How to Properly Communicate With Inspectors, Tug Drivers, and Other Mechanics

Summary: Documentation and communication are two important aspects that MUST occur within an airfield. Failure to do so can result in injury, unnecessary costs, and team fragmentation.

Handling daily Ground Support Equipment (GSE) operations and maintenance sounds like a stressful event, especially when each nut and bolt can have a major impact on the overall condition of the airplane. However, by creating a specific checklist inspection program, you can ensure that your team is on top of things while creating a safe and effective environment.

Locate Potential Issues Before They Get Out of Hand

Create a program that’s designed to capture issues before any actual breakdowns occur. This includes unsafe conditions, the disruption of quality of service to customers, and increased costs due to repairs. Assign equipment for user checks as a part of your daily shift assignment roster. For instance, have one mechanic conduct a pre-use inspection and jot down any issues – along with each action he’s performing. This way, you’ll leave a set of breadcrumbs so to speak, along with documentation showcasing what the mechanic has done. Also, have the operator of the equipment make additional post-use remarks.

For instance, if he’s performing maintenance on a ground power unit (GPU), he’ll need to mark the time and date, along with a progress report on how the specific unit is functioning. If the unit requires repairs or new parts, the mechanic should document this and communicate with others so the team is in the loop.

Here’s another example. A tug driver, during operation, with a heavy load notices that the brake are slowly fading when pressed upon. Now, the assigned inspector assumed the brakes are fine in all conditions, therefore did not communicate with the tug driver. However, the faulty breaks are an indicator that the master cylinder is starting to fail. Without taking any notes, the mechanic and the inspector are on a different page, leading to believe that there was a lack of communication and documentation –  the same can be said for any situation, even with a 28 volt battery pack.

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