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.
Problem – Test flight OK, except autoland very rough.
Problem – No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
Problem – Something loose in cockpit.
Problem – Dead bugs on windshield.
Problem – Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
Problem – Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Problem – DME volume unbelievably loud.
Problem – Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Problem – IFF inoperative.
Problem – Suspected crack in windscreen.
Problem – Number 3 engine missing.
Problem – Aircraft handles funny.
Problem – Target radar hums.
Problem – Mouse in cockpit.
Origins: Enjoying this hilarious bit of airline humor is easy; determining whether it’s anything more than a joke is not so easy.
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: Seat cushion in 13F smells rotten. Defect: Turn & slip indicator ball stuck in center during turns. Defect: Whining sound heard on engine shutdown. Defect: Pilot’s clock inoperative. Defect: Autopilot tends to drop a wing when fuel imbalance reaches 500 pounds. Defect: #2 ADF needle runs wild. Defect: Unfamiliar noise coming from #2 engine. Defect: Noise coming from #2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer. Defect: Whining noise coming from #2 engine compartment. Defect: Flight attendant cold at altitude. Defect: 3 roaches in cabin. Defect: Weather radar went ape!
Defect: The autopilot doesn’t.
Action: IT DOES NOW.
Action: Fresh seat cushion on order.
Action: Congratulations. You just made your first coordinated turn!
Action: Pilot removed from aircraft.
Action: Wound clock.
Action: Flight manual limits maximum fuel imbalance to 300 pounds.
Action: Caught and tamed #2 ADF needle.
Action: Engine run for four hours. Noise now familiar.
Action: Took little hammer away from man in #2 engine.
Action: Returned little hammer to man in #2 engine.
Action: Ground checks OK.
Action: 1 roach killed, 1 wounded, 1 got away.
Action: Opened radar, let out ape, cleaned up mess!
Defect: Seat cushion in 13F smells rotten.
Defect: Turn & slip indicator ball stuck in center during turns.
Defect: Whining sound heard on engine shutdown.
Defect: Pilot’s clock inoperative.
Defect: Autopilot tends to drop a wing when fuel imbalance reaches 500 pounds.
Defect: #2 ADF needle runs wild.
Defect: Unfamiliar noise coming from #2 engine.
Defect: Noise coming from #2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer.
Defect: Whining noise coming from #2 engine compartment.
Defect: Flight attendant cold at altitude.
Defect: 3 roaches in cabin.
Defect: Weather radar went ape!
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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