Tue, Jun 06, 2006
Somebody Had A Screw Loose Here
Remember the poor guy who was stuck for five hours when the canopy of his shiny, megadollar F-22
Raptor wouldn't open, at Langley AFB, VA, in April?
The mechs finally called in the fire and rescue guys, according to
procedure, who cut the poor driver out with a rescue saw.
You just knew that the ultimate cause of this was going to be
something stupid -- and it is. The Air Force's investigation of the
problem finds that the culprit was a set of screws that had backed
out of position. The chances of it happening again? Not very
high... but just in case, the Air Force and Lockheed-Martin have
substituted longer screws fleetwide.
The little bit of good news is that bringing the fighter back
online was not as costly as feared -- repairs are now estimated at
$83,000, which sounds staggering but is less than half the original
estimate. And the Air Force got away with a relatively low-cost
repair to the rest of the fleet -- a set of new fasteners. This is
also a relief to the taxpayers.
If there's a lesson in this for those of us who don't fly or
maintain $322 million dollar airplanes, it's that all the little
things really count too, and there's never any harm in checking a
screw or bolt to see if it's tightened or torqued right.
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