Safety Bulletins

Welcome to the Commemorative Air Force Blogs. A great way to stay informed about what is going on with the CAF.

Sam Hoynes attained a MBA while serving in the Air Force.   As an officer for 15 years and pilot for 12 years he has over 3,600 hours flying time in T37’s, T-38’s, H-19’s, CH-3’s, UH-1F’s, and C-130’s with two tours in Vietnam. He was an Air Force instructor pilot, instrument instructor pilot and standardization pilot in rotary and fixed wing aircraft with the FAA Pilot's License's to match. Sam later spent 30 years as a safety engineer then as Corporate Safety Manager of an industrial gas business. This job, where he became a Certified Safety Professional, involved all areas of regulatory compliance, safety, safety training and accident investigation for a company with over 4,000 employees. Sam joined the CAF Houston Wing in 2004 and has served as the unit's Safety Officer, Museum Collections Officer and works Wings Over Houston Airshow.   In 2013 Sam took on the volunteer duties of Industrial and Ground Safety Director for the CAF.

Golf Cart Safety Bulletin

Golf Cart Safety Bulletin

Golf Carts or other Vehicles used on the Ramp

In the last 12 months we have had two reportable accidents that involved property damage when using golf carts during special events put on by our organizations.

Neither of these incidents caused excessive damage but they do call attention to hazards that we should be aware of when operating any vehicle on or around our hangar and airport ramp.    One incident involved a golf cart rolling away when unattended and hitting a fuel truck and the other involved a golf cart being used to haul tent poles after an event.   The tent poles were wider than the golf cart and when driving close to a vehicle parked with its door open the poles hung up on the car’s open door damaging the door.

These are both minor accidents but having two similar accidents in a year is unusual.  These two incidents along with a couple of questions I have received concerning who can or should operate a vehicle on the ramp makes me want to issue another Safety Bulletin on this subject.

Quite a few of our units have assorted vehicles that they use on a regular basis around their hangar or during special events put on by the units.   These can include aircraft tugs, golf carts, fork lifts, utility vehicles and historic military vehicles, along with personal vehicles used to haul trailers (PX, Aircraft Cockpit, or utility) used during events.   It is the unit’s responsibility to ensure that any members operating these vehicles are licensed drivers who have been checked out and approved to operate these specific types of vehicles on the ramp.   (This includes Cadets who have a current driver’s licenses if they have been checked out and approved for vehicle operation by the unit.)

Whenever any types of vehicles are used on the ramp in close proximity to aircraft it is a good idea to chock the wheels whenever they are left unattended, even when the brakes are set.

If you are using a golf cart to haul cargo around it is recommended that you buy a rear seat flip cargo deck conversion kit.  When you have a rear seat or cargo deck on your golf cart, you should also install heavy duty rear springs on the golf.

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Safety Bulletin- Vehicles used on the Ramp

Safety Bulletin- Vehicles used on the Ramp

safety bulletin header

truckRamp operations for our units often include more than aircraft.   Many of our units have tugs, tractors, golf carts, forklifts, and vintage vehicles that are based in their hangar and which are used on the ramp around their hangar to tow aircraft, transport people or for display during public events.

These vehicles must be included in normal operations and event planning and should only be operated by trained licensed personnel.   During special events other leased or member owned vehicles (golf carts, etc.) are often used in addition to unit owned equipment.

If operated unsafely these any or all of these vehicles represent a hazard to our aircraft, equipment and personnel.   Even simple things such as leaving a vehicle unattended can allow it to roll or move which could cause injury or damage.

We recently had an incident at one of our unit locations where an unattended golf cart moved when a load of traffic cones carried in the seat fell over and hit the accelerator and the cart drove away and ran into the front of a fuel truck, damaging the golf cart and scratching the paint on the fuel truck.   If this golf cart had rolled into one of the aircraft instead of a fuel truck the damage could have been significant.

You should consider using chocks for unattended vehicles whenever used on the ramp to move vehicle is left unattended it should be turned off, brakes set and the wheels chocked to prevent inadvertent movement. (You should make a set of chocks part of the equipment carried on each of these types of vehicles.)aircraft or transport personnel.  


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Safety Bulletin: Basic Stepladder Safety Rules

Image: SHUTTERSTOCK 136776005/Bruce Rolff

safety-bulletin-headerLadders are such common everyday tools that many people take them for granted. As you read the safety guidelines, you may say: “I know that, that’s just plain common sense.” Ladder related injuries are preventable, if you think before you climb. This past year there have been two fall incidents reported. We review all incidents, accidents and near misses carefully so that information can be shared and lessons learned from things that happen at other units.


Stepladder Safety




  • Select the correct ladder for the job.
    • Is it tall enough for the job?
    • Is it rated for the weight you will put on it?
    • Have you inspected the ladder to ensure it is in good condition?
    • If the answer to any of these is NO to any of the above then get another ladder!
  • Set up the ladder correctly.
    • Select a level surface when placing the ladder.
    • If using near a doorway or walkway set up barricades to ensure people don’t walk into or bump the ladder.
    • Always open a stepladder completely and make sure the spreader bar is locked before use.
  • Now use the ladder correctly.Unstable or slippery base surfaces.
    • Climb the ladder using both hands and staying centered on the ladder.
    • Never stand higher than the second step from the top on a ladder.
    • Move materials with extreme caution so as not to lose balance or tip the ladder.
  • Misstep or foot slipping.
  • Loss of balance due to overreaching.
  • DON'T climb a closed stepladder, using it like an extension ladder.
  • DON'T climb on the back of a stepladder.
  • DON'T stand or sit on a stepladder top or pail shelf.
  • DON’T go beyond the second step from the top of a stepladder. (If you need to go higher get a taller ladder.)
  • DON’T carry tools or materials when climbing any ladder. (Get in position and have someone hand you what you need or use a tool belt.)
  • DON'T over-reach, lean to one side or try to move a ladder while on it.






(Climb down and then reposition the ladder closer to your work.)


Recent comment in this post
James Fifield
Great to have a resource we can draw on, will use the information to enlighten members.
Friday, 29 December 2017 20:51
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Avoid Heat Stress

safety-bulletin-headerWith another hot summer looming ahead CAF members and volunteers should be aware of the potential harmful effects of heat stress around our aircraft and hangars.   Safety officials offer the following information about recognizing, evaluating and controlling heat stress.

layingdown1. Drink Cool Water: Anyone working in a hot environment should drink cool water in small amounts frequently - one cup every 20 minutes.   Units should ensure that cool water is available.   Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks, which can cause dehydration.

2. Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.   Use sunscreen and wear a hat while working outdoors.   Avoid getting sunburn.

3. Work in Ventilated Areas: All work areas should have good general ventilation as well as spot cooling in work areas where high heat will be expected.   Good airflow increases evaporation of sweat, which cools the skin.

4. Work Smart, Rest More: Short, frequent work-rest cycles are best. Take frequent breaks to cool off.   Alternate work and rest periods with longer rest periods in a cooler area and schedule heavy work for cooler parts of the day, where possible. Whenever possible work in shaded areas, avoid long exposure to direct sunlight.

5. Check on how members and volunteers are feeling: Monitor hangar temperature and humidity and check on volunteers often during high heat periods.  Use the "Buddy System". Be alert to early signs of heat-related illnesses.

6. Know the heat stroke signs and take prompt action: Learn to spot the signs of heat stroke in yourself and others.   Heat stroke can be fatal. Get emergency medical attention if someone has one or more of the following symptoms: metal confusion or loss of consciousness, flushed face, hot-dry skin or has stopped sweating.

7. Reduce work for anyone at increased risk: People who are older, heavier, poorly conditioned and not acclimated to extreme heat are more susceptible to heat stroke. Some heart conditions, diabetes and some medications can increase the risk of injury from heat exposure.

Sam Hoynes click here to contact
Volunteer Industrial and Ground Safety Director

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Static Propeller Blades - Head Bump Hazards

safety-bulletin-headerStatic Propeller Blades - Head Bump Hazards

headbumpcartoonThere are many head bump hazards in all of our hangars such as pitot tubes and wing tips but the most common and most painful is probably the pesky static propeller blade.

How many of us can truthfully say that we have never hit our head on a propeller blade when standing up or turning around, especially after putting in chocks after towing an aircraft onto the ramp or back into the hangar.

We all are very aware of the dangers of a rotating prop and give them a wide berth, but you can still sustain a painful and embarrassing, even though not serious, injury by walking into a static prop blade.

Although we are aware of this hazard many of our members and volunteers have suffered one of these embarrassing injuries. However our visitors may not recognize the hazard a static propeller represents.

Some basic procedures can be implemented to reduce (not eliminate) this head bump risk at all times and especially when your facility is open to the public.

1. Whenever possible rotate the propeller so that blades are not left at head level.

a. For a 2 bladed propeller place them horizontally, in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, so that the blade tips are not at head level.

(Exception: For smaller aircraft like the Stinson, propellers should be positioned at 10 and 4 o'clock, because they are lower and a potential head bump hazard if truly horizontal.)

b. For a 3 bladed propeller place one blade straight down with the other two pointed up, in a "V" position.

This uniform arrangement of the propellers should be standard practice at your hangar and it will eliminate most, not all, head strike problems.

2. If unable to rotate the propeller to a safe position, or if it still leaves them at head level, place a safety cone or something under the blade tip to make the hazard more recognizable. (Photo #3)

3. Give a safety briefing to all visitors and point out potential head bump hazards such as propellers, pitot tubes and wing tips on your unit's aircraft.

4. Whenever possible have a unit member accompany all guests when in your hangar.   Do not let visitors wander around unaccompanied. These unit guides should be responsible for pointing out any and all potential hazards.

photo1 headbump

photo2 headbump

photo3 headbump 
 Photo #1 - Propeller at 9 and 3 o'clock  Photo #2 - Position for three bladed propeller

Photo #3 - Pylon protecting low propeller

Units should report this type of injury to headquarters, even if medical treatment is not required.   We have gotten a few incident reports of volunteers walking into static props, but we know that these types of incidents are grossly unreported.   If you do not report even minor injuries, incidents or near misses to headquarters we may not recognize and correct a potential hazard that exists at many of our units.

Sam Hoynes
Industrial and Ground Safety Director
Commemorative Air Force

Recent Comments
Donald Sabol
Excellent article---have made copies and given to all tour directors.
Saturday, 21 June 2014 20:30
Wayne Steensma
I have taught the safety class in our Joe Foss Squadron in Sioux Falls SD and ladder and work stand safety were items that were di... Read More
Saturday, 17 October 2015 15:44
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