Tech Forum

The other first mechanic
Giacinta Bradley Koontz did a superb job writing this article (December online feature). Clearly written, very readable, and concise, it covers the subject very well. Manly created an outstanding engine, unfortunately compromising his eyesight while constructing it. He deserves to be better remembered. Sad that his engine design was never picked up and built upon. It might have put aviation years ahead if it had. Thanks for putting some history into the magazine. Mechanics need to be reminded from whence we came.
— Tony Vasko

Ultrasonic inspection
Mr. Careless’ guest, Ms. Christine Murner, of GE’s Sensing and Inspecting Tech, says: “Ultrasonic testing normally requires water or other coolant to provide effective transfer of the ultrasonic wave energy between the transducer and the parts being inspected. You can’t do it in air.”
Water or other liquid couplant is the norm. But, you can do ultrasonic testing in air. Matter of fact, air is the couplant. It is mostly used through transmission but occasionally can be used in pulse-echo. Please reference Cessna Aircraft’s massive airscanning bed which does thousands of parts or NDT Systems’ Curlin’ Air unit which is a much smaller unit but has some incredible “punching” power, especially for thick composites.
— Ron Olson, Wichita, KS

Bill O’Brien
Bill has done so much for the aircraft maintenance community. We are in debt to him for his concern for aviation safety and the maintenance technicians who are on the front lines of flying safety.
— Gerard Blake

Future of the industry
The October issue’s Steve Prentice Staying Legal article re: EASA – DOT harmonization should be read by everyone interested in the country’s and airline industry’s future, not just aviation mechanics.

This country’s economic state and air carrier financial health are undoubtedly tied together. {Harm}onizing our airlines and their regulator (FAA, DOT, etc.) with Europe’s is sure to have unintended consequences. The EU’s stated aim should say enough. Foreign countries should not be allowed to build toll roads for us in our skies.
Outsourcing our jobs is bad enough, but outsourcing surveillance and enforcement to foreigners should not even be considered.
— Tom Whetsel, Oak Ridge, TN

We apologize for the omission, Michael Aten created the drawings for Past Contact! Mechanics in Aviation History’s January/February 2009 article.

Bill O’Brien
When I retired from the Venezuelan Air Force, I didn’t know anything about Federal Aviation Regulations.

Then when I engaged in an aircraft maintenance shop in 1996, I heard civil aeronautical words that are common now, but in those days, they were almost a mystery. Later, a two-year-old edition of AMT landed in my hands. At the office, we were relegated to read previous editions. When the days and years passed by, I used to look for AMT.

Through “Bill’s Notes For Technicians,” I crashed against the invisible wall of ignorance and realized the importance of the information, and an aviation magazine designed to educate and inform personnel like me.

After the web entered our offices, we can read earlier editions as well as the latest.

We appreciate the steady beam of light that we have received from Bill O’Brien. I can say that I have enjoyed each of those articles written with a humorous approach, like “The Rite of Passage,” “Grease Monkey,” “The Code,” “Leaky Boat,” “Part 43,” “Red Tape,” “Silverback,” etc.
— Enry Rodriguez

Bud Gurney
I enjoyed the article about Bud Gurney (Past Contact, September and October issues) very much. It took me back to the ‘60s when we flew alongside him. He was such a fine gentleman, and his lovely wife Hilda just a delight. Giacinta did a nice job of research and conveying their life and nature. Often the sidebars of history are more interesting than the stars of the show.
— Bette Bach Fineman, Arizona