Flight School maintenance write-ups

gulfstream2345

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I was recently an instructor at a flight school in Denver (not my full-time gig) teaching my relatives and friends only. I was preflighting a C-172 and noticed the left gear strut cover was wrinkled and chunks of paint were missing and the right gear strut cover on the bottom near the wheel was torn and bent. I asked the dispatcher to look at the damage and we both agreed that it appeared to be a hard landing and possibly a runway departure due to the damage on the right strut.

I wrote it up as a possible hard landing. The next week when I checked on what was done I was confronted by the manager and he explained that the airplane had been grounded by my write-up and it cost him $500 for an inspection. The inspection found no evidence of a hard landing.

I was told that in the future if I wrote up something and it was "unfounded", I would be responsible for the maintenance. It wasn't like I wrote up a cracked cup holder, a dirty windshield or a missing static wick. Needless to say, I departed that flight school immediately.

Comments???
 

landlover

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bring your business elsewhere, which it seems you did already. He runs/owns a flight school and doesn't employ a mechanic for things like this? He is obviously not very bright.
 
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Singlecoil

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Always photograph everything you write up; airline, general aviation, whatever. There is always some tool who will try to cover his rear by hanging you and it is nice to have evidence to support yourself.
 

brokeflyer

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I was recently an instructor at a flight school in Denver (not my full-time gig) teaching my relatives and friends only. I was preflighting a C-172 and noticed the left gear strut cover was wrinkled and chunks of paint were missing and the right gear strut cover on the bottom near the wheel was torn and bent. I asked the dispatcher to look at the damage and we both agreed that it appeared to be a hard landing and possibly a runway departure due to the damage on the right strut.

I wrote it up as a possible hard landing. The next week when I checked on what was done I was confronted by the manager and he explained that the airplane had been grounded by my write-up and it cost him $500 for an inspection. The inspection found no evidence of a hard landing.

I was told that in the future if I wrote up something and it was "unfounded", I would be responsible for the maintenance. It wasn't like I wrote up a cracked cup holder, a dirty windshield or a missing static wick. Needless to say, I departed that flight school immediately.

Comments???
tell him fck off and then go a super pre-flight and write up everything and fax it to the FAA......
 

avbug

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I wrote it up as a possible hard landing. The next week when I checked on what was done I was confronted by the manager and he explained that the airplane had been grounded by my write-up and it cost him $500 for an inspection. The inspection found no evidence of a hard landing.

I was told that in the future if I wrote up something and it was "unfounded", I would be responsible for the maintenance. It wasn't like I wrote up a cracked cup holder, a dirty windshield or a missing static wick. Needless to say, I departed that flight school immediately.

Comments???
Your write-up was out of line, and in error. You had no business guessing as to what might have done the damage, and writing your guess as a discrepancy.

You noted damage. Write up the damage. Don't write up the cause...especially when you have no knowledge of the cause.

This is aviaiton. We do not guess. We know. If you don't know, don't guess.
 

gulfstream2345

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Brilliant, AVBug. As usual you know it all. So how would you in your vast experience write it up?
 

avbug

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A little slow on the uptake, aren't you?

You noted damage. Write up what you saw.

You didn't do that. You wrote up what you did not see.

If you don't know what caused it, then don't write up what you don't know. This is very elementary. Really material for the third grade level. Not brilliant, just basic.

If you see something and intend to write it up as discrepancy, then write up what you see. You see wrinkled skin, then write up wrinkled skin. If you see a bent gear leg, then write up a bent gear leg. You see oil dripping, then write up oil dripping.

Unless you have knowledge of a hard landing beyond your own guesswork based on what you *think* you see, then don't write up a hard landing.
 

brokeflyer

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although avbug is "kinda" right his normal attitude is what's out of line. Yes, you should write it up as you see it.

I think that avbug is what went over the line with his idiotic, childish and obvious lack of tack reply is what the problem is.

A simple "next time don't include what you think the cause of the write up is, just write up the problem". That would have went a whole lot further.
 

USMCmech

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The point that Avbug is making (with his usuall complete lack of tact) is that as a pilot you should not "troubleshoot" when you write up a mechanical defect.

I was preflighting N123AB and noticed the left gear strut cover was wrinkled and chunks of paint were missing and the right gear strut cover on the bottom near the wheel was torn and bent.
Nothing more. If you get a chance to speak with one of the mechs, you might say something like: "It looks like a hard landing to me, but I'm just a throttle jocky."


OTOH, the reaction of the manager is still unacceptable and you're most likely better off teaching elsewhere.
 

indefinitehold

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Poor avbug...

He is write and so are some of the comments. As I agree that opinions can lead down a wrong path. You only inserted your opinion. You did not state that the a/c had a hard landing, yes?

Any competent mechanic will make his own conclusion as to what the visual evidence is. Your opinion could only assist the mechanic down a path that he was already considering. I am a A&P / G.A. Avionic man myself. My experience would led me to two possabilities regarding a FLIGHT SCHOOL 172;\

A hard landing

or

Someone ran over a taxi light / surface obstruction

either way, as per the Cessna Maintenace Manual, it requires a unscheduled inspection ( Hard Landing / side load inspection) For what its worth, I would have done the inspection based alone on the visual findings that you described.

How have ya been avbug?
 

indefinitehold

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By the way. I dont know if any of you who have commented own or work on planes lately, but $500 for a hard landing inspection sounds pretty good.
 

avbug

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He is write and so are some of the comments.
He is right (but also writes).

Nothing better that some brightspark pilot who *thinks* he's a mechanic to try to do the mechanic's job for him. Especially a pilot who thinks he knows what inspection is required and makes this unqualified decision...and especially one who has no knowledge of what might possibly have occured, but makes an uneducated guess as to what it *might* have been...and then writes it up as though he has some semblence of actual knowledge on the matter.

Other common examples: pilot notices instrument vacum reading high. Writes up vacum, stating "vacum pressure needs turned down a little." the problem is that it's a kinked instrument line, and it's not pressure, it's suction...and the higher value could mean several things...most typically a restriction in the vacum system...the pilot has just identified the wrong problem and diagnosed what he doesn't know and can't identify...instead of simply stating what he found.

Pilot reports rough engine caused by improper mixture adjustment which caused engine failure at altitude. He can't explain why engine starts and functions normally when mechanic operates engine, and apparently doesn't the concept of carburetor icing.

I've seen pilots report binding in the controls or a stiff rudder, going so far as to cite bad pulleys or other such nonsense, when in fact they failed to remove the control locks.

To determine based on some wrinkled skin that a hard landing has been made, however, is idiotic. One may simply write up wrinkled skin...but one need not make assumptions (remember the old saying about assumptions making an ass of u and me?) about what has occurred. Report what you see. Nothing more. If you know a hard landing occurred, then this is another matter...but do you know the manufacturer values which establish the parameters of a hard landing...or are you simply guessing about that, too?

Guesswork isn't professional, and in avaition it's both improper and dangerous. Guesswork blinds us to realities, and is an arrogant self-serving limited solution that assumes we have zeroed in on the crux of the matter. In fact, we may be discounting many other possibilities which are in need of consideration. Does that oil under the engine mean we have a leak, or is it simply a spill when someone put oil in the engine, or is it someone who overfilled the engine, or is it a real problem? Don't guess. Learn and know. Write up only what you see, not what you imagine or dream up. We don't dream up numbers for performance or weight and balance. We don't guess at our fuel consumption. We know. The same logic and professional courtesy applies to making a maintenance writeup; cite only what is known, refraining from mindless speculation, guesswork, and assumption.
 

Maria

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To the OP, get used to it. Just as in all aspects of aviation, there are bottom feeders. Your guessing probably pissed off the mechanics and owner, but them getting pissed off over a write-up is normal because it means the bird is on the ground not flying and one has to pay a mechanic to look at it.

If you want to CY your A next time, ask the school's mechanic to take a look at something that "doesn't look right" with the proper amount of humility and respect. If he thinks it looks all right, ask 'im if he'd be willing to sign of the squawk. If he hesitates, walk away. If he lays into you for being so stupid for a time period based on his age, general orneriness, years spent dealing with cheap SOB owners, the amount of the game he's missing, and how much he's bought into the "pilots are always screwups" bit; consider how much you like living and your certificates, and proceed accordingly.
 

indefinitehold

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I see that he actually did write it up as a Hard landing. I cant defend you now. Maria is correct and I would have thought it to be the norm to discuss the matter with the facilities maintenance personel prior to the write up. Most places I have either flown or turned wrenches for always had the unofficial policy of no write ups until consulting with MX. This policy of course never prevented a write up from happening but it did guide the write up in the end. Case in point, such a policy would have saved $500 US.

Lesson learned?

Hope so
 
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