Read each thread and reply with your thought.
The replies must be at least 250 words each and each reply must incorporate at least one scholarly citation(s) in APA format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include the most current sources you can find which likely means the Internet. Make sure to cite all facts in text.
In being a relatively new mechanics out working on the floor I cannot think of a specific situation with a barrier that I had to overcome. But I do have a big barrier being a new mechanic and that is lack of knowledge. The fixed base operation that I work at has been really helpful with letting me do a lot of maintenance operations to let me experience hands on learning. I have run into many problems where I’m not sure how to approach the troubleshooting of the issue. A few ways I have overcome this issue in the past is one going to the manual and reading as much as I can about the system and two asking a senior mechanic for their assistance. I have found that by asking a senior mechanic for assistance that I have learned a lot more about the system. This Is because these technicians have done lots of similar work and know the most efficient way of completing the task. Asking for help also validates that I am completing the task properly in accordance with the technical data and our company standard operating procedures. In listening to someone who has completed the task many times they can show you the most efficient way of completing the work which helps complete the task faster. Looking back there are many times where I should have fully understood the system before trying to troubleshoot. I would only read about the part of the system I assumed was causing the problem. If I had taken the time to read all of the information the first time it would have saved me lots of time, trouble, and frustration. “Reparability is the ability to repair the system efficiently and effectively”. ( Jr, W.L. M., 2006, pg 177) Older aircraft tend to be harder to work on due to their repairability. Over time different modifications make certain systems harder to preform work on. Technicians should have a weekly hanger talk about barriers that they encounter. In doing this if someone in the group has had the same problem before they can give guidance to other. This approach allows different people to think of a better way to overcome the barrier. This will allow technicians to share experiences and help one another complete tasks more efficiently.” The reliability program is a valuable means of achieving better operational performance in an aircraft maintenance environment”. (Kinnison, 2018, pg 217) These programs help technicians save time which saves the company money. Thinking outside the box will show technicians different ways to use the same tools to get the same outcome but in an efficient manner. If we think about a problem and approach it from another way, it may help us solve the issue. We as humans are all wired differently by God. So, one person may only be able to see a problem one way. In asking others for their opinion, we are expanding the problem to someone who is wired differently than us. It is good to have different levels of thinking while trying to solve a large troubleshooting problem.
Overcoming Behavioral Failures
The Boeing 757 aircraft type has 3 independent hydraulic systems, which are labeled as left, center, and right. The left and right system both have an electric and engine driven pump, and the center system has two electric pumps and a ram air turbine, (RAT) in the case of complete electric power loss in flight.
Roughly 15 years ago, my team was troubleshooting a repeat item for the left hydraulic system pressure being low on one of our B757-200 aircraft. Specifically, the flight crews were noting that the pressure would decrease and remain consistently at 2000 psi. Normal pressure is 3000 psi. There were several previous pilot reports that had been signed off as being unable to duplicate before we got the airplane. We had the aircraft several nights in a row at the hangar to troubleshoot the issue. The first night we had the airplane we isolated the system running the electric pump first with no issues, followed by running the number one engine to check the engine driven pump but also had no issues. Based on the pressure being indicated on the EICAS system, the team replaced the pressure transmitter for the left system, operationally checked the system, and dispatched the plane.
I’m going to pause here and identify our first barrier to the problem which is termed as groupthink. Maynes described groupthink as reaching a consensus within a group without thinking things through. (Maynes, 2020) I was the hangar supervisor at the time, our team of AMTS had approached me with the problem and based on over 40 years of total experience of our group, the consensus was that since the we were able to maintain 3000 psi that the transmitter was a fault. Normally a faulty transmitter would give a fluctuating pressure, not a low-pressure condition, but our groupthink led us in that direction. We unfortunately had this same process the next night when the problem was written up again and we replaced the engine driven pump which was the next obvious component.
The fourth night we had the plane, we had to stop and regroup. All the obvious components had been replaced, filters had been checked, correct installation of one-way check valves was verified, and indication wiring was checked. The team was using the fault isolation manual, (FIM) as the troubleshooting guide, and not being able to hard fault the system got our internal technical support team involved. (Mostia, 2006)
I am going to pause here again and reflect on the having the same problem for a fourth night. Because something is accepted, doesn’t make it right, and it was common practice to return an aircraft to service if a maintenance issue operationally checked normal per the manufacturer’s references. Maynes describes this behavior as “normalization of the deviance.” (Maynes, 2020 pg. 1) I have my own phrase I’ve been using for years which is what I term as escalation of the norm, and normalization of the escalation. Same concept, different verbiage.
The left hydraulic system on the B757 has input to the landing gear, left thrust reverser, flaps, slats, and steering. All important components to safely get an airplane back on the ground. The question had to be asked at what point in time should we have kept the airplane down instead of dispatching it with no faults found?
Our tech-support representative generated the best way to overcome this pressure issue by thinking outside of the box. We had spent four days checking every component that dealt with pressure, including checking pressure back to the return side of the hydraulic reservoir. The one component we didn’t check was the reservoir. At the suggestion of our tech-support rep, we emptied the system, removed the pressure and return line fittings, and used a borescope to look inside the reservoir to check the baffles. What we found was approximately a 4-inch square of tape inside the reservoir that appeared to be the protective covering of the metal that was never removed during the manufacturing process and had finally deteriorated from the hydraulic fluid creating a flap of sorts that would cover the outlet standpipe of the reservoir and causing the abnormal pressure.
In closing, groupthink can help with problem solving, but it can also hinder the process when no one in the group thinks outside of the box and accepts the new norm. At times it is advantageous to bring in someone from outside of the group who looks at things from a different perspective. This is certainly what helped in this case.