Thursday, May 10, 2007

Maybe the little leak DOES need fixing?

As a frequent flyer... 15 times around Australia last year for starters, I often wonder what else could be wrong with the plane when things like the sound system doesn't work... or the latches on the seats are broken... or the ground crew bring the long "de-planing" ladders which happened recently in Perth - they were the wrong height.

Now I am not an alarmist but this next tale got me to thinking... what little things can I get done before the year starts in earnest. So that's the challenge - what have you been outing off that will only take a few minutes to fix. Go on, JUST DO IT! ( with apologises to Nike )

As reported some years back in The Wall Street Journal:

Here is an awesome example of taking little things for granted. Here is a most expensive and frightening lesson learned by a major airline about taking little, easy steps for granted.

A mechanic working under an aircraft noticed a small leak from the forward lavatory. Having just completed the repair of a more sophisticated mechanical malfunction that threatened to delay the on-time departure of the plane, the mechanic decided the little drip could wait until the plane landed at the next airport.

The plane took off on time.

Well, that little drip kept dripping. And, as liquid is known to do at very cold temperatures, the drips began to freeze. The little drip turned into a big chunk of ice. At 870 kilometres per hour, that little chunk of ice broke off from the fuselage and slammed into an engine.

The impact from all those little drips-turned brick caused the engine to self-destruct and rip right off the plane.

After the emergency landing, officials determined that the part that could have prevented the nearly catastrophic mishap was a little rubber washer. More than a hundred lives were put at risk, and an engine costing more than $1 million was destroyed all for the want of, literally, a ten-cent part - and a little attention to detail by a mechanic focusing on the complex but not the simple.

Great story. I have a sign looking back me which says: "NOT TOMORROW! Make the call! Today! Now!" That advice has helped immensely in the last 12 months.

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