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Home --> Travel --> Air Apparent --> Squawk Word

Squawk Word

Legend:   Airplane maintenance crews log humorous responses to pilots' problem reports.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]

Here are some actual maintenance complaints/problems, generally known as squawks, recently submitted by QANTAS Pilots to maintenance engineers. After attending to the squawks, maintenance crews are required to log the details of the action taken to solve the pilots' squawks.



Problem - Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
Solution - Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

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.

Origins:   Enjoying this hilarious bit of airline humor is easy; determining whether it's anything more than a joke is not so easy.

In Fix me! typical folkloric fashion, this item has appeared with a variety of differing details and content since it started making the rounds of the Internet back in 1997, and some of our readers recall seeing hard copies of it passed from hand to hand in hangars at airports around the country in even earlier than that. Versions use both British and American spellings of 'tire'; attribute the list to maintenance crews servicing the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and the Australian commercial airline Qantas; and encompass some entries while omitting others. An earlier version of this list included the following items not appearing in the example quoted above:
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!
The inclusion of military terminology (e.g., IFF, target radar) pegs this as a list more likely derived from an air force source than a commercial airline, and the mention of propellers eliminates the notion that these items all reference one particular type of modern jet aircraft. It's possible this list is now an amalgam of entries collected from a variety of sources, a mixture of both real and bogus items, or nothing but a bit of creative humor.

Last updated:   17 December 2005

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