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  • 25

Aircraft mechanics waving red flags

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Aircraft mechanics encouraged to ignore maintenance issues that may jeopardize flight safety (www.cbsnews.com) Mehr...

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zuluzuluzulu
zuluzuluzulu 9
I have seen it.

Usually at the shift lead and foreman level of management at different stations. These characters were typically ambitious to climb the ladder, wanted get off the line and out of the weather, maybe secure a better shift or better days off; some had pushy wives.

Not all leads were like this but the dangerous ones were not very competent mechanics and sought the promotion and pay increases to push paperwork or read the newspaper.

The on time numbers and clearing deferred maintenance items was their drivers. If you found other things, you couldn't clear items or stay on schedule. Strong competent leads would take the heat because they knew what they were doing. The weak leads felt they needed to please their masters.

This was thirty years ago so it didn't get better.
zuluzuluzulu
zuluzuluzulu 3

Added for clarity to above.


If you found other things that would take precious time, you couldn't clear deferred items or stay on schedule.

Strong competent leads would take the heat because they knew what they were doing. The weak leads felt they needed to please their masters by having good on time departure records and removal of deferred maintenance items.
Cansojr
Cansojr 4
It is the paper pushers and bean counters that ruin the nature and safety of this industry. Airlines will do anything to increase revenues and eliminate liabilities. We know what happens to the man below the leader board in commercial aviation. The bottom line is the main target aside from filling every seat and employ new turbine technology to cut fuel consumption by 25%. Oh remember Hospitality service means you might get a smile and coffee.
linbb
linbb 0
You think its any better in the transit industry? Not a chance was a mechanic for 25yrs and the new young ones are even worse. Know of one lead that thought a solar powered calculator had to be recharged by sitting it in the sun. Couldn't even get a GED because he couldn't do simple math.
linbb
linbb 2
Oh was an A&P for several years starting out but was in GA not airlines starved to death and went into autos but never forgot my training. That caused me problems fixing cars and trucks as it either was fixed right or didn't get worked on.
jbqwik
jbqwik 1
automotive mechanics has become much more technical: Schematic drawings, data interpretation, basic ac & dc understanding. It's a good field to learn with a good future.
To the point of this discussion, human nature is as human nature does. It's been my experience that aspirational personalities tend to be reward driven, and a disproportionate curve seems to lie with the most influential; usually the buck stops at management level.
jbqwik
jbqwik 4
While I don't believe this is common I suspect there is some amount of this going on.
I worked for 42 years doing special support on after-the-fact incidences. Managers never wanted to hear what was in my report and compliance was always case by case. So, yes, I can see this happening as reported.
silcalifano
I have had a supervisor, quite a few years ago, try to get me to sign off on a fuel leak that was allegedly fixed. When I saw the area, it was completely dry, When I pulled the fuel tank dripstick, the tank was completely EMPTY. I was the inspector assigned to that airplane and when I complained to the supervisor in charge, they immediately went shopping for another inspector. In two minutes, I had the word out and they finally had to fix the leak, when I showed then the FAA inspectors card I always kept with me! I have worked with many supervisory people who went beyond what it takes to do the job right, but some will sell their mother to what they think is advancing their career!
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 3
As a former helicopter and jet engine mechanic (as well as aircrew), I made sure that down gripes on my bird was written up and fixed (of course, the military is a bit different). There was one time I downed 3 birds in a row including the primary, backup and a secondary backup due to such only to tell our CO that we were not flying that day. He took it with stride and stated he understood.

This is similar to other industries. The job I am currently on shut down on Monday and I haven't done a bit of work this week as a welding inspector. Someone doing something they have probably done hundreds of times before finally had Murphy catch up to him and now he is no longer amongst us. Why? complacency, rushing due to managers or superindents pushing people to get work done (production at any cost). Aviation and construction can and does kill people due to not following proper procedures and/or haste.
havenrich1
Haven Rich 2
Remember the movie, "China Syndrome"?. Welding inspection falsifying was cause.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
I remember the movie, never got to see it. I guess it is time for a browse through Amazon to see if they have it.

On inspections, there are those who I wonder about, but for me, if it isn't right, they have to fix it. I am not gonna be in the poor house for something that is easily fixed. I had a foreman state he wasn't gonna fix a Nelson stud. Asked if I cared if he bent it and told him I don't care, but I am not accepting it unless fixed. That stud was ripped right off the panel it was on necessitating a repair of said panel and replacing said stud. I found a second dead stud at a later date and the foreman didn't even argue, they fixed it with no arguments.
ReverendLee
Scott Lee 2
I guess they've learned nothing since American 191 (1979).

Shortcuts get people killed. There are procedures for a reason. But, as they say, if it ain't flying...

Bastards, all of them.
lettini
Lois Lettini 1
Was that the flt taking off from ORD that crashed? What was found to be the cause, as I have forgotten?
lecompte2
lecompte2 2
The final authority on deferred items is with the Captain before flight period. But unfortunately many of the newer generation are more likely to be swayed by management or even smooth talking mechanics trying to pass the work to the next station. After being there for a very long time, I can tell you the flight deck is getting very crowded with people with other priorities than safety.
zuluzuluzulu
zuluzuluzulu 0
In your dreams!

If the MEL says something can be deferred, it will be deferred. The captain can take the issue up with the chief pilot but he/she won't get far.

I have hung paper and walked away from demanding captains many times. We have acceptable limits and MEL's for a reason.
lecompte2
lecompte2 1
Glad to hear your opinion, my answer in those situations was always the same then you fly the plane and they always got fixed MEL or not. Of course there must be a valid reason and usually it has to do with safety chief pilot or not.
zuluzuluzulu
zuluzuluzulu 0
still dreamin’.

if it was -20 outside and day light with unlimited visability and you wanted a nav light changed, you would change it yourself! MEL would allow for it to be deferred. I’m not taking a delay for you.
lecompte2
lecompte2 1
Good example, here are a couple more: I get on the aircraft 45 mins before departure and am told the in flight entertainment system needs a computer reset or will not operate on a 8 hrs flt. The first class ticket price is around $5500 on this flight and maintenance says the MEL says the system is not required and they are too busy, so guess what after a 20 minute delay (300 passengers) the system was fixed and other stuff happened.
Another time on a sunny day the radar is u/s not required by MEL but after the captain decided it was fixed because 600 miles away on the route it was needed.
As I said before the Captain decides on the safety of the operation.
lecompte2
lecompte2 1
By the way triple zulu, it would be interesting to know which airline you worked for, where you could tell the captain where to go ?
zuluzuluzulu
zuluzuluzulu 1
Delta. My job was to make the aircraft airworthy and legal to fly. Not appease nervous pilots.

AA's Bob Crandall said if Christopher Columbus crewed his ships with pilots, he'd still be tied to a dock in Spain.

In flight entertainment on an 8hr flight is worth a 20 minute delay, a good pilot can make up 20 minutes on an 8 hr flight. It had nothing to do with you but everything to do with good customer service. If it couldn't be fixed, do you think the flight would be cancelled when tickets sold for $5500?

On an international flight, L-1011 yaw damp computer was inop. We didn't have the parts but MEL said it wasn't necessary. Capt said "no Problem. It's the F/O's leg; he has strong legs!"

The right stuff!
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
I face that kind of decision everyday in getting planes fixed... If I have a deferral on the plane especially that is passenger convenience or one for one reason or another I do not like, I will give up to 30 minutes for a Delay. Personally I could care less about delays... It is up to management to do the worrying. I authorize delays on a regular basis to get something fixed... and other items I will just live with... Depends on the item... If it is the Captains Coffee Cup Holder, he is out of luck.... If it is the first Class Recline, then he may have to wait to get it fixed.
kPerry1010
kevin perry 2
As an aircraft mechanic, I can say that there is no reason for these safety issues. Every aircraft mechanic has the right to ground an airplane. Any mechanic who turns the other way from a safety issue because of pressure from managment has no right to be working on airplanes
chalet
chalet 2
I just watched a documentary on Disney Channel about the Kalitta DC-61F that crashed when trying to land at Guantánamo NAS in 1993. God was with the crew as all three survived. Everything pointed to an overworked crew who started early that day and were on duty/flying for 12 hours. When the NTSB interviewed them and asked them why they did not refuse to continue flying when they were very tired and the reply was that they feared that they would be reprimanded or worse off fired. As a result of this open dialogue the FAA, NTSB, ATA, etc. instituted regulations about to the maxiumum duty time and flying time for flying crews and naturally the safety record improved by a substantial margin in this respect.
ADXbear
ADXbear 3
This is scary stuff.. pilots need to refuse these airplanes if the know about an issue.. but they are ptob kept out of know.. Dispatchers need to really question MEL and CDL issues and refuse to go more often.
btweston
btweston 2
It’s like this in a lot of industries. They always preach Safety, Safety, Safety, but the moment some middle manager feels a little bit of pressure it’s right out the window.

Then someone gets hurt or killed and we all act shocked and appalled, then a month or two later it’s business as usual.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
Since most of you guys didn't do the flyin part of this crap that you know so much about, how come you don't give us any credit about when or what Not to fly. I have caught more than one MEL deferred item that could not be deferred, yaw dampener on any Lear. The pressure is always on in an industry that caters to the 1% in corporate, 135 and 121 is no different. To me a broken airplane was not business as usual, but it did take a bit of balls and integrity to say no on occasion! I sat in the front bt.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
There are some planes that you can MEL a Yaw Dampner, and others you cannot.... If the plane has 2 then you can usually defer one of them...
btweston
btweston 0
Cool, man.
Cansojr
Cansojr 1
You are 100% old school and too be revered with respect. My hats off to you Captain!
btweston
btweston -1
Um... What? Did you read my comment? Maybe you just missed the first sentence.

Save your righteous indignation for someone else.
btweston
btweston -1
Downvoted by masturbators.
darjr26
darjr26 1
Fly Amtrak! They probably have just as many problems but they go a lot slower and a lot lower.
btweston
btweston 0
Well, trains can’t fall out of the sky. So your comparison is...something.
chalet
chalet 1
I thought that these high pressue tactics (threatening to be fired) was predominant only in airlines based in the Middle East and not only on line mechanics but pilots too. AWFUL.
btweston
btweston 0
No, it’s around in pretty much every sector that isn’t unionized
jbqwik
jbqwik 1
wow. have we beat this topic to death or what?
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
To say the least..... It is well Seasoned and Tenderized! :)
btweston
btweston 1
It’s, um, important.
frequentflyguy
As an Exec Plat FF on AA, I have experienced more non-weather related delays in the last 6 months than the last 3 years combined. AA Ops bad. CEO has taken a bad airline and made it worse.
n9341c
n9341c 1
DANGER IN THE SKY!!!! ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN!!!!

This is called #FAKENEWS
mikeie6646
mike maloney 1
Thats been going on for years in all forms of industrial maintenance.
btweston
btweston 0
I said the same thing and some guy freaked out and lectured me about how awesome he is for being a pilot. This website is fascinating.
sparkie624
sparkie624 -1
I don't know where this came from, but I have been in the Industry for working on Airline A/C for over 35 years now and I have never seen this in any way shape or form, and I know it is not like that where I currently work.
wingbolt
wingbolt 3
Direct Quote.. Just sayin!


“Go work in MDW.... I used to work for them and left because they did not meet my standards. I will probably get down voted for this because the truth hurts...

I was assigned to clean oil out from under a leaky engine that was knowingly out of limits because the lead and supervisor did not want the crew to write it up!

At the time clock waiting to clock out, Mechanics would openly drink while waiting to clock out while other mechanics are working on live planes. Keep in mind the mechanics were subject to being called to do more work. They actually had coolers full of beer.

For a new employee. it is worse than boot camp... Running scared because if a senior mechanic doesn't like something they are doing like eating a snack, taking a glance at the tv, Sitting in one of the cushion chairs, or other similar events for fear of having speedy notes written up against them that are then used against them in the reviews.

The reviews is another subject... They basically throw you in a 10 foot hole and you have to dig yourself out, they do not acknowledge what you do good, and when you bring it to them, they they are like, oh I remember that..

I have other examples... But that is enough for now. The culture of SWA is to maintain schedule at all cost even if it compromises safety!

Just a simple questions for the pilots on here: Would you knowingly fly a plane that you know has Hydraulic or Engine Oil Leak???

South West Mechanics in MDW does, or did before my letter of resignation made it to corporate.

“Go work in MDW.... I used to work for them and left because they did not meet my standards. I will probably get down voted for this because the truth hurts...

I was assigned to clean oil out from under a leaky engine that was knowingly out of limits because the lead and supervisor did not want the crew to write it up!

At the time clock waiting to clock out, Mechanics would openly drink while waiting to clock out while other mechanics are working on live planes. Keep in mind the mechanics were subject to being called to do more work. They actually had coolers full of beer.

For a new employee. it is worse than boot camp... Running scared because if a senior mechanic doesn't like something they are doing like eating a snack, taking a glance at the tv, Sitting in one of the cushion chairs, or other similar events for fear of having speedy notes written up against them that are then used against them in the reviews.

The reviews is another subject... They basically throw you in a 10 foot hole and you have to dig yourself out, they do not acknowledge what you do good, and when you bring it to them, they they are like, oh I remember that..

I have other examples... But that is enough for now. The culture of SWA is to maintain schedule at all cost even if it compromises safety!

Just a simple questions for the pilots on here: Would you knowingly fly a plane that you know has Hydraulic or Engine Oil Leak???

South West Mechanics in MDW does, or did before my letter of resignation made it to corporate.”
bentwing60
bentwing60 2
"The flogging shall continue until morale improves". Read it on a FEDEX agents cube in Memphis for what it's worth. Your experience may have varied.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I don't remember posting something like that there, and to be honest, I don't know the url or ever remember posting there... Not saying that I haven't... I just don't remember it if I did!!
btweston
btweston -1
I’ve heard that phrase across three different industries. I won’t drop names because I’m not a jerkoff.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
oh, but you are!
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
You are right... I stand corrected.... SWA was the only place I ever worked that was that way.... And I left after 2 Months... No where else was liked that and never had any problems....
btweston
btweston 1
I have never witnessed a murder, therefore no one has ever killed anyone else. Your logic is sound.
bentwing60
bentwing60 0
Let's just say that Kris Van Cleave is workin his way up the fake news ladder. cbs.
btweston
btweston 0
Fake news... the opium of the retarded.

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