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Are we flying increasingly defective planes?

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Are we flying increasingly defective planes?

Old 27th Jul 2023, 12:13
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Are we flying increasingly defective planes?

What is the most amount of defects you've ever flown with on a modern airliner?

For me it was 34, with about half being related to Cabin Defects. At least 3 defects had operational procedures associated with them. Many others deferred due to "NIL Spares" or "Nil Time". My personal favorite "BITE Test Performed - No faults found"

From the top of my head:
  • Broken sunvisors
  • Broken FO sidestick PTT switch
  • Broken headset holder
  • Parking brake light inop
  • WX Unreliable
  • APU Inop (after wet socks smell)
  • FAC2 made inop, as it was causing "spurious": RUDDER TRAVEL LIMITER SYS 2, RUDDER TRIM SYSTEM 2, YAW DAMPER 2 faults
  • Rudder control rods corrosion, mandatory inspections till next C check
  • Damaged armrest, sharp plastic
  • Flight deck door difficult to close
  • Speaker volume fades (as flight progresses, 100% volume ends up sounding more like 20%)
  • F/CTL FCDC2 Fault after every takeoff
  • CPDLC fault
  • Altimeter setting wrong according to some ATS units
  • Printer inop

Everything was in the book, checked by engineers and within MEL time limits. Would you fly such a plane or reject it? And if so, on what grounds?
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 13:49
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I've flown on aircraft carrying hundreds of ADDs resulting from industrial action.

No names, no pack drill.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 15:47
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Weather radar unreliable would make me think twice. That’s most of Europe out.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 20:21
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Broken sunvisors

Spares

Broken FO sidestick PTT switch

Old side stick, an hour, new on 4 hours

Broken headset holder

Spares

Parking brake light inop

Spares or troubleshooting

WX Unreliable

A tranciever (30 minite and spares) ANT, an hour and spares

APU Inop (after wet socks smell)

A day at least

FAC2 made inop, as it was causing "spurious": RUDDER TRAVEL LIMITER SYS 2, RUDDER TRIM SYSTEM 2, YAW DAMPER 2 faults

Both items are known to be not very reliable, and a fair amount of time to change up on the fin

Rudder control rods corrosion, mandatory inspections till next C check

Time

Damaged armrest, sharp plastic

Spares and time

Flight deck door difficult to close

Ask Airbus

Speaker volume fades (as flight progresses, 100% volume ends up sounding more like 20%)

Never heard of that one

F/CTL FCDC2 Fault after every takeoff

Interesting

CPDLC fault

A box with lots of software loading, so time

Altimeter setting wrong according to some ATS units

Explain?

Printer inop

Spares
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 20:50
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Given that some Big Airlines have made the decision that preventive maintenance/replacing items lifed out is too expensive and now operate a “run it until it breaks” policy it’s no wonder there are ADDs. Combined with outsourcing spare inventories as having things to hand is too expensive for the engineering budget.

Of course the fact the ops budget takes a colossal hit for compensation and ad hoc charter is neither here nor there to those who’ve banked their massive cost saving initiatives and moved on! That doesn’t even begin to cover the safety implications of deferring fairly major system components where both are over their life and of similar senescence.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 20:52
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Nothing to do with the shortage of Licenced Engineers then?
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 23:31
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In my time, I retired in 2008, "Time" was not acceptable as a sole reason for deferment.
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Old 28th Jul 2023, 00:36
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I'm no captain but I'm pretty sure 90% of captains at my airline would refuse such a plane without hesitation.
In summer, we can accept APU inop if taken by surprise, if we need to go back home, or something like that. But out from the base, some captains will refuse the plane just for the APU inop.
Sunvisor is not minor either (though there can be techniques to fix it DIY with paper depending on the piece that's broken)
WX unreliable + APU inop is grounds enough to refuse the plane without any worry.
Printer inop is a huge hassle.

7 items are directly related to flight safety. I would refuse this plane without hesitation.
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Old 28th Jul 2023, 00:57
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Originally Posted by HOVIS
Nothing to do with the shortage of Licenced Engineers then?
Absolutely is.

You can have as much time as you want, but if the licensed engineer is not there.

Jets don't fly with a missing flight crew member.
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Old 28th Jul 2023, 07:16
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Also depends on the type of contract you have with engineering firms. Most ACMIs that always have their planes "out of base" are simply contracted for daily checks and told to do nothing else. It's frightening to me you can have sunvisors missing and a PTT switch broken for 180 days. I've seen instances where engineering have replaced a broken item with another one on its last legs, and that broken upon next use. They did that I would say deliberately, in order to get another 180 days. There is no requirement it would seem to find a new part or one that is perfectly working. I challenged, nothing.

One time I had a 10 day item cleared on the last day because the wrong peocedure was being advised to crew. It was added again with the "correct" procedure thereby gaining another 10 days. It's this kind of action that makes me want to shove a foot up the regulators ass. I reported to management that our company was not operating within the spirit of the MEL rules, no response till the day I resigned.
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Old 6th Aug 2023, 18:52
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Originally Posted by Wodrick
In my time, I retired in 2008, "Time" was not acceptable as a sole reason for deferment.
I've only been doing this for just over 10 years, but "time" is probably the most common reason used these days in my experience.

I work in a depth facility so nothing out of here is generally deferred for time, but multiple items coming in have been by line maint.
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Old 6th Aug 2023, 19:29
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Blimey.

Carrying such faults is all very well until you have a real in-flight emergency; where even something like a U/S PTT switch stops being a nuisance and starts becoming a real safety issue.

A U/S APU is a fairly common nuisance, but we once had a Gen 1 failure during the cruise, which we solved by starting the APU and using the APU GEN, (and GEN 2), to get us home. Without that, we would have had to land at the nearest suitable aerodrome and wait until a new GEN 1 could be shipped and fitted, at huge cost to the airline, compensating the passengers etc.

I left one airline, partly because to get around the intercom boxes not having switchable live mics, we had to use elastic bands on the ACPs to hold the intercom switches open.............. not good to lose comms if the elastic band pinged off during an RTO or EFATO.
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Old 6th Aug 2023, 19:43
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
Blimey.

Carrying such faults is all very well until you have a real in-flight emergency; where even something like a U/S PTT switch stops being a nuisance and starts becoming a real safety issue.

A U/S APU is a fairly common nuisance, but we once had a Gen 1 failure during the cruise, which we solved by starting the APU and using the APU GEN, (and GEN 2), to get us home. Without that, we would have had to land at the nearest suitable aerodrome and wait until a new GEN 1 could be shipped and fitted, at huge cost to the airline, compensating the passengers etc.

I left one airline, partly because to get around the intercom boxes not having switchable live mics, we had to use elastic bands on the ACPs to hold the intercom switches open.............. not good to lose comms if the elastic band pinged off during an RTO or EFATO.
Increasing the rubber band redundancy by putting a second (or even third) one on there simultaneously, seems like a less drastic solution. There's also a switch on the yoke for this, no?
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Old 6th Aug 2023, 19:57
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I am not going to dignify that with a reply........

Oh bugger, I just did !
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