They put Line in LINETECH
The put “line” in LINETECH. A day as maintenance engineer
Dana is working as an aircraft mechanic, based at the Katowice Airport. Here LINETECH services the aircraft such as Boeing 737, Airbus A320 and Embraer E-jet series both in the hangar and on the apron. Today, Dana is assigned to work as leader of the line maintenance mechanics.
The morning shift at Katowice base starts 6:30 AM. Around 6, most of the workers have already been cleared on the security checks and patiently wait for the transport to the hangar, where they can change into work clothes and start maintenance. While pushing the button of coffee maker Dana reads today’s schedule. The first task is line maintenance on charter airline Boeing 737. The airplane will land in approximately 3 hours, which gives Dana and the rest of the team time for preparation.
After picking up time sheets maintenance team has to check the toolboxes and cars. They make sure that all of their equipment is complete and functional. In the meantime, Dana gets in touch with companies Operational Control Center in Warsaw, where shift leader discusses all the issues regarding the line maintenance. The main thing to coordinate will be to change tires. After many rotations to hot and humid regions of the world, those worn out rather quickly. The OOC sends all the necessary documentation via e-mail and the team prepares additional tools and parts.
Exactly at 9:47 AM, 14-year old Boeing 737 taxis to the gate at Katowice Airport Terminal C after the flight from Korfu. As the rotating beacon indicating engine hazard goes off, maintenance team starts regular, scheduled checks for avionics, oil, hydraulic and brakes. This last thing is changed just before the wheel swap, as Dana has prepared new brake pads just in case the old ones will be worn out as well. Luckily everything is within the safe limits. After an hour and a half of screwing and adjusting the work is almost done and the airplane will take off in time for the flight to Sham El Sheikh.
The ringing of the phone breaks Dana’s concentration. It’s OOC again. This time the Embraer E-jet performing a flight to Kraków reportedly hit a bird during landing. “Capitan has signed off the report, that the airliner encountered the flock of birds during final rollout in Kraków. It’s supposed to be maintained back in Burgas, where it came from, but given the circumstances, the client called AOG. The team is getting ready, but we ask that you go with them as an experienced engineer.” – Dana heard on the phone. AOG is an acronym for Aircraft On Ground – it means the aircraft can’t fly again until the case wouldn’t be resolved. AOG situation can’t hurry Dana at current job – it requires focus to make sure everything is done right. The papers for the line maintenance and tire swap were signed at 11.30 Am – just 40 minutes before scheduled departure time of Embraer back in Kraków. Ten minutes later, another maintenance team met with Dana back in the hangar in Katowice. They all picked up some personal belongings and tools, got in the maintenance car, and went for an hour-long trip to Kraków.
The team reached Embraer E190 at the apron around 1 PM, 50 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Although mechanics have the last word when it comes to the final release of the AOG aircraft, Dana knows that the OOC is flooded by the calls and e-mails from the operator that pushes to make sure the delay wouldn’t be longer than 3 hours. It makes everyone a bit nervous. As Dana starts to work with the team, they all know that 3 hours should be enough. The flight crew did find the impact point during the post-flight walk around. Left engine inlet has the stains of blood, so the team starts cleaning the area and looking for the damage. Curiously, the engine instruments didn’t show any abnormal condition to the flight crew after the impact, and thorough inspection of the fan-blades has shown no damage. It’s almost like the bird disappeared. But Dana knows that doesn’t happen. After performing all required checks Dana finds a small dent in air intake cowl. It’s barely noticeable under the finger. After measuring it Dana checks it with the corresponding maintenance document to make sure the dent isn’t any danger to the passengers. Final report to Captain: Bird has struck the engine nacelle but the reverse thrust blew it away of the engine. Dent is within the safe limits, everything is checked and the plane is good to go. Papers are signed and Embraer E190 heads back to Tbilisi with mildly-happy passengers 2 hours and 20 minutes after the scheduled time. Dana and the team head back to Katowice and spend last two hours of shift performing an overnight stay checks on another Boeing 737. At 6.30 PM other mechanics come for the second shift. Dana can rest after just another day of line maintenance at LINETECH.