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We all know that aircraft maintenance work and team work goes hand- in -hand coupled with trust in your team. How important it is which I will explain through one of my experiences as a Shift Manager in my previous organization.

One of our Airbus A-300 was having a repetitive defect saying that Row No: 12 ABC was getting heated up in flight as complained by passengers on many occasions almost regularly. Upon taking over the shift in the night I allocated the aircraft to one of the engineer, whom I knew that he can do the best and ensure that the root cause is found and rectified. During our tea break I was told by the same engineer that he found that the flange on which the left AC Heat exchanger was mounted is cracked and hot air leaking from the crack is impinging on the area where Row No. 12 ABC is installed in the cabin, heating it up which is being felt by passenger after a gap of time in flight. Now the remedy was to replace the Heat exchanger mount. A demand was raised and sent to the stores and we will know availability after the tea break at 23:30Hrs.

After the tea break when we assembled on the aircraft at 00:00 hrs. I was told that the item is not available in store. So I asked the supervisor to check on one of the available aircraft under major maintenance. If available, to remove it for rectifying the problem on the line aircraft. However, it may be understood that this decision requires two removals and one installation ; means more time and risk of delaying the first flight by the aircraft which will cause series of delays to a good number of flights in the day. We also had to appraise the serviceability of all night stopping aircraft to Flight operation and dispatch by 03:00 hrs. For their planning and action by various other departments. To add to the problem I was told that the aircraft in major check was also not having the Left unit as it was removed for inspection but the right one is there on the aircraft. Now it meant that we had to remove the right unit and convert that into left by transferring certain fittings from the cracked unit and then install it back. It means more work and more time and sure delay to the first flight. To overcome this and avoid the delay which could only be done if we deploy right manpower in two groups one to remove the right hand unit from major maintenance aircraft and one group from the Line aircraft and transfer the required parts for conversion and fit it to the aircraft. In this case the manpower has to be very quick and accurate in performing the task flawlessly.

At this time I called the supervisor to see who are the mechanics deployed and who all are available further. He came back with a list of all the mechanics in the shift and then we made a final list of two groups of 03 in each, who will perform the task and make the aircraft ready on time for the first flight of the day at 05:00 hrs. Post preparation of the final list, I instructed the supervisor to call nominated mechanics for a briefing. They were made to understand the urgency and importance of the requirements to this company. I also briefed them why they were selected for this job to motivate them. Having carefully heard my short briefing I was informed by the boys that please don’t announce any delay we will make the aircraft ready for the first flight without delay. It will be ON TIME”.

Team work

The first flight of the aircraft was indeed on time due to the excellent team work and dedication. I remain grateful to all of them in the shift who made that happen against many odds and mainly time constraint.

– Manish Kumar (India)