|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B757-200|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 10000
flight time type : 1500
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : overcame equipment problem|
Maintenance Human Performance
Arrived at aircraft on time; and was advised that the automatic 1 controller for pressurization was inoperative. My first officer was uncomfortable with ETOPS operations with an inoperative automatic 1 controller; and I had my reservations also. The mechanic (ramper?) told me he was checking to see if it was deferrable of if there was an MEL. I told the young mechanic (or ramp worker?) that I wanted to know the reason it was inoperative; and he said he would find out. Flight attendants were briefed on all contingencies about the situation; and they were comfortable with whatever decision was made concerning safety. 10 mins later during cockpit setup; another (lead?) mechanic came into the cockpit and said 'hi; I need to put this sticker for deferral on the panel here.' when I asked for what; he replied 'the automatic 1 controller is inoperative; but that we had the automatic 2 per the MEL; and even if we lose that one; we had a manual backup.' I ask the reason it was inoperative; and he couldn't tell me. I explained I have a problem with not knowing why something is broken; especially on an ETOPS flight. He then told me I would have to talk with my chief pilot if I turned the aircraft down. (I don't even know what kind of pressure he was trying to put on me with that comment; I ignored it.) he then explained to me how ETOPS works; 'you fly out 180 mins and if you have a problem; you come back; and if you are past that point; you continue.' I then went into operations to talk with dispatch and maintenance to go over all issues we were concerned with on this flight. It ended with maintenance telling me they were giving me a perfectly good aircraft for flight. That is when I finally pushed back in a very respectful way; and said 'maintenance; excuse me; and I want to put this in the most respectful terms I can. I am a captain; and you are misrepresenting the facts when you say you are giving me a perfectly good aircraft. The automatic 1 controller is inoperative and you cannot even tell me why it is inoperative. But you have told me that we would have our hands full if it was a valve problem and we lost automatic 2 controller also. An MEL is a legal way of dispatching an aircraft; but a pilot and dispatcher then have to take into account all factors of the flight. I would not have a problem flying this aircraft from sfo to jfk across land; but overwater; at night; with no options except my departure and arrival airports; it is not prudent decision making to take this aircraft.' after the call; the mechanic continued to push the flight. The main concern was where they would put passenger if a mechanical cancellation happened. There was no concern for safety. It is a known fact that management is pushing aircraft on pilots; and 50% accept previously turned down aircraft from other pilots. I made them fix the problem; and they found it was the 'automatic controller box' after 1 1/2 hours of troubleshooting; and then changed the box out. In 17 yrs; I have never seen maintenance at our air carrier run in this manner. Our air carrier is headed for an accident. This mechanic had the audacity to talk with the flight attendants making comments like 'this is not a big deal' or 'I guess the captain has never flown across water before.' since when does a mechanic question a captain's authority/authorized? I ignored it and acted professionally. One flight attendant shut him up with this comment; 'on 3 different flts we've returned to the departure point because of so-called minor items broken that maintenance said were ok to go with.' pilot pushing is bad business!
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: B757 CAPT REPORTS BEING DISPATCHED ON ETOPS FLIGHT WITH AUTO 1 PRESSURIZATION CONTROLLER ON MEL. REPAIRS ARE MADE PRIOR TO FLIGHT.
Narrative: ARRIVED AT ACFT ON TIME; AND WAS ADVISED THAT THE AUTO 1 CONTROLLER FOR PRESSURIZATION WAS INOP. MY FO WAS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ETOPS OPS WITH AN INOP AUTO 1 CONTROLLER; AND I HAD MY RESERVATIONS ALSO. THE MECH (RAMPER?) TOLD ME HE WAS CHKING TO SEE IF IT WAS DEFERRABLE OF IF THERE WAS AN MEL. I TOLD THE YOUNG MECH (OR RAMP WORKER?) THAT I WANTED TO KNOW THE REASON IT WAS INOP; AND HE SAID HE WOULD FIND OUT. FLT ATTENDANTS WERE BRIEFED ON ALL CONTINGENCIES ABOUT THE SITUATION; AND THEY WERE COMFORTABLE WITH WHATEVER DECISION WAS MADE CONCERNING SAFETY. 10 MINS LATER DURING COCKPIT SETUP; ANOTHER (LEAD?) MECH CAME INTO THE COCKPIT AND SAID 'HI; I NEED TO PUT THIS STICKER FOR DEFERRAL ON THE PANEL HERE.' WHEN I ASKED FOR WHAT; HE REPLIED 'THE AUTO 1 CONTROLLER IS INOP; BUT THAT WE HAD THE AUTO 2 PER THE MEL; AND EVEN IF WE LOSE THAT ONE; WE HAD A MANUAL BACKUP.' I ASK THE REASON IT WAS INOP; AND HE COULDN'T TELL ME. I EXPLAINED I HAVE A PROB WITH NOT KNOWING WHY SOMETHING IS BROKEN; ESPECIALLY ON AN ETOPS FLT. HE THEN TOLD ME I WOULD HAVE TO TALK WITH MY CHIEF PLT IF I TURNED THE ACFT DOWN. (I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT KIND OF PRESSURE HE WAS TRYING TO PUT ON ME WITH THAT COMMENT; I IGNORED IT.) HE THEN EXPLAINED TO ME HOW ETOPS WORKS; 'YOU FLY OUT 180 MINS AND IF YOU HAVE A PROB; YOU COME BACK; AND IF YOU ARE PAST THAT POINT; YOU CONTINUE.' I THEN WENT INTO OPS TO TALK WITH DISPATCH AND MAINT TO GO OVER ALL ISSUES WE WERE CONCERNED WITH ON THIS FLT. IT ENDED WITH MAINT TELLING ME THEY WERE GIVING ME A PERFECTLY GOOD ACFT FOR FLT. THAT IS WHEN I FINALLY PUSHED BACK IN A VERY RESPECTFUL WAY; AND SAID 'MAINT; EXCUSE ME; AND I WANT TO PUT THIS IN THE MOST RESPECTFUL TERMS I CAN. I AM A CAPT; AND YOU ARE MISREPRESENTING THE FACTS WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE GIVING ME A PERFECTLY GOOD ACFT. THE AUTO 1 CONTROLLER IS INOP AND YOU CANNOT EVEN TELL ME WHY IT IS INOP. BUT YOU HAVE TOLD ME THAT WE WOULD HAVE OUR HANDS FULL IF IT WAS A VALVE PROB AND WE LOST AUTO 2 CONTROLLER ALSO. AN MEL IS A LEGAL WAY OF DISPATCHING AN ACFT; BUT A PLT AND DISPATCHER THEN HAVE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL FACTORS OF THE FLT. I WOULD NOT HAVE A PROB FLYING THIS ACFT FROM SFO TO JFK ACROSS LAND; BUT OVERWATER; AT NIGHT; WITH NO OPTIONS EXCEPT MY DEP AND ARR ARPTS; IT IS NOT PRUDENT DECISION MAKING TO TAKE THIS ACFT.' AFTER THE CALL; THE MECH CONTINUED TO PUSH THE FLT. THE MAIN CONCERN WAS WHERE THEY WOULD PUT PAX IF A MECHANICAL CANCELLATION HAPPENED. THERE WAS NO CONCERN FOR SAFETY. IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT MGMNT IS PUSHING ACFT ON PLTS; AND 50% ACCEPT PREVIOUSLY TURNED DOWN ACFT FROM OTHER PLTS. I MADE THEM FIX THE PROB; AND THEY FOUND IT WAS THE 'AUTO CONTROLLER BOX' AFTER 1 1/2 HRS OF TROUBLESHOOTING; AND THEN CHANGED THE BOX OUT. IN 17 YRS; I HAVE NEVER SEEN MAINT AT OUR ACR RUN IN THIS MANNER. OUR ACR IS HEADED FOR AN ACCIDENT. THIS MECH HAD THE AUDACITY TO TALK WITH THE FLT ATTENDANTS MAKING COMMENTS LIKE 'THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL' OR 'I GUESS THE CAPT HAS NEVER FLOWN ACROSS WATER BEFORE.' SINCE WHEN DOES A MECH QUESTION A CAPT'S AUTH? I IGNORED IT AND ACTED PROFESSIONALLY. ONE FLT ATTENDANT SHUT HIM UP WITH THIS COMMENT; 'ON 3 DIFFERENT FLTS WE'VE RETURNED TO THE DEP POINT BECAUSE OF SO-CALLED MINOR ITEMS BROKEN THAT MAINT SAID WERE OK TO GO WITH.' PLT PUSHING IS BAD BUSINESS!
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of May 2009 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.