Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FAA plays gotcha with AD's. ( Aviation Week)

Herb Kelleher, Southwest's executive chairman, suggests compliance with airworthiness directives (AD) might be more effective if they were simplified. He was referring to 1,100 pages of six AD's covering the Boeing 737 fuselage cracks. Congresscritter James Oberstar (D-Minn) thought that unwise.
I think we just found the root cause of all those groundings. The airworthiness directives are unreadable garbage. No one can keep 1,100 pages of boilerplate in mind as he inspects a real airplane on a flightline. Hell, he can't even carry that much paper work out of the office. In real life, directions for crack inspection can be written in 10 pages, single spaced. In a former life I used to inspect aircraft and write inspection procedures. I never needed more than ten pages myself.
Once you have 1,100 pages of mush, a pissant inspector can find just about anything he wants, buried somewhere in the 1,100 pages. No matter what the line mechanics do, an inspector with 1,100 pages to play gotcha with can always find fault. Betcha the recent FAA grounding of American's fleet started with some pissant inspector playing gotcha with the mechanics.
I suggest we put the FAA out of the paperwork business. Have the engineering departments of the aircraft makers write the maintainance procedures for their products.

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