The 100 Percent Rule

Which rule is the one that if only one percent of the mechanics broke it, the result would be the complete failure of the aviation maintenance industry?

I would like to tell them this for the record. There is NO EXCUSE that justifies the falsification of aircraft records. Record falsification is a lie! And every written lie chisels away our honor as mechanics and at the trust the rest of our industry has in our profession.

Record falsification does two things: Identify the liar by name and certificate number, and put the lives of those who fly and those on the ground at great risk.

I also include in this sad company, technicians - FAA certificated or not - who perform work on aircraft and do not sign off on the work. They do not sign the record because they used inferior parts, or their workmanship is poor, or both.

As you may have guessed, my feelings are very strong on this subject of record falsification. I would like to make three more comments on why I believe this is FAR 43.12 is the most important rule.

First, I would like to inform the young men and women presently in FAA approved Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician schools that I personally guarantee that during the course of their aviation career, there is a 75 percent chance that within the first 18 months in the career that you will be asked to falsify a record at least once. It might be your boss, your lead man, your customer, your fellow mechanic. They will tell you that the problem will be worked at the next gate, or next inspection. Just sign off the work/AD/inspection and we will make it right later. One lie begets another and another. If lie the first time, it will be only the first of many times you will be asked to do so. All it takes is just one mechanic with the personal courage to stand up and say NO!

By saying NO the first time and every time thereafter, identifies you as a person who believes in our system of mutual trust, a person of honor and integrity. I will not sugarcoat the personal cost of being a person of honor.

By saying NO, it also makes you a target. Your stand for honesty and integrity in a very competitive business like aviation, is not without its risks. You will be very much alone. Yes, you might even lose your job, or take a personal financial hit, or lose a promotion. You will be accused by your supervisor of the worst possible infraction — not being a "team player" and branded as a disgruntled employee.

Despite the private hell you create for yourself, I assure you, that you will be respected as a maintenance professional by your peers. And although your peers will not admit it, including those who ask you to make a fraudulent entry, they will privately, albeit grudgingly, give you respect for your act of courage.

Who knows, your courage may inspire another to take the big risk, to defend the principles and ethics of our profession, to stand and be counted.

Second, I would like to address those among us who falsified records in the past and make just two comments. One, you must do it no more! Two, it is never too late to gain back your self-respect your honor, and your personal pride.

To rejoin our ranks and retrieve one's honor you must ensure that the aircraft or components you signed off illegally is 100 percent airworthy and the records corrected. You cannot justify your decision on how much it is going to cost you to make things right. Who can place a dollar figure on one's HONOR? More importantly, lives are at stake here and this should be your first consideration and your top priority to make it right.

To correct one's own mistakes voluntarily is hard, but worthy of our industry's respect and admiration. I personally would like to shake your hand and welcome you back.

Lastly, for those among us who don't care to change, I give you fair warning for the new millennium. If you continue to keep making those false entries and keep destroying our profession's honor one lie at a time, I assure you that you will be caught and you will pay a very dear price! The second paragraph of the 100 percent rule allows for not only suspending or revoking your airframe or powerplant certificate but also taking your pilots certificate, operator or production certificate, Technical Standard Order Authorization, Parts Manufacturer Approval, Product or Process specification. After the FAA is done with you, then you may get to learn the legal process in civil court.

We Recommend

  • Article

    High Crimes and Misdemeanors; Ethics and corporate reform

    High Crimes and Misdemeanors Ethics and corporate reform By Stephen P. Prentice T he current pressure on corporate executives that threatens to bring both civil and criminal penalties...

  • Article

    The Answer Is!

    The answers to the professional mechanics test that O’Brien promoted in the last issue as a way to gain much-needed recognition for mechanics as a “professional” career field are provided. And...

  • Article

    Lessons Learned

    I have put together a list of lessons learned that I wish someone had given me when I was a brand new, right out of the box, aircraft mechanic.

  • Article

    Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

    Everyone of us has heard the time-worn expression, “Once in a lifetime opportunity,” that is used to describe a single event or series of events that can have a profound change on one’s...