View Full Version : Ship vs airline safety
01-26-2004, 07:41 AM
Irrelevant as it may be, when I read this in Avweb.com this morning I was reminded of comments made in another thread about how safety issues are delt with in the respective industries.
COMAIR AND SEE WHAT A BULB COST
The light bulb only cost 77 cents, but without it, a "No Smoking, Fasten Seat Belt" sign on a Comair flight was dark, and it stayed out for four flights. What ensued, according to a report in Friday's USA Today, was a four-year investigation, an inch-thick report, and a proposed $44,000 fine. (It's possible the proposed fine would not recover the dollars spent through four years of investigation.) "It's not simply the fact the light was out, but the follow-up actions required were not taken," FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told reporters. Nonetheless, the case was settled after Comair replaced the bulb and agreed to pay the fine ... after it was reduced to $3,000
01-26-2004, 12:49 PM
The combination of expense and fear of the FAA made me walk away from my medical. Someday, perhaps...
01-26-2004, 01:28 PM
I have no experience with commercial airlines, but I used to make parts and assemblies on contract for the US government. Let me tell you they know who made what and when it was made and when it was installed.
I will never forget the day I answered the phone, the other end of the line was a very military sounding voice, dont remember the rank right now, but he identified himself and was from some Airforce Base, he asked if I was who he was calling, and then procedded to ask if I was the one who made part number so and so on contract number yada yada, a very OLD contract, parts were delivered a LONG time ago. Well, let me tell you, by now I was thinking all sorts of things, like the plane crashed and it was my part that failed and on and on ... man was I sweating... After all this, he wanted to know if I had any more, I told him sure, just a final processing to complete and they could be shipped in a week or 2.
There was no crash, no failure, he just wanted some more without all the paperwork of a new contract.
All of the parts and assemblies I made for the Navy were traceable the same way.
[ 01-26-2004, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: Gary E ]
01-26-2004, 01:41 PM
The FAA doesn't care what you do as long as the paper work is in order. (How's that for a wild statement of a real situation?)
That is why aircraft are getting bigger and bigger, to carry the paperwork required by the aviation authorities.
01-26-2004, 06:10 PM
About five years ago my wife and I were somewhat irritated to be told, at Manila Airport, that our Cathay Pacific 747 to Hong Kong would be delayed whilst an emergency exit light bulb was replaced. I had assumed this was stroppiness by the drivers, who were having a pay dispute at the time, but perhaps it was "legit"?
01-26-2004, 06:31 PM
Now why do I get the feeling that more jokes are on the way? :rolleyes:
But it's not the paperwork that needs attention, it's what those papers represent. Fact is that one employee who forgets to fill out a form may well prove to be at the root cause of a crash! Anyway, an aircraft will be grounded if it fails to comply to a pre-set number of requirements, regulated by the FAAs of this world.
To the best of my knowledge, this doesn't apply to boats in the same manner...
Greets, Leon Steyns.
01-26-2004, 06:54 PM
Ok. now we know the cost of changing a light bulb, but how many employees did it take?
01-26-2004, 08:15 PM
While that example of government waste is shocking the other thing to bear in mind is the size of the lawsuits that no doubt would have been filed had the aircraft been involved in an accident that led to injury or death and it was revealed that the light was out.This the sort of things that happen when people can sue for and win huge amounts of cash regardless of the pettiness of the actual incident
01-26-2004, 08:19 PM
As painful as the paperwork is, it can be used to prevent disasters and save lots of money. I've been involved in digging through old documents to trace suspect parts for jet engines several times. I must say this is very stressful. On one occasion it was found that the ingots from the alloy mill had problems, but only on the ends due to a cooling problem when the ingot was produced, the middle was fine. Out of each ingot 5 parts were made, the 2 on the ends were bad but the 3 in the middle were good. Due to the paperwork trail it was possible to find all the bad parts, some were in production but many were flying in helicopters. I would say that in this instance the cost of the paperwork more than paid for itself in savings from not having to ground the entire fleet and replace all the parts, 3 out of 5 kept flying. Each of the parts in this example had a cost of over $10,000 each, and there were several hundred involved. With these spinning at 45,000 rpm no chances are taken.
01-27-2004, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by Ken Hutchins:
As painful as the paperwork is, it can be used to prevent disasters and save lots of money. I've been involved in digging through old documents to trace suspect parts for jet engines several times.Documentation lies at the heart of any serious Quality Assurance process lies documentation.
ISO 900x (a standard for quality management systems) is, at its heart, a documentation.
It doesn't prevent you from producing a travesty like, say, a 1974 Chevrolet Vega, a Yugo or a Trabant:
But it ensures that the process of its creation is well-documented. And from that one can figure out what went wrong.
The unifying theme of engineering is the study of failure (http://www.matscieng.sunysb.edu/disaster/). According to a swiss study looking at some 800 cases of structural failure. When engineers were deemed to be at fault, the ultimate causes of failure were classified thusly:
16%—Underestimation of influence
14%—Ignorence, carelessness, negligence
9%—Relying upon others without sufficient control
7%—Objectively unknown situation
1%—Unprecise definition of responsibilities
1%—Choice of bad quality
As you can see, most of these reasons can be attributed, in one way or another, to some lack of communication or knowledge.
Writing it down is a way to learn and communicate.
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