Tech Forum

Sept. 19, 2007

Maintenance outsourcing
You received a letter from a Fabio Natal regarding “Maintenance outsourcing” (July Tech Forum). I worked for United Airlines for 44 years. The last three years performing maintenance on foreign and domestic carriers for United at O’Hare International. I had some 11 airlines and of course 11 different ways of signing off logbooks for the various carriers. All required names and license numbers. I then spent an additional four years working for Mexicana Air Lines as a maintenance rep. It was no different there. All aircraft required name, license numbers, employee number, explanation of work accomplished, and maintenance reference used to sign the work off. We also were subject to FAA ramp inspections of aircraft, maintenance facility, our maintenance manuals, and logbooks. In addition Mexicana required all their mechanics to attend retraining and troubleshooting courses at its maintenance base in Mexico City each year. The courses are given in Spanish and in English for those who do not speak Spanish. I do not know what Natal is trying to say but he is slightly mistaken.
Jesse Amador, Chicago, IL

I just want to thank you for acknowledging us (the May 2007 Editor’s Viewpoint). This is very good. Also I just used some of your points on my final exam (aircraft maintenance management).
Nader Hassieb

Tech Forum
I enjoy reading the articles in AMT and commentaries in Tech Forum. I agree with the July 07 response letter from Fabio Natal. Paraphrasing, FAR 43.9,a,4 states that the maintenance entry must contain the signature and certificate number and type of the approving ‘person.’ If you are working for yourself, then this is your information, however if you are working under say a 121 or 145 it could (and should) be the name and certificate of the air carrier or air agency respectively. I’ve seen that most businesses write their GMM/IPM’s stating that the employee will sign with his/her name and certificate so that the employee takes the hit should something go wrong instead of the company. These businesses should have the business name and certificate info preprinted on all forms and the individual should only sign his name and employee number as an authorized representative of the ‘person’ approving the work — the company — after all, it IS the company and their certificate that the FAA inspects and monitors. The company is the ‘person’ as defined in FAR 1. If the company wants to reap the profits, then accept the responsibility. On-call maintenance contractors should print the name and certificate number of their employer and sign for that employer.
Mike Vanacore, N. Miami Beach, FL

Penny for your thoughts
I read with great interest Giacinta Koontz’s July article titled “Penny For Your Thoughts,” but it stirred my curiosity of the mystery as to when this all started!

I wish I could provide the answer. I can only say that when I first saw a penny in the sump plug on a R1340 fresh back from the overhaul shop I thought it was a neat addition. This was back about 1978 and the engine was going on an Ag-cat that I was flying and I think the engine was from Aero in California. Needless to say I carried on with the idea of installing “my lucky penny” in the sump of the 1340 on a brand new 1979 Ag-cat. I elected to put the corresponding penny for the year of the airframe. Subsequent to the Ag-cats, I was involved with maintenance and flying several North American Harvard IIs and installed 1941 pennies and 1952 pennies in a couple of Canadian-built MK 4s.

I hope someone comes up with the origin of this practice!
Bill Hayes, Tillsonburg, Ontario, CN

Maintenance outsourcing
There is a letter to the editor from Fabio Natal on “Maintenance Outsourcing.” I worked for Mexicana Airlines for three and a half years after retiring from UAL after 37 years, and I know Natal does not have his facts correct. First, I do not like outsourcing anymore than next U.S. citizen, but Mexicana required a company identification number be entered in the logbook behind every entry made in the action taken column. Further I had to attend logbook handling school in Mexico City every year. And we were subject to FAA inspector’s inspections, just like everyone else.
Robert Larson, Elk Grove Village, IL

Borescope article
Reading your article about rigid and flexible borescopes (July 2007) I was struck by the lack of current information about videoscopes entering the marketplace. Obviously the writer not being a manufacturer of videoscopes would not want to discuss technology he does not fabricate.
What a shame to waste two and one half pages discussing 75-year-old technology and ignoring the most recent advances in video NDT inspection. It is especially difficult to ignore the shortcomings of the article when you view the numerous ads in your magazine touting the newest and latest advances in video technology.
Adrian Rodrigues, BorescopesRus