Essay Example on In the documentary Flying Cheaper Miles O Brien

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In the documentary Flying Cheaper Miles O Brien uncovers the outsourcing of airline maintenance work to untrained personnel A decade ago maintenance was virtually all down in house by the airline that s flying the plane Now maintenance is mostly down by people who are unrelated to that airline and sometimes they aren't even in this country In the airline maintenance industry there are MROs standing for maintenance repair and overhaul It s a highly competitive business Most US major airlines now outsource most of their heavy maintenance to keep the airline costs low Traditionally maintenance was one area that airlines were not willing to cut short on however trends are changes due to the economic challenges that are facing the industry Many US airlines are now outsourcing most of their maintenance to cut costs One of Asia s largest MROs is Amico a company that granted O Brian a tour but cancel just before their arrival this did not leave a good impression on me Why would Amico not want their business practices documented shouldn't they be doing everything by the book so there wouldn't be anything to worry about One of the larger MROs in the US is in Mobile Alabama called ST Aerospace is responsible for most of United s maintenance ST is the largest of all the MROs off all the outsourced facilities worldwide ST Aerospace is a Singapore based company that has opened maintenance facilities in the United States Since 2002 ST has been performing maintenance out of Mobile for major US airlines like United Delta and US airways carriers that used to do their own maintenance 



Since ST Aerospace would not grant O Brian an interview he talked to ST workers from line mechanics to supervisors at Papa Buddha s a bar in near ST Many of the claimed ST workers said that ST was pushing them hard to get things done as quickly as possible A veteran mechanic told of pencil whipping that is when a mechanic signs off a job as done without any of the work actually being completed Company documents show multiple maintenance failures at Aerospace a misrouted flight control cable the failure to install a navigation box landing gear with a broken hydraulic line Another big issue with the quality of the work at independent MROs is the quality of the workforce At the major airlines most of mechanics are licensed by the FAA this is not the case at independent MROs like at ST where about two thirds of the 1 200 mechanics are unlicensed That's because the FAA regulations don t require that all airline mechanics hold a license or certificate According to the FAA the system has demonstrated that in fact people can perform some of the functions of repairing aircraft without certification and meet all the safety standards According to a ST employee a lot of the workers can speak read or write English If they don t understand English is must be very hard to follow every procedure for aircraft repair ST as a lot of unlicensed people who don't understand English running around repairing aircraft this doesn't sound like the safest practice to me 




Without proper training and the ability to understand a book that was telling me how to fix something I think I would have a hard time performing the maintenance safely and correctly There is also a problem at ST using undocumented parts An ST employee said before an inspection by the FAA the loaded all the unmarked parts onto trucks and they were moved off site After the inspection was complete some of the parts were returned This means that there are some aircraft currently flying with untraceable potently dangerous parts The FAA knows about all the things ST was been doing as reported by the FAA inspectors but the only thing the FAA has ever done to ST was fine them 11 000 11 000 isn't anything when you are working with multimillion dollar contracts with large airlines that fine was not enough to have any effect on ST ST is a MRO performing repairs on US airliners with untrained staff that can t understand what they re doing using untraceable parts This is not a good combination I feel like this is the build up to an accident waiting to happen Eventually there will be a crash resulting from current maintenance practices Stricker rules need to be places on MROs to keep safety a priority and it starts with the FAA It appears that the FAA is ignoring what is going on with MROs possible to protect airlines This isn t ok but with the way the FAA works unfortunately it appears like people may have to get hurt before anything is fixed Personally the appearance that the FAA is ignoring this huge safety oversight bothers me and I hope it is resolved before anyone get hurt


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