Posted by: Tim Lincoln | October 18, 2009

Substandard Maintenance at American Airlines?

FAA investigations into maintenance performed on American Airlines aircraft are finding that “as many as 16 American Airlines twin-engine MD-80s…were operated for months despite allegedly substandard bulkhead repairs.” That isn’t just bad maintenance, that is downright scary, and very likely criminal as well.

There are reports that this substandard maintenance was actually signed off on? As an AMT, I find that to be extremely embarrassing. That does raise an interesting question, though. Why is it an “unusual tactic” for the FAA to take punitive action against individual mechanics? If it can be found that the mechanics and inspectors in question knew the repairs were not completed as required and still signed off on them, as far as I am concerned they should lose their licenses at a minimum.

It also brings up the question as to why US airlines are suddenly having so much trouble with maintenance. Maintenance should be the one single expense that airlines never cut back on. When you are responsible for carrying thousands of people around the world every day, thousands of feet above the surface of the earth, keeping your aircraft maintained in peak condition is the best thing you can do to minimize the chance of a disaster. When maintenance gets sloppy, the chances of something going wrong in flight starts to increase, and increase quickly.

Come on, American, Southwest, and everyone else that is having maintenance problems. Get your collective acts together before something happens and someone dies.

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