Heard from a few engineer mates about Virgin Blue's maintenance prowress. These guys make the former Ansett engineering look like Gods!!
Yes, Virgin does have more aircraft due for delivery and yes, CASA won't put them on the register until they get their maintenance up to scratch!
Better still......... they were taking VBQ (-700 with winglets) to/from the hangar in Melb the other day and managed to almost entirely remove one of the winglets with the hangar door!!! OOPs!! Now that VBQ is undergoing some major reconstruction, they have deemed suitable to take all the servicable perts off it and fix(?) the other aircraft.
Now I am told by a reliable source, that when you purchase a brand new 737 from Mr Boeing, he recommends you take a number of spare parts with your new aircraft, apparently around $5 mill per airframe. However, currently Virgin has only $5 mill in total of spare parts for a fleet of 40 aircraft. Work that out? It all ads fuel to the fire.
On top of that, these same engineers tell me that it takes approx 10-14 days for your discrepency that you write-up in the maintenance log to actually be entered into the maintenance computer at head office. No wonder they don't have enough spare parts! Never mind the basic fact that they are currently unable to accurately track aircraft hours as there is only 1 person who enters the aircraft log details, discrepency log history, parts tracking and maintenance!
If the above is indeed only half true then CASA seems justified in either doing a lengthy and thorough audit or curtailing their maintenance organisation with the associated consequences.
I hear QF is quite happy with the VB spares logistics management, I understand that the amount of spares that VB orders from QF is sufficent to pay for all of QF's NG spares.
For VB its not such a silly thing either, if you don't have a lot of day to day cash, it makes sense to pay a premimum for parts but not having a lot of tied up capital sitting one the ground. To use your figures, 40 ac x 5 mil, thats either a lot of parts, or a could be more aircraft you could have online to generate revenue or run into hanger doors.
While I dont want to go into a slanging match, there are numerous things that make the virgin operation look sloppy.
Aircraft frequently taxiing into the bay with landing flaps still set, or speed brakes not stowed, landing lights/strobes still on. One memorable crew got on blox with all of this happening.
Latest rumour going around is involving an engine mount(someting about it having to be removed) and lost paperwork, CASA threatening to ground the fleet as the lost paperwork tells them which a/c its on.
Ground crew (rampies) have started to develop an attitude that make the Qantas guys look modest in comparison. They think they own the whole damn airport.
Depends on how they do their fleet planning, they might do what the goverment and corporations do with cars, get rid of them before they need the real heavy stuff done with them and just run a young fleet, costs more in terms of aircraft replacement, but you dont have the overheads associated with real heavy maintenance and the number of spare uned on young aircraft is less, need less day to day TLC
I have nothing to base this on, just some thoughts
Easier to replace than a husband/father/brother who has been zapped when plugged into or unloading an aircraft in a thunderstorm.
I mean seriously, do we really WANT to do this?
All organisations have problems. Criticisms can be opportunities for learning. You have to admit that even by PPRuNe standards, DJ cops a bit of stick over their engineering processes- almost as much as QF do for having pilots who think they're God's gift to aviation! Whether it is true or not is another matter entirely. Even if 1/10th of it is true though....
One of the DJ guys may be able to answer the questions specifically raised initially. When were the next aircraft scheduled for delivery? Are they arriving on time? Does there appear to be a delay in entering the tech log entries in the mainenance system? (I know that QF can be up to a day behind for the notices to crew that get sent to dipatch!) I'm not having a dig, just trying to give the DJ crews a chance to respond specifically to issues that BCD raised rather than get into yet another DJ vs QF slanging match!
not sure what you are driving at with regards getting zapped in a storm - the DJ blokes go out at the same time as the QF blokes when a storm warning is received from BoM - I spent a good 45 minutes the other night waiting for BoM to cancel the warning - seeing as you can get zapped from 30 odd miles it seems a little strange at times!
with regards delays in getting things entered into the maintenance system - I am not sure... the defects/deferrals are entered in the log onboard immediately and appear within a few hours on a web based status system operated by maintenance watch, it is dependent upon the engineer faxing a copy of the paperwork to maintenance watch - if he is busy with a couple of aircraft it may take a few hours to fax the sheets off...
as for the maintenance system not sure how long it takes - none of the pilots see that bit so whilst you may get some answers the truth is that we wouldn't know.
i thought virgin were in a spares pool operated by boeing that shifts the majority of the spares holding to a third party - but am not sure about that.
i wouldn't be too surprised if a lot of the critics are driven by the fact that the engineering workforce is basically contracted to third parties
The reason Virgin doesn't get involved in a slanging match like this one on PPRuNe is exactly the same why Qantas ignores all the barbs thrown in their direction. Third hand stories gleaned from a mate in a pub are rarely a good basis for an informed opinion for an outsider.
Beer Can Dreaming wrote... Better still......... they were taking VBQ (-700 with winglets) to/from the hangar in Melb the other day and managed to almost entirely remove one of the winglets with the hangar door!!! OOPs!!Now that VBQ is undergoing some major reconstruction, they have deemed suitable to take all the servicable perts off it and fix(?) the other aircraft.
I heard it this way... 1. Wasn't it the staging it colided with - not the hangar door? 2. Collision not realy blameable on the Engineers concerned. Either the hangar moved or it was managements fault - I think I know what the answer will be to that one. 3. It didn't do all that much damage (visually that is) to the winglet. Grazed one side of the vertical face and thereby exposed the subsurface. Probably will cost a bit for the patch (by HdH) though. 4. Sign going up on hangar door shortly will be "Pick-a-Part" as borrowing from dead a/c is tending to become a much loved (by DJ that is) piece of entertainment. QF are pretty expert at this practice too, though their a/c are usually in their hangar for longer so it doesn't cause too much interuption to their a/c (parts removed from) in maintenance schedule. Also QF do it as a last resort...! 5. Virgin people are sworn to secrecy (or be shot at dawn) and forbibben from saying anything - that is the domain of those nice people in PR
Dehavillanddriver is on the money. Once a defect gets written up it gets phoned then faxed through to maintenance watch. From here it is entered into a status report which all of the engineers and pilots can access in real time.
At the same time it gets electronically scanned or faxed directly to the engineering records guys. They have a team doing shift work who enter all of the aircraft logs, discrepancies and part changes. Each day they do the previous days information so the input time usually about 24 hours. I know they send out a "hit-list" every night to all the ports detailing what reports someone has forgotten to send through. The engineers in the applicable port have to get the aircraft copy, copy it and fax it through. It seems that they have a pretty good system setup for ensuring all of the information gets put into the computer system.
I beleive that the next aircraft (VH-VOU) has been in Christchurch and is being flown to Melbourne either today or tomorrow. The next one out of the factory is actually going to Pacific Blue and is ZK-PBC I think.
DHD, was wandering through terminal picking up relatives one night and was surprised to observe the lightening bizzo. Phoned a mate at the QF ramp and they'd been closed for about 20 minutes and were closed for 20 after. Unlike NG, I'm prepared to back my statements up! But enough of that crap!
Thanks for the other info lads. It certainly takes a bit of the steam out of the critics when decent info is posted rather than just playing the man.