Thursday, February 17, 2011

Panic Week! Day Four

There's a wonderful bit from Chico Marx, one of the Marx brothers, in which he describes how as a famous Italian aviator he managed to fly across the Atlantic. I can't find the dialog, so I'll paraphrase. You'll have to imagine his fake Italian accent:

So the first time we try to cross the Atlantic ocean, we get maybe about halfway and whaddaya know, we run out of gas and have to turn back. The next time we try to fly across the Atlantic, we get maybe a mile away, and we run outta gas and have to turn back.

So how did you get across?

This time, we put the plane onna boat, and THAT'S how we got across the ocean!

Somehow, that seems appropriate.

The FAA inspection team was in the building today, but they didn't enter my area. Most of us finish up at 2:30, so by 2PM, we thought it was all over. A few minutes after the hour, an inspector walked in with a supervisor in tow. He looked carefully at a list of employees, then said he wanted to see so-and-so. They went across the hall to find the employee, with both crew chiefs and a union observer.

The rest of us alternately eyed the clock and the door. Our acting crew chief returned to tell us that the inspector had concluded his business over there, and he left the building.

Tomorrow, they'll do an out-brief and be gone. We will all be relieved. Understand me, though, because there isn't anything we do that's substantially different when the FAA isn't around. Their job is to see that we adhere both to federal regulations and the company's own rules and guidelines. What makes me nervous is the complexity of all that. I try to stay on top of the paperwork, training, parts sorting, etc.,but there's always a nagging fear that I'll miss something and it will come back to haunt me. Complex regulations have that effect, and as a prime example, take the tax code. Please.

The FAA can always make an unannounced inspection. That probably happens a couple times each year. I could be caught with (gasp!) a coffee cup on my benchtop, or more likely a laptop computer.

So I'll go in to work tomorrow and it will be a little less stressful. I like that. We're already scheduled for overtime on Saturday, but what I've really been thinking about is riding my bike. My knee still hurts, as well as my hip and shoulder, but I'm very, very tempted to ride anyway. When you consider that a bit over a week ago, it was nearly 100 degrees colder here, you can understand the desire to get outside on a bike.


Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

Those of us who depend on services and products appreciate things like FAA inspections. We also appreciate people like you who take them serious and follow the safety procedures.

7:23 PM  

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