Airplane Mechanics Unable to Read Repair Manuals Written in English

ben - December 25, 2013
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Fixing an aircraft is not like fixing a Chevy. Aircraft mechanics don't do their job with guesses, but instead do them with a repair manual open in front of them, mapping every step. Manuals are written in English, the worldwide language of aviation. News 8 has uncovered a pipeline of mechanics that are being funneled into the United States from foreign countries and may lack the necessary English skills to read and understand the manuals needed to make proper repairs. Documents and interviews indicate one Texas repair firm, San Antonio Aerospace (SAA), now has more than 100 Mexican and Asian aircraft mechanics. SAA's sprawling repair station in San Antonio is currently running two shifts a day doing contract work for both Delta Airlines and UPS, among others. Some SAA repairmen say the Mexican workers lack the ability to even understand the content of company meetings, much less read manuals. Nonetheless, they say, SAA sent a manager to Mexico to actively recruit repairmen. One certified American mechanic who spoke Spanish said he acted as an informal translator to help the Mexican workers once they arrived in San Antonio. "I would be like the Pied Piper to them," he said. "They would follow me and ask what the meeting was about, 'What did the lead mechanic say?'" "They came in at half the pay as American, English-speaking mechanics, so they got a bargain," a mechanic said. "Of course, the downfall is when you can't read, write or understand English there is a serious safety problem going on there." "The FAA is the entity that is supposed to safeguard the public's interest in safe transportation," Goglia said. "And, where are they?" The FAA, in a comment about a previous News 8 story, said it is not necessary for an aircraft mechanic to speak perfect English. (How does the FAA define the term "perfect"?) Full story at: Northwest (now Delta) Airlines Surrenders FAA Part 145 Repair Station Certificate to Avoid Revocation. Northwest (now Delta) Airlines prepares union-busting assault against mechanics. AFL-CIO plans to scab on strike/lockout.
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