View Full Version : Preflight Checks, Have Your Say!!

21st Jan 2004, 11:30
The following is a quote from a topic " Critical Issues" a discussion thread on "AirMech". This is only one of the topics that is presenting it self as an important milestone in the move towards cheaper Airlines, but does the public really want cheaper airfares when it may be at the expense of safety.
"As for the pilots, they unfortunately suffer from the same minority problem as ourselves; a couple of gungho heroes willing to toe the company line to suck themselves further up the food chain, whilst the majority realise the safety benefits of Engineers carrying out preflights both from the perspective of our technical knowledge and the 'two-sets-of-eyes-are-better-than-one'principle."

More can be seen on :-

Safety versus cheaper fares, look at what has happened in recent times there has been 100's of millions of dollars spent on the increase in security to make passenger air travel safer, and the public have come to accept it. Obviously arriving at your destination is more important than cost, so why do airline operators continue to look at ways of reducing costs that make travel less safer than it is now.

This is not an issue where engineers are saying that they can do the job better, only that this is a task that they are trained to do and given Australias record, obviously do it well. Pilots should continue to do their preflights as should engineers, they both compliment each other. The Manufacturers are saying that the New Generation of Aircraft are more reliable, but it is not these newer systems relating to reliability that the preflight is monitoring. The standard preflight is looking for damage sustained during its last flight and whilst on the ground during the transit. Bird strikes, hail damage, Lightening strikes, landing lights inpacted, wing tips scrapped ( cross wind landing), engine pod impact ( cross wind), pylon bolt failure, signs of heavy landings( skin buckled or twisted) fairings secure, catering truck, loaders or aerobridge impact with aircraft, hydraulic leaks, fuel leaks and not to mention the miriade of faults that can be found on landing gears ( tyres and brakes). These are all things that I have had occassion to find on aircraft during a Transit preflight that were not reported by the pilot, and would still occur on any aircraft regardless of it being a New Gen. or not. Now multiply my experence with that of the many thousands of engineers in Australia doing exactly the same routine and guarantee me that if this check was to stop, and one of the many incidents that goes undetected would not indanger the lives of passengers and crew one day.

I make no apologise, I wish to sound provocative because this is a subject that needs to be in the public forum, and one which will keeps getting swept under the carpet.

Money talks, is this money controlling the Media also?

22nd Jan 2004, 04:34
Extract from the ALAEA Nov News letter.



General News:

TV Effort Earns Tick

The ALAEA has described the first public comments of newly-installed Civil Aviation Authority (CASA) chief, Bruce Byron, as encouraging. ALAEA Federal Secretary, David Kemp, said Byron’s televised comments on airline safety sent a positive message to the industry. “CASA is under pressure from some airlines to reduce safety requirements, a move the ALAEA has argued strong against,” Mr Kemp said. “We need to ensure that our members – the fulltime safety professionals who have delivered Australia a world-leading reputation – are given the resources and power to do their jobs properly. We look forward to working with the CASA leadership to do just that.” The ALAEA has written to Mr Byron, seeking a meeting where we can outline our perspective on the airline industry.

More information at: http://www.casa.gov.au/hotopics/other/03-10-30and.htm

compressor stall
22nd Jan 2004, 07:04
Any bean counter will cut costs to the bare minimum of safety. The actual minimum level is unproveable, and the cost cutting will continue downwards, especially in this current cut-throat low cost environment.

Trouble is that the only way they can be shown that they have taken levels too far down is when 200 people and a 737 are in smithereens.

24th Jan 2004, 06:50

I read on the link to AirMech that engineers shouldn't expect to much support from their collegues behind the wheel, as money seems to be their motivator and not safety.

This has already been shown in the poor attempt by Virgin to introduce a LAMELESS tarmac, and CASA's intervention, suggesting that their pilots pick up their game and do the preflight check more vigilantly. I believe last year they had missed some serious defects and CASA were not impressed.

Obviously the pay check at the end of the day is most important, as was also evident at QantasLink ( Impulse, Jetstar, Jet connect or what ever). Recently a check Captain was demotted for failing two pilots on their routine check, he was advised by the company??? " that it is not his job to fail pilots." So because he was doing his job correctly, giving priority to Safety ahead of carreer, he paid a penalty. Why don't we have more Crew, Ground and Tech. prepared to have or show a little integrity.

26th Jan 2004, 06:57
It seems obvious from the response,or rather lack thereof, that this thread has received, ( my apologises to Vortsa and Compressor Stall) that the airlines are going to be able to continue to do what ever they wish. As long as everyone gets their paycheck at the end of the day "alls well", or is it?

CASA were blind to the cost cutting exercises carried out by an airline in recent years, which was driven by the bean counters. These bean counters don't rely on working for an airline to keep bread on the table, they have the ability to move into a different industry to perfect their skills, which may mean destroying the lives of a completely different employment base, but that's another story. My concern is for those who were left behind in the aftermath of their last #### up. Of greater concern is the possibility of a serious incident that may cost lives. And I hope I'm not around to witness it, but if I am I will be the conscience of every soul left behind.

Ask the employees of that past airline, who pays their wages now? I am convinced that there were whistle blowers, and those that could see the writing on the wall along time before the doors were shut, but unfortunately they were too few, and as this thread testifies, there are too few again.

The safety in our skies is obviously of concern to those who fly and specially those who fly professionally. Reading the comments to Dick Smith, there are those who are passionate about safety in the skies, then why can't you see the consequences in changing a system which has proven to be SAFE for one that has obvious flaws.

What we are seeing in the Industry now is Risk Management, that is too say the value of these cost cutting exercises verses the cost of litigation if something serious happens, and the bean counters have calculated that to payout on an aviation disaster is cheaper than the money saved over 10 to 15 years worth of cost cutting. What value do you put on the lives of your family or collegues? The share holders might be fortunate to see at least an extra 1 or 2 cents value per share but do they realise how far their shares will plummet following an incident.

Qantas were being offered Ansett at $1.00 in its last days, and they declined.

26th Jan 2004, 16:41
Orville, You are definetely correct with your assesment of the proposed QF maintenance system changes. The problem of bean counters running airlines has been with us for some time, we have seen the collapse of AN and similar episodes in the states. It's a pity that many of the managers who oversaw the AN saga have now found themselves jobs at QF and are trying the same tricks again. Maybe they have learnt their lessons well and will calculate their own departures from the airline a little better or earlier as the case may be.

28th Jan 2004, 07:18
How would Qantas fare if CASA were to do an audit on the way they prepare an Aircraft for flight, follow the link below and see how Korean Airlines went. I have extracted a few of the more pertinent points for those who do not wish to read the entire contents.


"3. FE's do not do thorough preflight, sometimes sloppy. They do it in record time and would not pick up any problems because of the rush they are in."

"9. Crew must use a torch for preflight at night, this is sometimes not done."

"14. FE does not check emergency escape slide."

"15. During the audit process, a number of observer headsets were found to be unserviceable. Many portable oxygen bottles did not have full face masks, and most were not connected to them. A full inspection of all emergency and fire fighting equipment should be done to bring this up to standard. All crew should have continuity training on all on board emergency and safety equipment."

"21. No hydraulic system should be pressurized without clearance from the ground. This is basic airmanship."

"52. Maintenance on all Korean Air aircraft is generally excellent and aircraft seldom carry inop. Stickers. The classic aircraft however have a problem with the fuel tanks as fuel tends to "disappear" below 80 000 lbs. and some "reappears" after landing. Gauges must be dripped regularly to monitor this, as it must be corrected. The generally good technical status of the aircraft has played a big role in reducing the numbers of incident/accidents.

53. KAL maintenance is often word of mouth. Crew will pass on snags, engineering will repair them and nothing will be written in the tech log. This is dangerous, as the aircraft never develops a "history". This history is vital in aircraft maintenance and safety. All snag MUST be written up and preferably in English so everyone can understand."

Whilst these are only of few of the shortcommings that were present with Korean Airlines (hopefully now rectified) and I note that there were other insites into Engineering also non flattering, my main reference is the Preflight Check. When a check is left to just one person whether it be Pilot or Grd. Engineer an oversight may one day lead to a serious incident, surely two sets of eyes are better than one. The whole philosphy of modern aircraft is redundant system and this should also be for visual inspections. Even in Engineering duplicate inspections is common and mandatory when dealing with systems that are primary to safe flight.

I previously noted that Virgin had their wings clipped last year for not doing proper preflights.

My thanks go to Alex Paterson for making this document available.

28th Jan 2004, 16:57
Well some good gen found by you guys. It's as if all the lames I work with think the no man transit is a foregone conclusion because the managers have been told that engineers do not get involved in aircraft handling overseas. Can some of you British and American engineers let us know who handles the aircraft where you come from? In particular the following functions - refuelling, eng oil checks, initial headset arrival and chocks, aircraft walk around, log certification, defect rectification and pushback.


29th Jan 2004, 04:58
Welcome to the forum Fordran, and some good investigating done by Vortsa. With nearly 1000 readers now there must be other contributors with a point of view, I don't care what side of the fence you stand on, you must think something. I might have it all wrong and this is not important enough to debate.


29th Jan 2004, 07:39
I agree that the issue here isn't the reliability of the new generation equipment, whether it be Boeing or Airbus.

Walkarounds are for casting an experienced eye towards 'adverse environmental interaction', something that no amount of designing can prevent.

Some facets of the industry lose sight of that.


29th Jan 2004, 14:47
I still believe that two sets of eyes(pilot & engineer) are better than one,found that they complement each other.I only wish the clock could be wound back so the "gingerbeers" contracted to VB could still do transit inspections at VB without the threats of disipline action/job loss.We all just want the aircraft to fly safely!
Good luck to everyone at QF as i think you are going to need it as major work practise changes are likley soon.

30th Jan 2004, 11:08
With no engineer doing a transit preflight check on arrival many things can be overlooked. Here is a good example of what can go wrong.

This morning I did a preflight on and a/c that flew in from overseas. The radome had an area of condensation on it, localised in one spot.
Condensation means, obviously, that particular area is colder than ambient temperature, possibly ice biuld up that hasn't thawed.
Because of the shape and aero-dynamic loads around a radome, ice will not biuld up on the surface so the ice would have to be below the surface. How would ice get below the surface? Two ways, moisture left inside the radome when it was last opened or the obvious pin hole in the outer layer allowing ingestion of water below the surface. Now every time the ice forms and then subsequently melts the delamination grows larger, as the delamination grows larger the amount of ice forming gets larger until the radome structurally fails, this maybe preceeded on the radar screen by a large pattern created from an abnormal return.

I had a similar occurance on an a/c many years ago that cased structural failure and warranted the radome replaced before further flt( many hours later).

The point I am trying to make here is that by the time the Tech. Crew get down stairs to carry out a walk around all the evidence has evaporated.

This type of occurance has also been witnessed on the Engine nacelle of a 747. So serious was this, that Boeing would not even give permission for the Operator to return home for repairs, a few days later the nacelle was replaced.

30/30 Green Light
30th Jan 2004, 14:07
Fordran,of the issues you raised the only one which would require an engineer (licensed) is Log Certification.All other tasks can be, and in a lot of cases are,legally carried out by a "suitably trained" person.That person could well be an AME.
Vortsa,most of the items you listed wrt KAL relate to basic training and corporate culture,not the ability of the individuals to carry out the tasks etc.
Orville,are you saying that it's not possible to train pilots to do preflights which involve inspection for those problems you have illustrated?I hope not.
The " extra pair of eyes" was an issue that was raised by Flight Engineers many years ago in defence of their presence on the Flight Deck,and we know what good it did them.
It is my understanding,and I am willing to be corrected,that there is no "transit inspection" in the Boeing documentation,or indeed in the operator's MSM's.If this is so, then what " approved data" would you use to carry out this "inspection" to,as this would become scheduled maintenance?Would this then mean that the individual might be open to action from the authorities for carrying out unauthorised maintenance,and where would it leave your employer wrt their Certificate of Approval? Anybody out there?

30th Jan 2004, 14:29
You hit the nail on the head so to speak as that is exactly how VB removed engineers from doing preflights during transits.VB changed their System of Maintenance to reflect the Boeing MPD document,then instructed the maintenance providers that anyone found to be in breach of the System Of Maintenance would be also in breach of the CASA REGULATIONS and that audits would commence to monitor compliance.The maintenance providers(holders of the Certificates of Approval under CAR 30) then enforced said policy as their certificate of approvals where as "stake" informing staff they have no problems sacrificing personnel to protect their CofA if required.

30th Jan 2004, 15:37
You are correct and it is precisely that which we are lobbying to prevent from happening in other work places. And as has already been pointed out, CASA have a few reservations as to the way VB are compying with there current position.

30/30 Green
I think you may have missed the point of Vortsa’s last entry, he was clearly pointing out that what he found during his latest transit/ pre-flight, would not have been evident when the crew carried out their pre-flight, some 30 or more minutes later. I must agree with his assessment that these types of events can lead to more serious incidents down the track.

My point is not that a Pilot can’t be trained to carryout this task because I believe they already do and are extremely competent at it but that an extra set of eyes can sometimes pick up what the other misses and this would and does go both ways.

With your questioning of Fordran understanding of who is ultimately responsible please read the following extract from a ???????????? Company Systems Manual. Quite clear and specific, yes another person may carry out these duties but ultimately still the responsibility of the LAME.

And my understanding on a/c that still use Flight Engineers and right up until they were removed from the others the Pilot delegated the F/E to do the walk around, this may possibly be why some pilots don’t have the experience required. I have also noted that on 747-400 it is common to see the second officer doing the pre-flight, also delegated by the Pilot.( unfortunately there experience on large commercial a/c is limited)

These are but a few extracts only, the actual Transit pre-flight check is more area specific. ie; detailed inspections
Company Manual ( Airline withheld)
A. The LAME in charge of the aircraft is responsible to see that all persons assigned to the task of arrival, departure and marshalling of aircraft:
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
B. The Departure Engineer in charge of the push-out and departure of aircraft similarly accepts the responsibility for the guidance of the aircraft and for the avoidance of obstructions during this manoeuvre. This responsibility ceases following the "ALL CLEAR TO TAXI" acknowledgment from the Flight Crew of the aircraft.
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
M. Engineer to carry out Pre-flight check/Transit check as required for that aircraft type.
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
N On completion of Pre-flight check/Transit check enter cabin, review cabin log and rectify defects as required.[COLOR=darkblue]

30th Jan 2004, 21:03

I was brought up on Daily Inspections (conducted mostly by LAMEs in accordance with a formalised System of Maintenance procedure) good for up to 36 hours in certain circumstances and Pre-flight inspections (conducted by a member of the operating crew in accordance with either an OEM recommended checklist or the company OM). In the absence of maintenance support, the operating crew Pre-flight Inspection was the only transit inspection.

Pilots have been approved under many SoMs to conduct and certify for Daily Inspections.

There is a balance between no line maintenance presence and grounding the aircraft in the absence of a maintenance presence. The ALAEA has a charter to maximise LAME employment and management has a charter to minimise cost - the operating crew are just meat in the sandwich.

However, I think that it is true that the employment balance will be established in practise by delays in turnarounds caused by waiting for some form of maintenance assessment or assistance, offset by the productivity of line maintenance teams given the arrival/departure frequency and alternative tasking. Even VB's aircraft will stop being brand new shortly.

It is a great pity that most CASA AWIs cannot come to a dispassionate analysis of the required balance because they are for the most part current members of the ALAEA or maintain close ties.

Stay Alive

1st Feb 2004, 04:32

Your references to "LAME in charge" etc from the company manuals is now all being changed to "person in charge". I say our future does not appear to be in the hands of any regulator. The airline has decided to make these changes to cut costs and at this stage I have not seen any objection from the alaea.

1st Feb 2004, 08:47
I can understand all the frustrations that you engineers are experiencing, and the inevitable outcome that will happen, and I offer my condolences. You have been an important part of aviation from the very beginning and with out your contribution we would not be flying now. I have always gotten on well with the engineers where I work and consider them to be very professional.

All this said, I would encourage you to continue to fight for your current position with- in the industry. My reasons are two fold.

Firstly, I do believe that we all want flight to be as safe as it possibly can, and my experiences have shown that removing the skill and dedication of many of the engineers would be a travesty if taken from the front line. Engineers seem to look at many problems from a different perspective and have taught me many new concepts over the years. Your assistance on many occasions has reduced crew workloads and mine.

Secondly, although I feel this battle you may well loose, there will always be a need for engineers and your skills will evolve as our aircraft have to, and to a high level of technical skill. My remorse is for the position of piloting these newer generations of aircraft. Maybe not in my lifetime, but somewhere in the future, I see my position being made redundant. A pilot less cockpit is not all that far from the truth, and with computers basically flying the aircraft now, removing the human factor will, without doubt, make flying safer. UAV’s are now an important part of military aviation and will continue to improve. Once they have shown their reliability in the field commercial applications will follow.

With the progress of aviation over the last 100 years this just might happen in my lifetime. So you see of all the dinosaurs you may well be the one to survive.

Good luck with your fight.

1st Feb 2004, 14:02

Have you ever stopped to think that the ALAEA my be working behind the scenes to prevent the removal of qualified LAMEs from the Preflight Inspection? Sometimes it is better strategically to play your cards close to your chest rather than chest thumping and postulating like some other industry groups.
QF have been playing you blokes for the last eighteen months on this issue, following the 'throw enough sh!t and some of it will stick' philosophy. They, despite their own belief to the contrary, have to have changes to their Manual approved by CASA. If that was going to be granted, why hasn't it already?
Sadly the strategy appears to be working when I read some of the whining and whinging on this and other forums.
Just remember it's not over until the Fat Lady sings.

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...":ok:

2nd Feb 2004, 05:35
:ok: SOCKS

On behalf of all LAMEs, thank you for your words of support.

I think we may have seen the same program on the discovery channel, and yes I agree they are making good progress with these new flight systems. Knowing what I know about aircraft computer systems I would still feel very uncomfortable being a passenger sitting down the back and having no pilot in the cockpit. You will always have my support on that issue.

2nd Feb 2004, 05:40
Socks - Thanks for your words of support.

AN LAME - I hope the ALAEA are working behind the scenes. The airline are working in our face and slowly spreading the propoganda through the ranks and convincing us that our time is limited. They are throwing a lot of s**t and some of it is sticking. Why doesn't our union do something to counter the propoganda? Maybe they should go overseas and survey the other airlines to see what the setup is. Then produce a report and send it to every member showing that these changes haven't happened elsewhere as we are getting told. Manual changes have never been a problem to the airline in the past and I will not pin my hopes on them getting rejected. Everytime I look at a manual it has had changes.

3rd Feb 2004, 09:08

Why did you delete your last post?

Interesting revelation please offer more info.

3rd Feb 2004, 10:42

Thankyou for asking.

My original post was based on a response to AN LAME and his suggestion that the ALAEA was keeping their action close to their chest and not chest thumping and postulating like other unions.

In this response I referred to the action taken by the ALAEA, some 18 months ago when Virgin attempted to remove the Engineer from the Tarmac. This was done partly by a campaign, specifically against the Airline through the media. Highlighting breaches and oversights by some pilots in the their new responsibilities. CASA at the time carried out secret surveillances of pilots doing pre-flights, or NOT doing pre-flights and the media exposure, was counter productive to Virgins plan. So they made an agreement with the ALAEA, which caused the ALAEA to back off. You may recall some of the Bill Boards around at the time

“ 100% LAME 100% SAFE”
“ Would you get on this Aircraft with out having a Safety Check”

My reason for withdrawing my comments, were that comments made about AN-LAME could have been taken the wrong way, and for that I apologise.

4th Feb 2004, 07:30
Thanks for the info, I was interested to here if any one had put some form of pressure on you.
Of course no body believes everything they read on these forums but behind every story there is an element of truth.

Good Luck

Bruce Vincent
9th Feb 2004, 15:28
Gentlemen, There is also another aspect which is sadly overlooked/ignored by both union and company. If these changes go ahead alot of engineers are headed for a life of PERMANENT night shift, unhealthy and bad for family life. I know of many young LAME's who now in this environment are considering career changes. Young enough to still be employable in a more stable industry( even if money is not as good). This, however, leaves a void of experience to come through the ranks, I am not suggesting that we will have an even bigger shortage of LAME's than we do now but those who are now coming through with just the amount of experience needed to become good LINE engineers. Will we see a return of the 81-82 years when engineers laid off in droves and companies hiring motor mechanics and the like to fill the void as arms and legs - I hope not.

10th Feb 2004, 12:18
Bruce , welcome to the forum, I was all ready to remove this discussion thread as it had gone quiet. I feel it is something that our collegues from the pointy end wish would go away, but thank you for reviving it one more time.

You are correct in your assessment that there will be a shortage of Engineers in the future, but the shortage want be in the number of Engineers it will be in the quality of Engineers. We are about to see an unprecedented number of engineers retiring, over the next 5 years. In my workplace there are around 50% over 55 and that is alot of experience playing golf and not working on aircraft. By removing the LAME from the tarmac a valuable training tool is lost and the new inexperienced lame will miss out on the wisdom that these men have.

You might ask how is this wisdom lost?

I feel a good deal of my training over the years was from these gentlemen and their experiences over their career, when discussed and talked about have been invaluable in making me a better engineer. With the removal of engineers from tarmac duties these newer engineers will be working in different enviroments. The older engineers, closer to retirement, are more likely to stay around the tarmac operation( whats left of it) but the youth will not be there to train.

Pilots should be able to relate to this thought, you can train a pilot to fly in a class room and simulator, but the stories and experience gained from talking to a captain sitting in the left hand seat for two or three hours is invaluable.

Once upon a time this was the only way we learnt, our anscestors would tell stories around the fire, and we evolved into what we are today.

Unfortunately this is something that can't be measured, you can't see it and you can't feel it, so the bean counters would discount any notion that it has a value.

2nd Mar 2004, 06:00
Sorry to give rebirth to an old issue but some new developments that may inspire comment. This has been taken from an article is the ALAEA bi monthly news letter.

"Jetstar Safety Alert

ALAEA members are being urged to report any flight, anywhere in the country, that takes off without a proper safety inspection. Similarly, they are being requested to provide information on aircraft that take to the skies with defects that would have been obvious to a trained engineering eye. The requests were issued last week by the ALAEA Federal Executive which warned of the “very real prospect” that Jetstar might attempt to introduce a
“LAME-less” tarmac. The Executive’s concern was prompted by the airline, currently being extended into Jetstar, already running a regional operation that attempts to avoid LAME transit checks. The ALAEA peak body has labelled the possibility of Jetstar going down that track “a very real threat to public safety”. Federal Secretary David Kemp said the ALAEA is relying on LAMEs throughout Australia being its eyes and ears on this vital safety issue. Anyone with any information should contact the union office on 02 9554 9399 or email to [email protected]"

14th Mar 2004, 21:19
I said this would become a major issue many months ago, well hold onto your hats people this will blow the airlines out of the water before its finished.
For those that did not read last Fridays Australian
Engineers to fight pilot flight checks

11 March 2004
AIRCRAFT engineers are to launch a public campaign highlighting safety concerns arising from competition between low-cost airlines and plans to allow Jetstar pilots to make pre-flight safety checks.
Anyone got the full article?
Seems that I have..
Engineers to fight pilot flight checks
By Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
March 11, 2004

AIRCRAFT engineers are to launch a public campaign highlighting safety concerns arising from competition between low-cost airlines and plans to allow Jetstar pilots to make pre-flight safety checks.

The engineers say they have been told by Jetstar the airline plans to limit pre-flight checks by licensed engineers to one at the start of each day, with pilots performing the rest.

A similar proposal by Virgin Blue last year sparked threats of industrial action before the airline reached an agreement that allowed engineers as well as pilots to inspect the carrier's planes at major airports.

Engineers confirmed yesterday they planned to campaign against the Jetstar plan, and called on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ensure competition between low-cost airlines did not lead to short cuts on safety.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said its members were under pressure at Virgin Blue not to conduct the checks.

The engineers argue that pilots can easily miss problems that would be spotted by trained engineers.

But airlines say the pilot checks are common overseas and allowed under current laws and manufacturer guidelines.

ALAEA federal secretary David Kemp said the travelling public had every reason to be concerned about the Jetstar proposals.

"The manufacturers tell airlines what they want to hear when they're selling aeroplanes," Mr Kemp said. "But these aircraft are complex machines, and they do need to be inspected."

Qantas spokesman Michael Sharp said the Jetstar procedures had been approved by CASA.

They had been used without a problem for four years at Impulse Airlines, which is forming the basis of the Jetstar operations.

"There will be no change for Jetstar – it's exactly what's happening now with the Impulse operations," Mr Sharp said.


Batten down the hatches it looks like we might get the LAMES to actually take some industrial action over this. They are renown for keeping their powder dry and only going into battle when they can win.

17th Mar 2004, 00:52
4 Dogs,
I was involved in an operation where the CASA FOI made it a requirement for the Capt to do a walkaround, this was in addition to the F/E who also did a walkaround and signed for the daily in the techlog.
The CASA guys I know, do not belong to the ALAEA and neither should they be!


17th Mar 2004, 03:59
This is my first post, but I would just like to add to this topic by saying that although as a pilot I have done many preflight inspections, I feel more confident knowing that an engineer is also having a good look. There should be no arguement that two sets of eyes are better than just the one, James Reason would support this arguement. And even though many of my collegues have not responded to this thread, I feel they would agree.

17th Mar 2004, 11:21
I have no doubt that your comments will receive total support, Sport! :ok:

24th Mar 2004, 21:20

I have been watching the developements of your issue for a while now and have yet to see any fire and brimestone coming from your union have they left you high and dry. It appears there isn't any fight in you, you have put forward some good arguements in this thread, and I thought a movement was starting but from what I see ( or not see) at work Lame's are not sighted on the ramp, especially at Sydney Domestic. Are they in the same union as the rest of the country? If so what flag do they fly under?

I think you will be surprised where the support comes from once the action starts. Many of my collegues are interested also.

24th Mar 2004, 21:59

Sadly I think you are correct on one point. There is an air of apathy amongst a sizeable proportion of the LAME workforce and as usual, we will be our own worst enemies. However I don't agree with your notion that the union is not doing anything. Some things are best left said behind closed doors and not necessarily at the coalface. Having said that, this is a monumental battle which has been waging for some years now.

24th Mar 2004, 22:51
Sadly AN LAME is right it does appear that the union is doing nothing at the coal face, maybe the fire needs to be stoked.

25th Mar 2004, 01:50
You misquote me - and I think you may be expressing some anger over AVV. I said that the union may not APPEAR to be doing anything but they ARE working in the backgorund which is a more responsible approach than running around telling the general public 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling...' along the lines of some other idiots in the industry (and before any one hooks into me on that, I'm NOT talking about the NAS debacle and sh!t for brains little dicky)

25th Mar 2004, 02:07
AN LAME If all the action is happening behind closed doors then there was no misquote, appearances are 'no action'.

From where you are sitting I can see how it would look different, but there are 4000 members and many other interested affiliates that can't see through doors. The majority sit outside the chamber of silence.

26th Mar 2004, 00:24
I agree that perception may sometimes be 9/10 of reality.

26th Mar 2004, 09:09
During my tenure as a LAME at route stations, I never let a flight crew down. Transfered to flight ops. I picked up LAME oversights on several occasions doing my pre flight walk around checks. Brake pin wear indicator below limits, tyre wear below limits, cracked wheel hub and on one occasion out of maintenace, nosewheel scissors linkage apex pin missing and twice during my career, masking tape over the static ports after aircraft wash. The most memorable one that I still loose sleep over happened in Brussels where the incoming flight had a double reverse thrust failure. I was unfortunate enough to take over the subsequent flight where the A/C, a 747 200F was taxied to the ramp by the maintenace crew and I missed the main gear pins which were installed for the ramp taxi but without streamers on them. We took off with max TOW and couldn't retract the gear. Dumped 64,000Kgs of fuel and returned. As soon as the steps were driven in, I ran down to check for gear pins and found none. It wasn't till 30 mins. later that the Engineering Manager of the repair facility spoke to me and tried to make a deal. His LAMEs who certified the removal of the pins on their worksheet, quickly removed the evidence before I had a chance to find them; incidentally, the reverse thrust snag was still exactly the same. I have never trusted another LAME since.

26th Mar 2004, 09:20
Never ceases to amaze me here, how much people are willing to stab each other. :(

I could quote numerous examples the other way round, but I wouldn't do that, not here in a public forum anyway. :sad:

I have worked all over the World with all sorts of different Pilots and Operators, and I have NEVER seen a situation where the Flight Crew don't also not only check that the pins are removed, but that they are stowed on board, usually actually counting them.

So in the situation you described, it was ultimately YOUR responsibility.... ;)

26th Mar 2004, 11:52
"I have never trusted another lame since."


It is fortunate that we had two sets of eyes checking those particular aircraft you made reference to because there will be occasions where things can be overlooked. You however surprise me with your comment above, because if you are still a flyer then you must have trust in the work done by lames, because what you see on the outside is just a small slice of the work done by the lame's on your aircraft. And I am fairly confident that you don't carry out rigging checks, etc. prior to each flight.

Sleep well Hotdog, because while you sleep LAME's are, at this moment, doing all of those checks and services that make flying an aircraft a more attractive career to people like you.

27th Mar 2004, 01:39

Well said. Some of them just cannot be told.

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...":ok:

27th Mar 2004, 02:44
lame, the pins minus streamers were not our pins but belonged to heavy maintenance. I know the buck stops with me and that's why I still loose sleep over it. I missed seeing the pins but the very last item on our after start checklist says; "All cargo doors closed, all undercarriage pins removed." To which the Belgian departure LAME answered. All cargo doors closed, all pins removed.:(

27th Mar 2004, 03:16
Are you sure he was an LAME?

I have worked in and/or been through most Countries with various Aircraft, and normally (apart from Australia) you do not even have a Mechanic do the departure, let alone an LAME. :(

Are you sure he even understood you?

You may find whatever you said he would have just answered the same as you said. :uhoh:

I was in the jump seat during pushback from CKS Taipei one morning, and there was a minor problem, the Crew started to tell the guy on the headset all about it, and he showed absolutely no interest. They were so used to LAMEs doing the pushbacks that they didn't realise this guy wasn't even a Mechanic and couldn't care about a problem, he was just doing his job, clearing the bay for another Aircraft.

Even at JFK we did the pushbacks at first, however the local contractors took over after a while, and there the only person on the end of the headset when they do it is the tug driver. Our Pilots still never taxied unless they had the thumbs up from us as well. ;)

Anyway, as you said, the buck stops with you. :ok:

27th Mar 2004, 03:19
Well that explains it then the Engineers have been taken away from tarmac movements in Belgian and it was probably a bag chucker doing the departure, there lies our arguement. Remove the LAME from the ramp and this will be the norm.

27th Mar 2004, 03:32
All well and good but the subsequent enquiry showed the pins removed on the worksheet and signed with the engineer's approval number. After that incident, I always looked for the holes rather than the pins during my walkaround.

27th Mar 2004, 03:48
It is not JUST serious things like pins being left in either, IF I was a Pilot in Australia, I would be fighting to keep the LAMEs on tarmac and doing pushbacks. :ok:

And before someone quotes self interest, I am NOT currently involved at all, and don't plan on ever being again, just concerned. ;)

When you have an LAME in Australia doing the pushbacks, you have someone whose whole working Life is the maintenance and safety of YOUR Aircraft, experience often gained over decades in the Industry. :ok:

Some of the operations I have been involved with in other Countries, while the people are GREAT, they are often not the least mechanically minded, and the people doing the pushbacks come and go almost weekly. :{

We had one Lady pushback driver in New York, first day on the job, insisted on doing the pushback on her own, she had the headset on but could hardly speak English. Got the Aircraft out okay, disconnected the towbar and backed the tug away, then couldn't understand why the Aircraft kept following her? :uhoh: Nobody from her Company had even told her that she had to tell the Crew to park the brakes.......... :ooh:


Your last reply was not there when I was composing my last reply.

Now you are providing yet another reason for LAMEs doing preflights. :ok:

You see whenever I have done any of my many thousands of preflights I have done over the years, and I am sure ALL LAMEs would be the same, I did ALWAYS check the actual holes and NOT just look for pins installed. ;)

This is partly because while Pilots follow set proceedures (which IS their training), LAMEs are always on the lookout for something wrong or out of the ordinary. :ok:

Also once, MANY years ago now, I found on a preflight where a pin had broken off, so all the heads of the pins and the streamers were gone, but the actual pin was still in the hole. :uhoh:

Best regards,


(Maybe should be ex Lame ;) )

29th Mar 2004, 08:14

2nd Apr 2004, 01:02
Latest Issue of the ALAEA newsletter. March edition:

Legal Eagles Eye Pornstar

"As this e-Torque goes to press, the ALAEA is vetting an audacious campaign to apply public pressure on the new low-cost airline JetStar to keep LAMEs on the tarmac. We don’t want to give too much away at present, but let’s just say that any traveller booking a flight with JetStar will be left in no doubt about what they are purchasing! Members will remember our successful campaign when Virgin Blue hatched a similar plan – the airline soon came to the conclusion that pilots should stick to their day jobs."

"Beware the ides of March."

Coming soon to an airport near you.

2nd Apr 2004, 01:09
Stick to their day jobs huh?

no wonder the union doesn't get any support from pilots - the engineers yes, the union no.

may be the ALAEA officials should stick to their day job of protecting engineering jobs and stop pissing pilots off!

2nd Apr 2004, 02:54
As I read the previous post, that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do? :confused:

Protect the jobs of LAMEs, and also keep Aviation safer, that IS exactly what they are there for. :ok:

How does that piss Pilots off (as you put it).? :confused:

2nd Apr 2004, 03:10
The inference is that pilots can't do walkarounds safely.

That is patently false and quite frankly rather annoying. The ALAEA needs the pilots on side NOT off side, and by telling us "to stick to our day jobs" they are getting us OFF side.

Remember all we are talking about here is preflight walkarounds NOT daily inspections, NOT scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, NOT any other type of engineering function - we are talking about an inspection that is not an engineering function in the manufacturers maintenance documentation.

It is like saying that engineers shouldn't taxi aircraft - they should stick to their day jobs - quite obviously a silly statement and engineers are perfectly capable of taxying aeroplanes around - though some companies don't let them for whatever reason.

The ALAEA would do better to lobby the manufacturers to get preflight exterior inspections changed in the MCM if they feel so strongly about it.

I am still miffed at the 100% LAME 100% safe campaign as that is a blatent misrepresentation of the truth.

NO aeroplane is 100% safe, regardless of whether an engineer inspects it or not, and the 100% LAME 100% safe campaign has the potential to create an image within the minds of those passengers who don't know the industry that their trip is 100% safe - cause it ain't.

Personally I would rather the ALAEA try and increase its membership by fighting against the practice of using AME's to do the majority of the work and having one or two LAME's who can't supervise everything sign for the work - that in my opinion is a far greater safety issue than preflight exterior inspections....

2nd Apr 2004, 03:28
It is quite obvious that you are just pi**ed off, the ALAEA is not doing it to you. :uhoh:

I have been in the Industry for over 40 years, during all that time I understood that the Pilots primary job (day job) was to fly (operate) the Aircraft.

Equally I understood that the LAMEs primary job (day job) was to be responsible for the maintenance and ongoing serviceability of the Aircraft.

IF this has changed, it is news to me. :confused:

I am perfectly happy to let Pilots continue to do their job, but why on Earth do some Pilots not want LAMEs to continue to do their job properly, for the safety of all who fly? :(

Incidentally LAMEs in Australia do NOT taxi Aircraft, although obviously they are capable, because it is NOT their job.

Just like up to now, LAMEs have always done preflights because it was there job. :ok:

I have had numerous events over the last 40 years, where we have had to call in a Pilot to taxi an Aircraft, sometimes for an engine run, sometimes for a compass swing etc. Many of us present at the time COULD have done it, but it was NOT our job. ;)

2nd Apr 2004, 05:08
LAME, I am not trying to justify the removal of LAME's from preflights, I, however, am making the point that the ALAEA campaign, whether intentional or not, is alienating some pilots.

how many times have you heard someone comment to another person that "they shouldn't give up their day job" when they have told a bad joke, or donea shocker of a reverse park etc - that is hardly a complimentary statement - even if tongue in cheek.

I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with LAME's doing preflights, 2 sets of eyes are better than one, HOWEVER I do not believe that the sky will cave in if only the pilot inspects the aircraft during a turnaround - as per the manufacturers recommendations.

I can also tell you that LAME's DO taxi aircraft, maybe not some jets, but they certainly do taxi RPT turboprops and other aircraft.

The ALAEA should direct their campaign towards their real targets and not point the finger at pilots as per the recent campaign - people in glass houses etc...

I still believe that the use of untrained AME's poses a greater threat to aircraft safety than turn around inspections.

2nd Apr 2004, 05:23
IF you have no problem with it, why do you keep going on about it on this thread? :rolleyes:

It is ILLEGAL for LAMEs to taxi real Aircraft in Australia. ;)

I have seen it in other Countries, and in Australia there have been a few concessions, like SAAB340s in Wagga Wagga, but in general with Airlines it is illegal. :(

2nd Apr 2004, 09:17
If you were an F/E under my charge and you left the MLG pins in times 4, I would have sacked you!


3rd Apr 2004, 18:34
"I have worked all over the World with all sorts of different Pilots and Operators, and I have NEVER seen a situation where the Flight Crew don't also not only check that the pins are removed, but that they are stowed on board, usually actually counting them. "

You obviously have never worked at Qantas. The pins are stowed in the MEC and never get counted by the crew.

Sorry pilots, LAME and others are passionate about protecting their and my job. I commend them for that and hope they don't go overboard attacking pilots. I hope you guys understand the different light in which we view aircraft. Most lames leave school at 16, do an apprentiship and spend 40 years in maintenance. Every defect we find goes into a subconcious memory that is reopened everytime we see a similar situation. You cannot substitute that experience and every person who flies benefits from it. The sky will not fall in if we are replaced but it may be a contributing factor to one incident that could have been prevented. This is not a personal thing between pilots and engineers, this about money.

3rd Apr 2004, 18:59
No, I have never worked for Qantas, why on Earth are they different to everyone else. :(

Also about the preflights, I believe that Ryanair in Europe, who would have to be one of the cheapest low cost carriers in the World, still insist on preflights being done by Engineers (and Pilots) as they are VERY concerned with costs, and they know it is cheaper in the long run to have Engineers (and Pilots) doing preflights, than have to wear the costs of delays etc. :ok:

4th Apr 2004, 03:37
Thanks for those kind words VTM, it must be great to be such a perfect specimen to never have made a mistake. I did in fact, tender my resignation from check and training but managment refused to accept it.

4th Apr 2004, 20:25
Must have been a great company you worked for, the check and training staff could not follow SOPs, All the items you mentioned you found during your walkaround are all included in the B747 ops manual, so if you missed them you not have been doing your job correctly.
You said you never trusted LAMEs after the gear pins incident then what opinion did the pilots have of you.
Is this the reason why you are so anti LAME?


5th Apr 2004, 08:59
VTM, RTFQ! As they used to say in the multy choice answer exams. I am still holding a valid LAME license and the only thing I ever missed during a walkaround in 33 years of flying was the unfortunate incident of the pins minus streamers, which would not have been missed if they had the streamers on them. By the way, the Captain missed them also. So according to you, it's OK for the Belgian licensed departure engineer to also miss the pins but confirm that they were removed after engine start. It is also OK for a licensed repair facility to certify the removal of the maintenace pins after taxi to the ramp but it is not acceptable for me to make a mistake? But of course, they were LAMEs and LAMEs never make mistakes! Right? What do Pilots and my fellow Flight Engineers think of me, you ask? There by the grace of God go I, was the most frequent comment. I am not anti LAME but sure as hell, I double checked everything after this incident, especially in Brussels.:sad:

5th Apr 2004, 09:16
So IF it becomes normal in Australia for only Pilots to do the preflights, who will you blame next time you miss something? ;)

What's that you say, oh yourself. :uhoh:

Well at least you will not be able to keep blaming LAMEs. :ok:

5th Apr 2004, 09:40
Isn't it about time we stopped all this nonsence....and this includes you too lame!!

A tech crew member AND a LAME should ALWAYS do a walk around prior to flight!!



5th Apr 2004, 09:49
lame, the reason I didn't get the sack like VTM suggested he would have done and the reason the DFO refused to accept my resignation from Check & Training was due to the extenuating circumstances. If you re read my original post, you might conclude that I didn't try and absolve my mistake by blaming the LAME but did stress that I was badly let down by them. I fully admit my mistake, I wouldn't have posted if I were otherwise inclined. From the tone of your replies however, I wonder how many of you share the same philosophy?

5th Apr 2004, 09:56
Give it a rest Doggie!...

I think it's clear we're all with you on this one!

5th Apr 2004, 10:42
I think it's time I step in and say something, as I originated this thread.

It was never the intention to start a war between Flight deck and Ground crews, and I believe enough dirty laundery has been air. The whole intent of this thread was to create an awareness of the issues facing Engineers now and in the future. These may or may not impact on pilots in the future but are a serious erosion of the duties, as perceived in Aust., for line station LAMES. Yes, I concede they may do it differently overseas but who says there way is the right way. The companies are continually looking for ways to reduce costs and pay shareholders dividends, we believe that this is gambling with the lives of the customers.

It may start by removing LAMES from the tarmac but once that has been done what next? Do we try and get a few more kilometers out of a set of tyres do we stretch the time between services or do we work on reducing the cost of those sitting in the pointy end.

We need to be supporting each other because ultimately we will all be targetted. We concede that Flight Crew are competent at their duties, and preflights are a part of them. We have no objection to Flt. crews doing their walk around in conjunction with that performed by Engineering, they compliment each other, We are together a redundant system, if one should fail the other is there to keep the reliability, and we all know that this is the basis for safety in the modern aircraft.

There has been support from some pilots and that is appreciated, I believe more crew are sympathetic to our plight and was looking for their endorsements.

5th Apr 2004, 11:10
Thanks Amos, that was my last post on this subject anyhow.:ok:

6th Apr 2004, 01:27
GOOD............ ;)

But I don't believe it. :rolleyes:

Pimp Daddy
6th Apr 2004, 02:09
I was just wondering how big an aircraft has to be before the ALAEA deem it worthy of being 100% LAME 100% safe.

Every day when I get to work I jump in my up to 50 seat Dash 8-300 and happily tootle around the sky with the knowledge that according to the MR a LAME only has to look at the aircraft every 80 odd hours.

I sign the daily, LAMEs only look at it at a line check about once a week. Of course they wander past it every day but the only time a LAME is required to make his mark is a line check.

When will I be 100% safe? Am I now? will I every be?

6th Apr 2004, 03:37
Pimp Daddy

Correct me if I am wrong but I cannot recall a fatality in any aircraft ( flying Aust/ New Zealand) greater in size and capacity than a Dash 8, in the last 20 years.

In the last 10 years alone there have been 194 fatal accidents, and 382 fatalities attributed to a/c not in the catergory of High Capacity Aircraft . Unfortunately for you the Dash 8 is rated as an RPT a/c and doesn't make the cut.

All of these a/c would have been having their 80 hour checks, but as you can see accidents happen.

I wish you continued good fortune.

7th Apr 2004, 00:08
Pimp Daddy,

Must be a very reliable a/c flies around for the week without any defects. Not even engine oil.


7th Apr 2004, 02:35
Pimp Daddy,

While I am sure what you said is what you believe really happens, I doubt it very much. ;)

We had exactly the same system for years with the DC9 freighters.

YES, the new Maintenance Release was only issued every 90 hours (in our case), normally at a Check 1,2 3 or 4, and YES the Captain signed the Daily.

The Maintenance Release remained in force for the 90 hours, unless there was a major defect or major damage to the Aircraft, and if on rare trips the Aircraft had to overnight where we didn't have an Engineer, then the Captain actually did the Daily, well he signed for it, I hope he did it.

HOWEVER, much work was done on these Aircraft by LAMEs (including this Lame) every day, as long as they overnighted where thy were supposed to. Obvious things like doing the Daily, engine oil replenishment, hydraulic oil replenishment, oxygen etc.

Any defects that were NOT major found on our Daily, or reported by the Crew, were also rectified.

As someone pointed out earlier on this thread (or it might have been a different thread?), just because you don't see LAMEs for your departure in the morning, or a signature in the M/R, does NOT mean that they have not been servicing your Aircraft for you. :ok:

Best regards,


Pimp Daddy
7th Apr 2004, 05:08
I didn't think this thread was about defects, I thought it was about not requiring preflight inspections by engineers.

I pointed out that my aircraft does not need (nor does it get) a daily inspection of any kind by a LAME.

I did omit that the aircraft has it's oils checked first arrival at a maintenance base, but seeing that is 2 guys racing around with a stand and and oil dispenser their ain't much checking of anything else going on.

Of course the engineers also fix defects, but whilst it is rare for one to go line check to line check without a defect, it is not unusual to have no entries in the log for 3-4 days.

7th Apr 2004, 05:16
Well it was, up until you infered that an LAME only looks at your Aircraft every 80 hours. ;)

You must remember that all sorts of people may read this, and we don't want them to get the wrong idea, do we. :uhoh:

8th Apr 2004, 00:36
So you admit the Engineers "wandering around''your aircraft are actually maintaining your aircraft and your aircraft does actually have defects between line checks.
How many of these defects go unreported?


12th Apr 2004, 08:24
This post has been removed in the interest of harmony, but I have left the signature to highlight how serious these issues are becoming
If you sweep the problem under the carpet, I wont go away!

12th Apr 2004, 22:43
I disagree with posting conversations that were obviously made in confidence. A good way to alienate yourselves from the pilots would be to get some-one into trouble over a slip of the tongue. This is not what I believe the lame's would be seeking, pilots and engineers are not the only readers on these forums.

12th Apr 2004, 22:53

I agree with you 100%.

However it was posted on a thread that is normally only read by Australian LAMEs, at a site that is mainly only for Aircraft Engineers/Mechanics, not all that public.

NOW by quoting it here on PPRuNe, it will be more public than the poster ever intended. :(

NOT me by the way. ;)

Best regards,


12th Apr 2004, 22:57

The closing signature by the lame revealing the conversation says it all, I think he intended for it to become public.

"If you sweep the problem under the carpet, I wont go away!"

12th Apr 2004, 23:02

But unless it was you, under a different handle?

I really don't think you should be quoting him on a different web site, without his knowledge or permission. :(

12th Apr 2004, 23:06
I have taken your comments on board and removed the comments on both topics

12th Apr 2004, 23:18
I think that is for the best. ;)

However I was not saying you had to, don't want the Woomeras to think I was trying to moderate............. :uhoh: :ooh:

19th Apr 2004, 00:38
lame. are the same lame that posts on Airmech?

1st May 2004, 05:25
Yes, there is only one true "Lame". ;)

What's that I hear people saying, "thank goodness"....... :sad:

IF what is now posted at "another site" is true, it would appear that appropriately Licenced Lames will soon disappear from the Line altogether even in Capital Cities, starting in Hobart. :(

IF it is true, and Lames have been sold out by their own Association, it will spread all over Australia rapidly. :(

Whatever your personal feelings are about this, it is a ridiculous reduction in safety standards built up over decades, just for the sake of the almighty dollar. :(

I just pray that Australia's good safety record does not suffer too much. :sad:

1st May 2004, 16:11
A bit of insight
The Australian Gliding Assn requires a certified inspector to sign up new pilots for preflight "daily inspections" of aircraft. Said inspectors used to induce some anaomalies per a checklist and invite candidates into the hangar to conduct a test "preflight". As a club instructor I used to get a kick out of watching, just to see who would miss what.

Invariably, although having had instruction on exactly what to look for, all candidates would miss something crucial and fail first time around. It was then impressed upon them by the inspector that the "daily" was vital as the a/c may have been worked on and the maintainers weren't infallible etc etc. In this particular club the same individuals were also required to do a walk-round between launches, double-check back-release functionality etc.

Now I know that sailplanes are simple gravity-defying machines but they are subject to the same laws of gravity as the four-engine airplanes that I flew (that had FE's). I was always content that the maintainers, FE's and the pilot (who signed for the airplane) had to do their own walk-arounds. I never felt incapable of missing something evident, but I was always reassured that three sets of eyes most likely would not. The types of accidents that can stem from missed anomalies on preflight are usually quite serious ones. Nonchalance about this preparatory stage of flight is to set the stage for an eventual nasty accident.

I'm with Orville. Keep the professional engineers on the look-out. Their qui vive might save a lot of butts. Why? Because they do know better than anyone else (including the pilot) what to look for/look at. Australia has an enviable record of air passenger safety. But after your first big one the inevitable introspective reflection will be that we allowed ourselves to become familiar and complacent. That's as sure as the fact that an egg will rot, given time.

In spite of all the bean-counters actively risk-managing and reassuring us, it is not risk-managing - that's a transparent fallacy. It is risk-taking not to do independent walk-rounds. 14.5K hours has taught me lots - and that simple truth was one of the first to go indelible.

2nd May 2004, 22:43
Thankyou for your support, I wonder how many pilots are behind you in this support. A campaign started by the A.L.A.E.A. may be about to put this to the test.


2nd May 2004, 23:01
Jetstar hits trouble on safety

By Stefanie Balogh

May 3, 2004

QANTAS budget offshoot Jetstar will hit turbulence today when aircraft engineers begin a public campaign against its plans to allow pilots to carry out crucial pre-flight safety checks.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association's "Jetsafe" campaign will employ billboards, a website and Internet advertising to attack Jetstar's commitment to safety.
With the Virgin Blue budget rival to take to the skies in three weeks on May 25, the union is accusing it of skimping on maintenance costs.

"To ask a pilot to take on this job is akin to asking a motorist to conduct their own pink-slip inspection on their car," association federal secretary David Kemp said yesterday.

But Jetstar says aircraft-makers and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approve of the way the airline conducted its safety checks.

Pilots, not engineers, have also carried out the checks for the past four years at Impulse Airlines, which forms the backbone of Jetstar's operations, without incident.

But Mr Kemp said the union's public campaign was about saying to travellers they "have a choice about the type of airline they want to fly with - one which puts maintenance and safety inspections at the highest priority or one that wants to shave them to save money".

The union threatened Virgin Blue with industrial action 18 months ago when it pursued a similar safety check regime, but the airline was forced to back down.

Pre-flight external inspections examine the condition of the aircraft and check no last-minute damage has occurred before take-off.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said travellers needed to remember safety was "absolutely paramount" at Jetstar.

"Jetstar will deliver the highest safety standards expected by the Australian travelling public," he said.

"We are part of the Qantas group so we will simply not participate in doing anything that would compromise ... passenger safety."

The Australian

This report appears on NEWS.com.au.

2nd May 2004, 23:29
Well, who said it wouldn't happen?

This has been brewing for many months now and we just hope that the ALAEA have not their run too late.


This appears to be a new ALAEA information site that they will use to attack the safety issues(not) behind the airline move to no man transits.

This definately want be swept under the carpet now. :ok:

2nd May 2004, 23:49
I just hope it isn't too late, with this business about QF in Hobart. :(

I have been spreading the word on several other web sites Worldwide. ;)

Better go spread some more............. :ok:

2nd May 2004, 23:59
lame, the article by Stefanie Balogh, states "But Jetstar says aircraft-makers and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approve of the way the airline conducted its safety checks."

Aviations Authorities make mistakes too, they are not fail-safe when being pressured by Big Business and Government.

I recently saw an interesting documentary on Alaska Air and the crash they had to have before the cut, cut ,cut philosphy bought them undone, not to mention the lost lives and broken families. These were Engineering deficiencies that went un-noticed, inspection schedules extended, falsification of documents, and defects that were found & declared serviceable by supervisors to expidite aircraft return to service.

The reduced inspection schedules had been OK'd by FAA and prior to this accident there had been an audit done on the airline, where they were unable to uncover the other unsafe practices.

We look to the world for "world's best Practice" even when they are proven to be flawed.

To date we have been able to maintain a good safety record why allow ourselves now to be dragged down to their levels.

Suffering Sucataash
3rd May 2004, 00:51
I consider myself to be a conscientious pilot and try to conduct a thorough walk around in the little time we have on the 737. It was very sobering then when an engineer came to the cockpit recently and explained the aircraft was unserviceable. This was after my inspection – I had missed a crack in the pressure hull which was over an inch long.

I would suggest it was only his training and exposure which allowed him to find this defect for even when I when back to inspect the area I was still unable to find the problem. Until, that is, when he pushed the skin and the crack opened. He knew what to look for as a trained professional. My training I would think is probably typical of what most pilots receive, from another pilot, and was simply not adequate and I doubt ever will be.

Yes you will get away with a lot by having new aircraft, but they will age overtime, I would like to do likewise.


3rd May 2004, 01:14

Your openess about that is refreshing. :ok:

This is what most people here are saying, certainly me.

Pilots MAY sometimes miss something, and YES so MIGHT Engineers sometimes. :(

That is why we should maintain what we have had for at least the last 40 years I know of personally (some say it is for 50 years), where BOTH a Pilot and an Engineer do an independent preflight inspection, before EVERY flight. :ok:

Best regards,


5th May 2004, 04:36
Suffering Sucotash,

If the tear in the pressure hull was over an inch long, it is reasonable to suspect that it was there for some time - it didn't just magically appear after 1 sector.

Did you ewver get an answer from the people who obviously investigated this major problem how long the tear existed?

I wonder who signed the daily?

The point of the above is that is good luck that an engineer found it. There exists numerous points on an aeroplane where stress problem could manifest themselves that don't get inspected by ANYBODY on turnarounds or daily inspections.

Again the engineers are chucking stones at pilots - the interview link where the ALAEA person mentions the previous campaign - if engineers want support from the majority of pilots they would do well not to insist that engineers are the only safety professionals on the ramp.

cooperation between pilots and engineers will work far better than animosity.

and yes LAME I know we disagree - we have been over it before!

30/30 Green Light
5th May 2004, 06:47
Throughout this thread the term LAME is constantly bandied about.There are in general,2 classifications of LAME:airframe/engine(mechanical) and avionic (E/I/R).Almost without exception the examples of defects quoted as having been found by a LAME on pre-flights are of a physical/mechanical nature.Having looked at the syllabi for the category examinations it would seem that the only person who has training specific to structural inspections is the Mechanical LAME.Whilst not wishing to denigrate the avionic LAME,surely we should be looking at "horses for courses".Given that the mechanical tradestream receives the structural training, then should the responsibility for the pre-flight,(if required) rest with the a Mechanical LAME?Also, the ability to carry out a physical inspection is not something which magically appears the day you pick up your first Licence endorsement.An experienced AME may do just as well.Remember that most of the inspection work done during Heavy Maintenance is carried out by those same AME's. Hello?

5th May 2004, 07:41
Just a couple of points.

At all the Airlines and Contract Companies I have ever worked for, ONLY an Airframe LAME appropriately Licenced on that Aircraft, can automatically sign a preflight inspection.

Other LAMEs can be approved to, but ONLY after receiving considerable training.

I have been on contracts where because we did not have enough LAMEs to cover every Port, the Pilots had to have extra training on preflights, have a guess who trained them....... :ok:

Sure experience is a wonderful thing, same with Pilots. ;)


Yes obviously we are never going to agree. ;)

Sadly though, I actually believed you when you said you were going to say no more on the subject............. :eek:

6th May 2004, 10:10
The engineers are once again their own worst enenies! The Association has instructed engineering staff on tarmac to continue doing the turnaround. Some shifts in VB are following these instructions are it seems other shifts couldn't give a toss.
Another worry is the pilot"s work load. There has been one instance, that I know about, that a VB pilot sign the preflight before the aircraft touched down. He was not on board the aircraft on the next leg.

6th May 2004, 10:29

Not sure where you get your info from, but pilots don't sign the preflight box. We used to do it for classics under limited circumstances, but we don't touch it on the NG.

Also how do you know the pilot signed it - it is a small box and barely legible!

pilots only do a pilot exterior inspection - not a preflight check...

semantics I know, but some people get all in a twitter about the language!

just as an aside - why isn\'t there some jumping up and down about the use of unlicenced labour to do significant amounts of work on aeroplanes?

Particularly in heavy maintenance there are fewer and fewer LAME\'s signing for work, with significant amounts of the work done by AME\'s.

By the very nature of AME\'s they are unlicenced and as a consequence uncontrolled.

I would rather see this addressed as I see it as being a greater threat to safety than walkarounds on a turnaround.

6th May 2004, 19:27

I see you are at it again. :(

You obviously know nothing about Engineering, yet you post this ridiculous rubbish on a public forum. :mad:

You have criticised someone who dared to post something which you say is wrong about Pilots, then you yourself post a load of rubbish about Engineering. :confused:

You have made it clear numerous times, that you are quite happy to dispense with a system that a served us well for some 50 years, that is LAMEs doing preflight checks, yet you keep on about this idea of yours about AMEs, another system that has served us well for 50 years or more. :(

OF COURSE you can continue to post about this, even though you said you were not going to ;) , but PLEASE get your facts right, this is a public forum, and incredibly someone might believe what you are posting. :uhoh:


7th May 2004, 05:06
Just to add a little comment to the whole discussion.

I am one of those LAME's (since 1996). At the beginning of my "career" I thought that experience does not matter during inspections (be it preflight or detailed visuals in the hangar). My perception was that you can only look at a part of an aircraft one way, everyone will see the same thing, how hard can it be?

Very slowly over the years this attitude changed though, and only because of one reason, because over the years I have become much more experienced in inspecting and now pick up stuff that I would not have as an apprentice. The licence has nothing to do with it, experience counts! I still miss stuff and more experienced lames (or AME's, as I said the licence does not matter) explain to me what they are seeing, but that just helps me further and increases my training. I have just seen so many cracks and faults over the years that I start to know what to look for, know how to hold the torch (sounds stupid I know but it can be vital!), start to know the weak points of a certain design. Don't get me wrong I am nowhere near perfect and never will be but I am amazed how much better I can do inspections now than I used to many years ago. Not because of training (sure that helps too), but mostly because of experience.
A crack or corrosion can be a bastard, so well hidden that an experienced eye might make the difference.

I have also worked overseas for many years and have worked under a system that was a lameless tarmac. On our homebase, engineers did the first inspection of the day, and the pilots did the rest of the sectors until back home or on a major outstation. It worked fine I guess. I really can't tell if a lameless tarmac would be a safety risk, I guess not, but who really knows.

How does Qantas operate today, do they have a LAME at each port a Qantas jet lands to do the preflight inspection?:confused:

7th May 2004, 09:32
DHDriver, I dont know what company you are talking about, AMEs can sign for work carried out but the work has to be checked and signed for by a LAME and that is the LAW.
The company I work for has more than a 50/50 ratio of AMEs to LAMEs.

7th May 2004, 10:53

I have NEVER said I support removing LAME's from preflight inspections - my objection is to the campaign that says that the aeroplanes are going to fall from the sky if engineers don't do preflights - this is an industrial issue not a safety issue.

I am very happy having two sets of eyes doing preflights and have no desire to see engineers relegated to permanent night shift.

I DO object to the ALAEA inferring that pilots are incapable of doing preflights and that the lives of the passengers are at risk if a LAME doesn't do a preflight - this is where my objections lie.

Now with regards my post about AME's - where exactly are the incorrect facts? I know what goes on in some hangers - maybe not yours....

As for not posting any further - I said I'd stop posting on this because I thought that the public misinformation from the union had ceased. The new union campaign makes the topic fair game.

the AME system that you champion as having served us well for 50 years is akin to not having licenced first officers - the captain can supervise and signoff on any work done by the F/O - would you agree that this isn't an optimal solution? By raising this issue I am simply trying to point out that there are some real issues out there that are ignored.

I have a great deal of respect for a lot of LAME's, and all I want is to see a honest campaign that tells the truth not half truths that scare the public.

If we can get that then I fear that we will agree on a lot more things!!

and as it happens I know a fair bit about engineering!

7th May 2004, 11:09
"and as it happens I know a fair bit about engineering!"

Congratulations, you hide it well............ ;) :D

7th May 2004, 11:24
playing the man are we?

7th May 2004, 12:39
Aware that this forum is not judge and jury and not the decision maker as to what happens, I'll add this.

Aircraft are now extremely reliable machinary, especially the engines. Long gone are the days of the old sumpy with his cigarette papers doing magneto timing.

I would prefer personally to have an engineer preflight an aircraft, however history and economics dosen't do the cause any favours. The TAA dutch dogwhistles flew around the milkruns in QLD for years and only saw an engineers at a few ports. The percentage of "NIL" reports in current aircraft tech logs wouldn't help either.

The beany's would see it as expensive insurance.

Unfortunate as it may be, it is inevitable that current lame expertise will be wanted more in the wee hours of the morning in the hangar.

Unless all snags are reported, all.

8th May 2004, 02:22
I agree that the ALAEA`S public campaign has created enemies among Pilots when they should have been ensuring co-operation.While i support the effort by the ALAEA i do question the method`s used.
I can assure you that COGNAC`s post has more truth in it than you may wish to believe.Currently there are some ports and shifts were engineers do not carry out transit pre-flights as their employer(PatrickJC) has insisted that if caught carrying out a pre-flt check and/or certifying three times by mangement you will be sacked!
VirginTech`s situation appears that the engineer does carry out a pre-flt BUT DOES NOT CERTIFY in the flight log.
VB`s offical position is that the engineer is free to carryout a pre-flt but a certification is not required and not wanted as the System of Maintenance does not require a signiture.So many engineers are doing pre-flts but you will never see a signature .

Unfortunate as it may be, it is inevitable that current lame expertise will be wanted more in the wee hours of the morning in the hangar.

Unless all snags are reported, all.

WHICH IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM AT VB,some pilots (a minority now)carrying defects all day and refusing to enter in the discrepancy log but are happy to verbally tell the next flight crew but not the engineer.Some even when the aircraft terminates for the night still won`t write the defect in the book, they will only give a verbal report.As VB and its maintenance providers decide upon manning levels proprotional to the amount of reported defects/scheduled maintenance/amount of transits/numder of overnight aircraft this does have a direct effect on staff levels.
It also falsify`s the relibility data of the fleet,ie affects the ETOPS relibility data.

8th May 2004, 02:31
Certainly sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. :{ :{

8th May 2004, 02:46
Over 100 posts.

Feel free to start a new version.