After every flight, pilots fill out a form, called a gripe sheet which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some maintenance complaints submitted by pilots and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, the airline these came from is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.
Pilot: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. Engineers: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
Pilot: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. Engineers: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
Pilot: Something loose in cockpit. Engineers: Something tightened in cockpit.
Pilot: Dead bugs on windshield. Engineers: Live bugs on back-order.
Pilot: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent. Engineers: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
Pilot: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. Engineers: Evidence removed.
Pilot: DME volume unbelievably loud. Engineers: DME volume set to more believable level.
Pilot: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. Engineers: That’s what friction locks are for.
Pilot: IFF inoperative in OFF mode. Engineers: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
Pilot: Suspected crack in windshield. Engineers: Suspect you’re right.
Pilot: Number 3 engine missing. Engineers: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
Pilot: Aircraft handles funny. Engineers: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
Pilot: Target radar hums. Engineers: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
Pilot: Mouse in cockpit. Engineers: Cat installed.
Pilot: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer. Engineers: Took hammer away from midget
Problem – Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. Solution – Autoland not installed on this aircraft.
Problem – No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid. Solution – No. 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.
Problem – Something loose in cockpit. Solution – Something tightened in cockpit.
Problem – Dead bugs on windshield. Solution – Live bugs on backorder.
Problem – Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent. Solution – Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
Problem – Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. Solution – Evidence removed.
Problem – DME volume unbelievably loud. Solution – Volume set to more believable level.
Problem – Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. Solution – That’s what they are there for!
Problem – IFF inoperative. Solution – IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
Problem – Suspected crack in windscreen. Solution – Suspect you’re right.
Problem – Number 3 engine missing. Solution – Engine found on right wing after brief search.
Problem – Aircraft handles funny. Solution – Aircraft warned to “Straighten up, Fly Right, and Be Serious.”
Problem – Target radar hums. Solution – Reprogrammed target radar with words.
Problem – Mouse in cockpit. Solution – Cat installed. Defect: The autopilot doesn’t. Action: IT DOES NOW.
Defect: Seat cushion in 13F smells rotten. Action: Fresh seat cushion on order.
Defect: Turn & slip indicator ball stuck in center during turns. Action: Congratulations. You just made your first coordinated turn!
Defect: Whining sound heard on engine shutdown. Action: Pilot removed from aircraft.
Defect: Pilot’s clock inoperative. Action: Wound clock.
Defect: Autopilot tends to drop a wing when fuel imbalance reaches 500 pounds. Action: Flight manual limits maximum fuel imbalance to 300 pounds.
Defect: #2 ADF needle runs wild. Action: Caught and tamed #2 ADF needle.
Defect: Unfamiliar noise coming from #2 engine. Action: Engine run for four hours. Noise now familiar.
Defect: Noise coming from #2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer. Action: Took little hammer away from man in #2 engine.
Defect: Whining noise coming from #2 engine compartment. Action: Returned little hammer to man in #2 engine.
Defect: Flight attendant cold at altitude. Action: Ground checks OK.
Defect: 3 roaches in cabin. Action: 1 roach killed, 1 wounded, 1 got away.
Defect: Weather radar went ape! Action: Opened radar, let out ape, cleaned up mess!