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Qantas Maintenance Changes

Old 20th Apr 2014, 02:59
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Qantas Maintenance Changes

Hey guys. I just wanted to open up some conversation on changes implemented by Qantas last week that has effectively extended the daily check on 738 aircraft out to 48 hours. Up until last Monday, a check 2 was carried out overnight on all aircraft. A check 2 included engine oil servicing and brake/tyre wear checks.

Yesterday VZW had an rtb because the good crew were concerned that engine quantity levels after start were low, particularly considering they were to operate Syd-Bme-Syd. Engines were showing 12 and 13. We believe consumption rates can be up to .7 per hour for each engine.

The boys put 3.5 Quarts into each engine and off she went. Additionally there have been other verbals from crews seeking a check of the oil levels where 4 quarts per donk were added.

It appears that low quantity can be picked up by a vigilant crew however the extension of the check intervals will now often lead to a situation where quantity levels drop to a much lower level before a mandatory Engineering check is undertaken.

I was wondering what triggers are in place for you guys to prompt you to check the levels and at what point do you call for oil level servicing? Also what information has been disseminated by management to make you aware of the changes.

Also other things that reside in the check 2 have been pushed out such as tyre and brake checks. I'm not sure how you guys gauge the serviceability or otherwise of these components.

We often raise these concerns with management and they just brush it aside with a - "If there is any doubt the crew will just call a LAME". How do you guys know when to call a LAME or even if doubt exists in the first place?

cheers in advance. Steve P
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 03:54
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Steve, please excuse my ignorance as I am a Driver not a Gingerbeer, but vigilance aside, has management done a risk assessment on each separate item that they have extended the maintenance interval on - tyres, brakes, engine oil etc? One would assume 'yes' and that they are tracking data to ensure that extending these service intervals is actually effective, reduces any safety risk and of course lastly reduces costs? Are management going back and reviewing these changes to see if they actually are effective and not causing some inadvertent or even latent risks?
Is extending the intervals done in the name of 'best practise'? Has something changed in the evolution of maintenance for these intervals to now be extended? I assume the manufacturers and CASA are comfortable with these extensions?
The Alaska Airways crash, re: unlubricated jackscrew, often comes to my mind when I hear of maintenance cuts, extensions or intervals. I'm not saying that the aforementioned accident is relevant to QF and I absolutely respect the work the Australian Gingerbeers do, 100%, but management types do tend to skirt the fringes at times for the sake of saving a few bucks, earning some brownie points and receiving a bonus.
Sorry for the string of questions but those of us who don't do the maintenance can be somewhat naive with all the processes and procedures, but are naturally concerned when there is any change to established procedures. One could assume that in regard to what you mention about VZW that the new procedure isn't working? I could be wrong as there are numerous factors that will cause or contribute to a lower than expected oil level, but my red flag has for some reason popped up!

For those unfamiliar with the Alaska Airways crash;
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 04:23
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Question OEM requirements

What does the OEM's maintenance schedule require?

Is this actually an extension, or is it the removal of QF-imposed additional maintenance to revert to the OEM schedule?
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 04:47
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The horse has bolted mate. Flight Ops approved the changes so we are meant to believe the tech crew are OK with it.

Pilots have to realise they need to be more aware of things such as oil levels because there won't be an engineer checking them anywhere near as often. It's a bit late to find out your low on oil after push-back. I bet my left one it went down to an engineering delay regardless. Inbound crews need to report EVERYTHING if they want a safe serviceable aircraft, even if it is an un-manned port. Funny how NGs only seem to get defects on the way back to a maint port...

Just the other day one flew three sectors with a no-dispatch door defect that was written up but not reported. More than one ar$e needs kicking there!
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 05:07
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Min oil quantity can be nominated plus .7 for every hour planned for flying . Insert some pictures of a U/S tyre in ops manual showing what to look for .
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 05:23
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Off to footy but just briefly. Qantas do some risk assessments. If the Engineering change they want is not endorsed, they find someone who will sign off on a new risk assessment and then deem the first person who rejected the change as a troublemaker and their career is over. This is how Qantas operate.

AMM says to check oil every 24 hours unless otherwise amended in an operator's System of Maintenance. The other option is there for airlines who don't fly their aircraft as much but Qantas take it literally to mean "if we can find some buffoon in CASA to sign off" it will be ok. There are lots of buffoons at CASA and of course many good people also.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 05:45
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If it's unsafe, I'd be putting on a REPCON and then sending the (no doubt bullshit) response from QF to the good Senator and maybe some press outlets.

This industry stinks of so many latent threats now, it seems inevitable that something is about to go horribly wrong.It looks like there is no stopping QF and CASA's "relationship", so our only course of action is to make as many impartial organisations aware of our concerns.

This isn't the only safety downgrade being introduced across the QF network either so I am told.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 06:22
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In my type it's 11q minimum with an additional 0.3 per planned flight hour. It's checked by the PNF every sector on the SD of ECAM.

Daily and preflight valid for 36 hours.

It's funny though, from what I recall the intent of even a 36 hour window was not to use it as a rule, but flexibility with aircraft at non engineering ports.

Now it's a target.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 06:24
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B738 48 hour check

I have been working overseas for a few years.
The B738 48 hour check has been standard where I work for several years.
AMM minimum oil quantity is 12qts, but I never see it that low.
Regardless of check interval, if its my aircraft, the oils, tyres and brakes are checked every transit. Thats just me, its so easy to do on the 738.
If the aircraft is operating MOD I suggest the pilots adopt the same standard. Its your arse up there at 35,000 feet. If in doubt call for an engineer, they will gladly come out and make sure you aircraft is safe to fly !
Cheers !

Last edited by QF22; 20th Apr 2014 at 06:25. Reason: Spelling
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 07:03
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For a comparison, don't virgin only do a daily check every 2 days unless it is an ETOPS flight. Seems to work for them, and if I am correct it has been that way for 7 years I know of.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 07:51
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I asked a mate at Virgin, they have gone back to 24hr checks at most ports. A small number of aircraft that overnight at some outports with limited engineering resources operate up to 48hrs.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 08:22
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^^^Very much, this.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 10:18
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It is possible it could be up to 48hours + 12hours before an engineer looks at the aircraft again.

The engineer will typically do the check on a nightshift and the MXI work package will be closed immediately prior to the first flight the next day. I'm sure most tech crew have been delayed due to maintenix issues of a morning and know what it's all about.

The clock starts counting for the next check from the moment the MXI package is closed, usually in the morning, not from when the check was actually carried out the night before.

Just some more food for thought for the tech crew. Think about how many support vehicles approach the aircraft between nightshift and prior to first flight - and where do you see 99% of all aircraft fuselage damage.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 10:29
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I work over seas, we used to do the daily checks religiously every 48 hrs but believe it or not made life a hassle.
The 48 hrs was only meant to be there to get us out of trouble in case of being stuck somewhere.
All our destinations are unmanned with very little or no support.
Note all our flights are international and some are ETOPS.
Thanks to EASA etops can be certified by pilots now.
Also the NG oil use is a max 0.7 qts an hr for oil alerts.
The minimum for dispatch is 70% I have never seen one get so low in 48 hr period so not a big deal.
Before any one judges we can do 40 min hops to 6 hr legs.
It sucks to have management hate you and wish to degrade the quality of service you provide but welcome to the new world is all I can say.

We are a dying breed and an expense that no one wants, but they all need.
Also I have nothing nice to say about EASA pt 66 lic.
I have met dozens of people who have cashed up family go over to England do a 147 training package come out with basic lic, companies go ooh he has a basic lic he must be great!
Yes on paper he is 'great' but no hand skills no common knowledge just spoon fed basics.

Good luck guys.

VA have been doing maintenance on demand for years they haven't had any issues, QF will be fine as well.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 10:50
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-Pilot gets in cockpit.

-As part of pre-flight procedures, pilot checks oil level on cockpit display.

-As per flight manual, pilot calculates minimum oil required for sectors ie base amount plus 'x' per flight hour. Note that on ETOPS sector an engineering check of levels required AS PART OF ETOPS sign off.

In the HIGHLY UNLIKELY case that oil level is less than required, maintenance release entry requesting oil addition.

Airyplane departs and arrives at destination.

Maintenance is required to monitor individual engines for adverse trends in oil consumption.

It ain't that hard.......
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 12:56
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Hey illusion,
The problem is nowhere in Qantas supplied manuals to pilots, does it state the minimum oil required amounts....base amount or usage per hour.
So yes pilots do have a problem when faced with a 8 hour day of flying stopping at a non maintenance port and turning up to see the aircraft having oil levels anywhere between 12-20 qts.
The first question isn't "are we safe?", it's "are we legal."
And in asking engineers across the network it appears not to many know themselves because the documentation appears lacking. However, on transit through Sydney today, it appeared a more definitive answer of 60% has been established.
But the other issue raised was what about an etops sector?
The answer was 16 qts, again good to know but nowhere is that number listed in pilot documentation.
The next revelation of course is the rumour that shortly Qantas will dispatch all 737 non etops, eliminating the need for engineering input preflight.
One does ask wtf is going on in this place and where is casa in allowing this rubbish to be occurring.
I haven't had time to go back and re read the CARs to establish the pilot in commands requirements for confirming adequate fluid levels on board the aircraft preflight, but it makes it difficult when Qantas' own documentation to pilots provides no reference.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 13:32
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I'm sure we're all aware, but...


(1) The pilot in command of an aircraft must not commence a flight within Australian territory, or to or from Australian territory, if he or she has not taken reasonable steps to ensure that the aircraft carries sufficient fuel and oil to enable the proposed flight to be undertaken in safety.

(2) An operator of an aircraft must take reasonable steps to ensure that an aircraft does not commence a flight as part of the operator's operations if the aircraft is not carrying sufficient fuel and oil to enable the proposed flight to be undertaken in safety.

To all, do you know how much you require for the flight to be undertaken in safety? If not, best find out!
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 14:05
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Maybe it is actually time to waddle out of your protected little pond at Taronga Park Zoo.

Oh boo-hoo, the QF documentation doesn't tell me the limits. Would you even consider that maybe, just maybe, as a professional you should actually know these.

They are published in the OEM data. But no, if it isn't on my spoon I can't swallow it.

The flight deck is not an extension of the forward cabin, it isn't full service.

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Old 20th Apr 2014, 14:05
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Thanks for the updated info I wasn't aware they righted the wrongs.
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Old 20th Apr 2014, 15:37
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I would bet that the first most crews would have heard about this 48hr business, if they have at all, is from chatting with a dispatch engie. Of the 3 jet types that normally operate domestically, I see one entry on 8th April on a official (unofficial) blog.
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