Jump to content

Beware the keyhole wasp!


Recommended Posts

The ABC has run a story about an invasive foreign wasp called the keyhole wasp, which is wreaking havoc with aircraft pitot tubes, especially in QLD.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-11-26/keyhole-wasp-nest-pitot-probes-brisbane-airport-aviation-safety/12919668

 

The wasp originated in the Caribbean and South & Central America, and was only discovered around Brisbane recently.

 

The insect, like all wasps, is a smooth operator, and they have recorded it blocking pitot tubes within 30 mins of arrival!

 

It won't be going away anytime soon, so it looks like pilots and aircraft maintenance personnel now have to be just that little bit extra vigilant.

  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't met this little beastie, but the ordinary wasps can work that quickly.

I had two fuel vents on my RV4, which were 1/4" aluminium tube and I stopped the wasps by running a bit of safety wire into them so that it broke up the smooth circular cross section. That worked without any other protection for several years and may well be still working for the new owner. I used the normal cover for the pitot tube.

  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of years back I had an engine outage over the Southern NSW costal range. Insects had nested in the fuel vent unbeknownst to me and not picked up in the DI. Wasps were what the LAME thought. The fuel system was gravity fed with not a lot of head pressure. The engine continued to operate until the vacuum overcame the head pressure and the engine was starved of fuel. Nothing I tried could get the engine started again. Had it not been for the height I used to cross the ranges, together with and good LD of the aircraft and no propeller spinning, I was looking at a river landing. Instead I made the airport with sufficient height for a planned circuit.  Now all vents and tubes are covered with breathable fabric and are part of my DI. Steve 

  • Like 1
  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, 408059 said:

A couple of years back I had an engine outage over the Southern NSW costal range. Insects had nested in the fuel vent unbeknownst to me and not picked up in the DI. Wasps were what the LAME thought. The fuel system was gravity fed with not a lot of head pressure. The engine continued to operate until the vacuum overcame the head pressure and the engine was starved of fuel. Nothing I tried could get the engine started again. Had it not been for the height I used to cross the ranges, together with and good LD of the aircraft and no propeller spinning, I was looking at a river landing. Instead I made the airport with sufficient height for a planned circuit.  Now all vents and tubes are covered with breathable fabric and are part of my DI. Steve 

I use filter elements for the pitot and two fuel tank vents that way the mud wasps can't get in.  You can see a mud wasp started to build onto the filter outlet in the pitot image.  gets some questions and comments when other pilots see them but they work; got the pitot idea from camps / courses at Kingaroy Gliding club.

 

P1090804.screen cover 2.JPG

Reduced 20191109_171017 - Copy.jpg

Reduced 20191109_171042 - Copy.jpg

  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...