After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which describes to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction. The engineers read this and correct the problem, then write on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken. The pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humour.
By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident ... although they came uncomfortably close in July 2008 and again on 15th August 2008, and one of their planes suffered a sudden loss of altitude on 6th October 2008 which appears to have been an on-board computer glitch.
(P = The problem logged by the pilot)
(S = The solution and action taken by the engineers)
P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what they’re there for.
P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you’re right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found under right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.
I am duly grateful to Quantas for the above.
This page first published 9th November 2004