Tuesday, 4 February 2003

Airline Mechanic stumbles upon chemical spraying unit

Mechanics want to work on three things. The avionics, the engines, or the flight controls. The mechanics that work on these systems are considered at the top of the "pecking order". Next come the mechanics that work on the hydraulics and air conditioning systems. Then come the ones who work on the galley and other non-essential systems. But at the very bottom of the list are the mechanics that work on the waste disposal systems. No mechanic wants to work on the pumps, tanks, and pipes that are used to store the waste from the lavatories. But at every airport where I have worked there are always 2 or 3 mechanics that volunteer to work on the lavatory systems.

The other mechanics are happy to let them do it. Because of this you will have only 2 or 3 mechanics that work on these systems at any one airport. No one pays much attention to these guys and no mechanic socializes with another mechanic who only works on the waste systems. In fact I had never thought much about this situation until last month...

One day last month I was called out from our base to work on a plane for another airline. When I got the call the dispatcher did not know what the problem was. When I got to the plane I found out that the problem was in waste the disposal system. There was nothing for me to do but to crawl in and fix the problem. When I got into the bay I realized that something was not right. There were more tanks, pumps, and pipes then should have been there. At first I assumed that the system had been changed. It had been 10 years since I had worked on one. As I tried to find the problem I quickly realized the extra piping and tanks were not connected to the waste disposal system. I had just discovered this when another mechanic from my company showed up. It was one of the mechanics who usually works on these systems. I happily turned the job over to him. As I was leaving I asked him about the extra equipment. He told me to "worry about my end of the plane and let him worry about his!"

Full story...

Operation Cloverleaf - backup for the mechanic's story

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