree of damage as a result.

The following are common squawks that can and do occur when a gyroscope is not prepared properly for shipping.

  1. Rocky Bearings – The bearings within a gyro work together to keep the unit balanced. A rocky bearing occurs when a unit is jostled and causes these bearings to misshapen and stick. This can cause your gyro to be slow to slave or slow to erect.
  2. Out of balance – A gyro becomes out of balance when the weights within the unit shift or slide.
  3. Catastrophic failure – There are stops inside a gyro that are in place to prevent a catastrophic failure of a unit. However, a seemingly innocent drop during shipping can break those stops and render the unit inoperable. Just because the box isn’t damaged doesn’t mean the unit inside isn’t.

The best way to ship a gyro is in the same box and packing material it was received in from the manufacturer. However, if that box is long gone, your efforts to prepare your gyro for shipment should be equal to or better than the manufacturer’s packaging. If you take shortcuts when shipping a gyro, you run the risk of voiding all applicable warranties.

The following are critical considerations when packing your gyroscope for transportation.

Shipping container size

Do not skimp on the size of box you select to ship your gyro. The box must be large enough to fit the unit and allow for at least two inches of packing material between any point on the apparatus and the inside walls of the carton.

Packing material

Gyros must be shipped in Styrofoam or other soft packing material that lines all sides of the box. Make sure there is enough packing material included so that it cannot shift or become compressed during shipping.
I cannot stress enough how fragile and delicate of an instrument a gyroscope is. You invest a lot of money keeping gyros airworthy. Duncan Aviation does not want to see your money and effort wasted because of improper shipping, handling and procedures.

Scott McKenzie Avionics Tech Rep Lincoln, NE (LNK)
+1 402.479.4212

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