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Topic: The definition of irony, non-political history edition.  (Read 391 times) previous topic - next topic

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The definition of irony, non-political history edition.
Because really, nothing can compete with the trumpster fire....

Anyway, it's slow at work, so I'm reading NTSB reports again.

This one is particularly ironic, and I don't feel too bad poking a bit at the FAA because at least everyone survived (and it was a long time ago, 1975). 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probably cause the the accident was lodd of control at takeoff because of the inexperience of the uunqualified pilot making the takeoff....[snip of description]...

History of Flight
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Douglas DC-3, a public aircraft, was on an itinerary [snip a bunch of stuff].  The aircraft was engaged in the transportation of the new FAA Eastern Region Director and a small group of his staff. The purpose of the flight were to make an inspection tour of certain Eastern Region facilities and to present safety awards to personnel of various flight service stations.
Yeah...that worked out well.

  • MikeS
Re: The definition of irony, non-political history edition.
Reply #1
I worked the flight line in the US Air Force for six years; F-4E's and G's, A-10's, F-16s, C-130s and put my hands on a bunch of other planes.  Pilot write-ups on the plane varied from the detailed to the vague and everything in between; and since it's an aircraft you have to acknowledge every write up with a corrective action that addresses the specific write up.  Since this is the military you also just can't take the piss with the pilot since they are officers and you are lowly enlisted pukes.  So you come up with creative ways to be sarcastic or give a burn in a "political" manner.

For "hot shot" calls (faults just before take-off that needed to be answered) many of the corrective actions were the pilots not following the planes start-up sequence, or just plain dumb.
e.g.   Here's a classic write up in the aircraft log.
    Pilot:  Radio will not work, no audio or transmit.
    Me:  Radio reset from Off to On.  Ops check good.
    In Reality:  The pilot forgot to turn the radio on.
   What I should have written:  Radio does not function in O-F-F mode.

For the night shift you ended up with some "creative" problems, especially with noises on the intercom.  Everything on the aircraft is connected to the intercom and when a pilot complains of "noisy intercom" you end up working that aircraft (especially old ones like the F-4) for days to track down that one piece of equipment that is causing it.  I had on pilot yelling at us after a week of the same noise, even though everything checked out on the plane.  We had asked the pilot on Day 3 if he had checked his helmet and he said he did. This being Day 8 on a Saturday we went to the locker room with our maintenance officer and grabbed his helmet and put it on the test bench, it tested bad of course.  We replaced his plug harness without him knowing and wrote in the log that we found and fixed a wiring issue deep in the cockpit over the weekend, just to have the pilot save face.  The maintenance officer said he eventually cornered the pilot and told him off a week later in private, but it really didn't change his attitude too much.

All this experience taught me not to get too angry or stressed when things break.  But I like to push peoples buttons who do get stressed out when shit like this happens.

Re: The definition of irony, non-political history edition.
Reply #2
I do think the NTSB is one of the beter government agencies (don't let trumspter fire find out!) and is really out to protect citizens as well as it can within its limited purview. Unfortunately, the board has no regulatory authority, and can only make recommendations to regulatory authorities, which, if you read enough of these reports, becomes quite clear after a while. There are a few recommendations the NTSB has made to the FAA that it keeps re-iterating over and over....often with just a little more snark and 'I told you so' than the previous. 

  • MikeS
Re: The definition of irony, non-political history edition.
Reply #3
It's tough for any body to enforce safety, both internally and external regulatory agencies.  NTSB, OSHA, MSHA, etc., are all tasked with regulatory enforcement but not really "policing" the regulations.  At some point they have to have boots on the ground doing inspections and compliance testing along with their investigatory roles, but they can't be too intrusive since that would begin to interfere with practical business.  The trick these departments are always trying to do is catch or prevent the egregious violators from killing people while keeping the body count limited for those unavoidable or unpredictable situations.

Then, when you play clean up and catch up to an incident that requires some rules update to propose fair, balanced and rational regulations enough to both prevent the situation from occurring in the future while not binding the businesses too far and too much.

The London apartment fire (and the eventual discovery of dozens of other potentials with the same cladding construction) is a case in point where the regulatory bodies failed.  You can say the contractor and/or designer should have known better, but the failure of the check and balance regulatory body is a more concerning result since the original apartment cladding design was submitted for review and approval.

Re: The definition of irony, non-political history edition.
Reply #4
Yeah, it's a shitty position to be in for the oversight agencies. In theory, it sucks for the regulatory agencies as well, but they are much more beholden to business concerns and not just safety.