Lessons on responding to complex problems

by Richard on February 22, 2007

This is not new, but then they say “the old ones are the best.” :)

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction. The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is perhaps the safest of the major airlines.

(P = The problem logged by the pilot.)
(S = The solution and action taken by the mechanics.)

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what they’re there for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you’re right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }


Jacqui 02.22.07 at 12:58 pm

Thanks Richard - that’s left a colleague and I literally crying with laughter!


malc 02.22.07 at 9:52 pm



John 02.23.07 at 2:27 am

Haha! Very good.


Pamela 02.23.07 at 4:19 pm

oh, i love it. made me laugh out loud (which is not to be advised in a classroom where 31 12 year olds are in the middle of an exam!)


Mark Byron 02.24.07 at 3:27 am

The reminds me of a story an former Air Force jet mechanic employee of mine told, that a pilot complained that a certian feature wouldn’t work when in the official position. When the mechanic asked what the offical position was, the pilot said that offical was abbreviated OFF.

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