Unintentional
Maintenance
Oversight


A five-member Air Force panel finished its investigation into the crash of an F-117A. Better known as the stealth fighter, one of these state-of-the-art jets literally came apart in the sky on September 14, 1997. The pilot parachuted to safety and no one in the Baltimore suburb where the plane crashed was hurt.

The specific fighter in question had been repaired and checked out thoroughly in January of 1996. As part of that maintenance check, the wings were removed and reinstalled. The inspectors apparently failed to install four of the five bolts that hold part of the wing assembly in place. Two later maintenance checks missed the same problem. One of those checks was prompted when a pilot who had flown the jet reported there was too much “flex” in the wing.

Col. John Beard, head of the investigative panel, said, “It is my opinion the accident was caused by unintentional maintenance oversight.”

For the lack of four fastener bolts, a $42-million stealth fighter crashed. Because of careless maintenance, the life of a pilot was nearly lost. On account of someone’s “unintentional” oversight, dozens more on the ground were put in jeopardy. It seems like a terribly high price for so trivial a thing as four bolts.

The same sort of thing happens all the time. A company fails because it doesn’t stay abreast of market research or product development. A once-bright career goes down the tubes because an athlete didn’t control his temper or because a junior executive was guilty of an ethical lapse.

Sadder still, all of us have known marriages to fail because of one or both partners’ “unintentional maintenance oversight.” He didn’t pay attention to her. She didn’t seem interested in him. Oh, there were occasional signs of trouble, but they weren’t pursued aggressively enough to repair the relationship properly. So one day the marriage came apart and crashed—maiming both adults and kids.

It would be wise to begin this week by checking the maintenance logs. Be thorough. Leave no stone unturned. And be bold in addressing the deficiencies.

That's a modern version of the old poem that goes:

For want of a nail,
A shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe,
A horse was lost,
For want of a horse,
A king was lost,
For want of a king,
A kingdom was lost!

In IT, we should say...

For want of a Maintenance Budget
The company was close;
For want of a company,
The GM mourns and regret!


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Copyright © 2004

 
News for the » "3rd Quarter of 2004"...
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