Boys and girls, we should be glad the FAA is looking out for us. Yes, it is s shame that some of their employees got too friendly with some of the airlines. However, adults do not “demonstrate acting reasonably” when trying to punish (the bad guy) – airline or the FAA inspectors by (going after the entire group) forcing the entire commercial system with “do it now” inspections! We have all seen the TV newsreels of mechanics measuring distances between tie (knots), to see if they are 1/4 of an inch off. Many on one plane are. Wow. As Charles Gibson asked one expert, is all this trouble reasonable for 1/4 of an inch? NO. Pure and simple. Is it true that commercial planes have had fuel line breaks that have caused catastrophic failures?
Yes. Is it also true that airplanes carry miles of lines of this or that? Yes. Maybe we need to go back a few decades. What must head mechanics and their charter or scheduled airlines do to become licensed-permitted, to fly under the protective wing of the FAA? “They must put together [the airlines] a description of their planes and their intended fight maintenance program and it must minimally match that of the manufacturer of the airplane to at least not violate the warranty and for safety, keep the plane in its best possible condition. Are these manufacturer rules or guidelines critical? They can be. Engine temperatures, weight distribution, amount of fuel capable of being carried, top safe speed, …the list goes on.
Can these minimums or maximums be challenged? You bet. They are guidelines since there cannot be an exact science regarding metal failure unless it is a proven fact that all metal such as steel, fails to keep its shape after y temperature. Or the engine is shown to put out no more than x amount of thrust regardless the amount of fuel given to it. When the thickness of a windshield is discussed, or wire width, or materials, it is all best guesses. Computers calibrate the components in a plane that crashed and the reason for the crash confirmed. It is a hypothesis as to what causes a crash. And usually the hypothesis is a good one; too much weight from ice, no fuel and controls refusing to work, etc. So, the FAA and the manufacturer have to guess “best guesses.” I want that. What I don’t want is to have a best guess become a rule and that rule, if violated, to disrupt the entire nation. The FAA has fall guys and the airlines have fall guys. No one wants to take the responsibility for errors.
Or, the error of one group like now and here, is assumed to be the error of many groups [airlines] as in a syllogism. If an FAA officer found a plane with inadequate inspections, the officer can stand by and inspect a plane. I agree with that. That is logical and not harmful to anyone. To, however, make the hypothesis that “if this plane is not current on its inspections, then all the planes are technically unsafe.” That is an absurd conclusion. Why is that so? An example; when many airplanes are sold, the sales comes with a caveat; this plane is past its inspection time. This means that it cannot be used for commercial purposes or to safely take trips without going through a specific level of inspection. It is safe and when the new buyer gets it to home base, it is to be put through inspection. For safety sake. The plane does not know there are no passengers. The no passenger rule is an FAA rule. Does this mean that airlines should ignore maintenance time frames and pull planes out of service regardless of their need in flight schedules? NO. What is more logical is to take a doubt situation, like wires, and direct the airline to remove one or two planes from “available to fly status”, get them inspected and while that goes on, let the rest of the fleet fly. When the one or two are inspected, direct the next 2 planes to be inspected. NOT take out a fleet or ½ of a fleet to inspect them all at one time. And here is why: a. The plane is automatically inspected by the pilot before each flight. B . The airplane has its senior mechanics and inspectors available prior to each start-up and can examine the plane to see if it has any worry components or levels of operations that are suspect. A cracked engine or fuselage is a dangerous thing and a plane with those ailments would not be on the tarmac with passengers. A broken wire tie has no meaning
A mis-distanced tie has no meaning. Remember, there are guides because every component has to have a time of maintenance and a rule created by which it must be judged. With many airplane components, these rules are arbitrary. Some rule must be created since FAA flies on rules. A component cannot have “no review needed.” Every component must be inspected. In fact, some components must be replaced even though they are working fine; this is because, via computer models, a component might begin to get weak and perform under 80% efficiency and the airplane might require 90% efficiency for all components all the time. Now we just have to tell the components that. The FAA needs to become alert to the idea that it is a guide body and if the flying public is so mad they choose to drive or take the train, the FAA will no longer have a purpose for being. So, FAA; common sense, please!