Frotier mechanic takes matters into his own hands...

mga707

Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
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Any comment on the Frontier mechanic at DEN who decided to emulate Jimmy Stewart in No Highway In the Sky and disabled a 737 that he felt was possibly not airworthy?
 
OP
M

mga707

Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
1,330
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[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 1/2/2003 10:56:49 PM NWA/AMT wrote: [BR][BR]I hadn't heard about that but, as I'm sure he is aware, the federal penalty for such action is 10 years and/or $100,000. Not an action one would take lightly.[BR][BR]----------------[BR][/BLOCKQUOTE][BR][BR]Here's the link:[BR][SPAN class=headline][A href="http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030102/airlines_frontier_1.html"]Frontier mechanic charged with disabling jet[/A][/SPAN]
 

NWA/AMT

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
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I hadn't heard about that but, as I'm sure he is aware, the federal penalty for such action is 10 years and/or $100,000. Not an action one would take lightly.
 

NWA/AMT

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 1/2/2003 11:15:11 PM mga707 wrote:

Here's the link:
http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030102/airlines_fr...frontier_1.html
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[/blockquote]

Thanks.

Wow! Based on what I see in that article, his actions were far, far out of bounds. It would never even occur to me to throw something into an operating engine, particularly not a wheel chock as that is quite likely to cause some fan blades to shear off, creating instant shrapnel. That action alone should get him some jail time, regardless of his intent.

I also notice the penalties for such an action have increased.
 

michael707767

Senior
Aug 21, 2002
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Frankly, I am disappointed that he felt he had to go that far. If a mechanic has concerns about the safety of a jet, then it should not fly.
 

lownslow

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Aug 19, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 1/3/2003 9:26:22 AM michael707767 wrote:

Frankly, I am disappointed that he felt he had to go that far. If a mechanic has concerns about the safety of a jet, then it should not fly.
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[/blockquote]

I agree that if a mechanic has *reasonable* concerns about the safety of a jet, then it should not fly. However, from all reports I've seen, the only indication he had was a wing light that was out. I'm sorry, that really is borderline in terms of affecting the safety in any manner (especially if it is not one of the strobes). If flying without it is an FAA violation, then by all means the plane should not fly.

HOWEVER,

There is NO excuse for his actions in throwing a chock into an engine. It is truly amazing the engine didn't completely shred to pieces (anyone remember the pax killed on the Delta MD80 that threw a blade?). There are much better ways to call the plane back. What he did was clearly malicious and idiotic. I can't help but believe he was disgruntled about something with the company and trying to find a way to do some serious damage.

Actions like this deserve a hefty fine or jail time, and he should be blacklisted from working as an airline mechanic again. I certainly don't want someone with that poor of judgement working on any aircraft I'm going to fly in.
 
Aug 20, 2002
664
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If that engine was running at idle and a chock hit the fan I can/t believe that the damage would be so slight that they would be able to dispatch the plane the next morning.....something doesn/t sound right in that story.
 

Steiner

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Aug 21, 2002
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This story will be interesting to follow. I'm looking forward to how it actually works out, and what the mechanic's justification will be. I'd also like to remind everyone on the inside to keep in mind the level of accuracy the media has for stories from our industry. Maybe there was a bigger issue, and this is the white-washed version for public consumption.
 

OPNLguy

Member
Jan 3, 2003
61
0
I saw on Yahoo's FRNT stock board that the mechanic involved was consider to be a nice guy, but that he was under stress from an ongoing divorce and "snapped." If so, hope he gets some help.

The aircraft doesn't sound as if it was damaged all that badly. No engine change, just some fan blades, a sesnor, and a new cowl. The damage (and threat to the passengers) would have been much worse if the engine had been operating at higher than just idle thrust (during the pushback). Not minimizing what the did, just observing that it could have been worse...

Cheers..
 
Oct 14, 2002
85
0
[blockquote]
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On 1/3/2003 8:40:09 AM ITRADE wrote:

Beyond stupid. Im surprised that the engine wasn't ruined.
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[/blockquote
sounds like he is a little ku ku for coko puffs!
 

Trip Confirmed

Advanced
Dec 5, 2002
225
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[blockquote]
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On 1/3/2003 8:40:09 AM ITRADE wrote:

Beyond stupid. Im surprised that the engine wasn't ruined.
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[/blockquote]


A serious question here?

A man possibly destroyed his career to save how many innocent passengers who might have died flying in an aircraft that possibly wouldn't have landed, but crashed instead.

This man is to be honored. It is also a fact that this story has hit the newswires bigtime, and millions of flying Americans will read it.

I think a man of integrity like that won't have any problem getting a new career, since it's likely the airline will try to fire him.

Many years ago I had a mechanic of 20 years tell me he walked off his job one night and just quit.

His exact words were that he was putting Band-Aids on aircraft that had no business being in the air, and he couldn't sleep at night anymore.

I was looking for some kudos from employees.Aren't many employees on those planes, also?

And you make a statement saying that he was stupid, and your only worry is the ENGINE??

Please explain your attitude to me. I will admit, it is TOTALLY beyond my comprehension.
 

OPNLguy

Member
Jan 3, 2003
61
0
>>>And you make a statement saying that he was stupid, and your only worry is the ENGINE??

>>>Please explain your attitude to me. I will admit, it is TOTALLY beyond my comprehension.


Here's the deal...

If the mechanic involved was sufficently concerned that the aircraft wasn't airworthy and wanted to prevent it's departure, there were a number of other ways to accomplish it.

1/ First and foremost, placing (or leaving) the chock(s) in place behind the wheel(s) would have prevent their pusing pack...

2/ Using another ramp tug to park behind the aircraft, preventing its pushback,

3/ Advising the company's flight dispatcher to stop the flight,

4/ Calling ATC ground control to stop the flight.

All of the above are obviously non-destructive in nature.

By tossing the chock into the running engine, he created a greater risk to the passengers than he was trying to save them from. The worst-case scenario (and what the FAA will argue in court) was that the engine could have come apart and thrown blades and other parts through the cowl, into the wing (and its fuel tank) and the passenger cabin.

Now, realistically, an uncontained engine failure wasn't as great a risk as FAA will argue, since the engine was only operating at idle (minimal) thrust, and nowhere near takeoff power. The other gent to who mentioned the engine knew this, I think, and made his engine comments from the standpoint that the passengers were not in as much risk as they could have been.

My 2 cents....
 

NWA/AMT

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
615
0
[blockquote]
----------------
On 1/4/2003 4:06:27 PM Trip Confirmed wrote:

[blockquote]
----------------
On 1/3/2003 8:40:09 AM ITRADE wrote:

Beyond stupid. Im surprised that the engine wasn't ruined.
----------------
[/blockquote]


A serious question here?

A man possibly destroyed his career to save how many innocent passengers who might have died flying in an aircraft that possibly wouldn't have landed, but crashed instead.

This man is to be honored. It is also a fact that this story has hit the newswires bigtime, and millions of flying Americans will read it.

I think a man of integrity like that won't have any problem getting a new career, since it's likely the airline will try to fire him.

Many years ago I had a mechanic of 20 years tell me he walked off his job one night and just quit.

His exact words were that he was putting Band-Aids on aircraft that had no business being in the air, and he couldn't sleep at night anymore.

I was looking for some kudos from employees.Aren't many employees on those planes, also?

And you make a statement saying that he was stupid, and your only worry is the ENGINE??

Please explain your attitude to me. I will admit, it is TOTALLY beyond my comprehension.




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[/blockquote]

The aircraft in question had been involved in a lightning strike event - a fairly common occurance actually - and had been reportedly been inspected in accordance with the air carrier and manufacturers procedures, as required by the FAA regulations, prior to being returned to service.

A severe lightning strike can result in structural damage or damage to the aircraft electrical and electronic systems. However, the vast majority of lightning strike events are relatively minor in nature and the aircraft are designed in such a way to minimize any damage.

Most lightning strike inspection procedures involve a detailed visual inspection of the aircraft structure and operational tests of the aircraft systems. These procedures had reportedly been accomplished, and signed for, by qualified technicians. These technicians are legally, financially and, most importantly, morally liable for ensuring that the aircraft is safe. They signify so by signing for the work they accomplished.

With over 20 years experience and several hundred lightning strike inspections accomplished I can tell you, with some certainty, that an inoperative light on the wing is NOT a reliable indication of whether or not an aircraft has been damaged by lightning. Lights burn out all the time, and lighting systems are designed with a level of redundancy so that having an inoperative light will not create an unairwothy or unsafe aircraft. Indeed, most aircraft have a Minimum Equipment List or MEL procedure which allows an inoperative exterior light to be deferred and repaired within a certain amount of time.

However, I can also state with some certainty that throwing a hard rubber wheel chock into an engine operating at several thousand RPM WILL create an unairworthy and unsafe aircraft. The chances are great that it would shear off fan blades, possibly sending them into the fuselage and therefore into the passengers you are trying to "save". It is fortunate for everyone involved that in this case that did not happen, that the pilot noticed the event and shut down the engine. What if it had gone unnoticed and several fan blades had entered the cabin, killing or maiming several passengers? What if the fragments had ruptured the wing fuel tanks and caused a fire killing all aboard? Would we still be expected to "honor" the person who did this?

The FAA has a 1-800 number that you can call, tell them the airport, aircraft registration number, the carrier and flight number and your concerns regarding the safety of the aircraft and they will stop the flight from leaving. I have even seen them call back an aircraft that was already airborne if the level of concern was high enough. If you felt strongly enough you could even lay down on the ramp in front of the aircraft to prevent it from taxiing away.

What you do not do is take actions which endanger the very people you intend to save. I, for one, will not honor anyone who does so, regardless of their intent.
 

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