|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||A320|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 8200
flight time type : 4500
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
maintenance problem : improper documentation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Maintenance||performance deficiency : logbook entry|
|Problem Areas||Maintenance Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Maintenance Human Performance|
During my walkaround; I discovered numerous localized dents on the underneath side of the right side of the horizontal stabilizer. The aircraft skin reminded me of a golf ball. There were approximately 15-20 small dents; approximately 10 inches inboard; in a circular area with a 7-10 inch diameter. I was surprised not to see a sticker (aka 'dent door') placed by maintenance after inspecting the area; as I thought the damage was very noticeable. My main concern was the possibility of internal structural damage to the stabilizer fairing. Upon returning to the cockpit; I told the captain about the damage. As there was nothing mentioned about this in our maintenance log history paperwork; he told me to call maintenance to inquire about the long(er) term aircraft history. I called the local maintenance control frequency; and was told by the mechanic who answered that he would investigate and get back to us. When the mechanic called back several mins later; he stated his surprise that there was absolutely no record of any such damage; cf or DF item for our aircraft and that someone would need to come out and take a look at it. I asked if he wanted us to send a maintenance request code or had he already done so? He requested that we enter the log item by sending the write-up via ACARS. I entered the write-up: underneath side of right side horizontal stabilizer has numerous dents -- possible hail damage. Shortly thereafter; a mechanic stopped by the cockpit and asked me to come outside and point out the area we/I was referring to. I came outside and pointed out the area. I noticed immediately a maintenance supervisor who was outside near the tail who was on his cell phone and had a clipboard and was making notes. He stood away from us the entire time and did not engage in any kind of discussion with me. The mechanic said 'that's fiberglass.' I said 'I know.' he said 'that's internal damage.' I said 'that is what it looked like to me too; which is what most concerned me.' then he said; 'do you see the area that has been painted along the outer edge of the fairing?' I said 'yes.' he said 'that's the repair.' I mentioned that I was surprised that the controller I talked to over the radio didn't have any record in the archives of the damage and/or subsequent repair. He said 'well; his information only goes back 30 days!' I said; 'well; as we have no official record of this having been reported or repaired and since you're already out here; would you please take a quick look; so that we will know; for sure; it's ok?' he huffed and turned to go up on the 'cherry picker' without any reply. I turned and started to walk away as I was going to return to the cockpit; then changed my mind and decided to watch and make sure that the mechanic did in fact inspect the area. I was about 20 ft away when I turned around; saw the mechanic talking to the supervisor; shaking his head and laughing. After he inspected the area; the mechanic told me that it was fine and that it did look like the paint had been done after the dents had happened. This was not evident to me from the ground (perhaps at another time I can learn how paint is sufficient to repair internal structural damage to aircraft parts). I have 2 issues with this situation. First of all; I find it disturbing (if it is in fact true); that maintenance cannot access records of damage and repair to any aircraft beyond 30 days. If this is true; a better system should be created. At the bottom of our log history; we should have a list of each external item where any repair does not totally correct all evidence of the original issue/damage; so each crew will have the information and know it is not a new issue. Second; I found the way I was treated to be very unprofessional and demeaning. The mechanic might as well have said; 'you don't know anything! Why are you wasting my time?' the demeanor of both the mechanic and supervisor certainly seemed to say that. If; in my professional judgement; I hadn't thought the item was a legitimate concern; I would not have mentioned it to the captain; much less to maintenance. I felt that their treatment of me was intended to serve as a deterrent for future write-ups.callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter states the damage on the right horizontal stabilizer lower surface is approximately 18 to 24 inches inboard from the outboard end of the stabilizer. The skin surface has multiple nickel-size dents concentrated in that area of both left and right horizontal stabilizer sections. Reporter states it is not uncommon to find the right horizontal stabilizer damaged in this area more often than the left stabilizer. Reporter states perhaps debris kicked up by the tires on landing or the engines may be contributing to the damage. Reporter also states that in the future; looking on top of the wing for similar denting of the horizontal skin will be requested; whenever the lower surface needs a closer look.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: AN A320 PILOT REPORTS ON THE UNPROFESSIONAL ATTITUDE AND DEMEANOR OF A MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR AND MECHANIC; AFTER CALLING MAINTENANCE CONTROL ABOUT NUMEROUS UNDOCUMENTED LOCALIZED DENTS ON THE RIGHT LOWER SIDE OF THE RIGHT HORIZONTAL STABILIZER.
Narrative: DURING MY WALKAROUND; I DISCOVERED NUMEROUS LOCALIZED DENTS ON THE UNDERNEATH SIDE OF THE R SIDE OF THE HORIZ STABILIZER. THE ACFT SKIN REMINDED ME OF A GOLF BALL. THERE WERE APPROX 15-20 SMALL DENTS; APPROX 10 INCHES INBOARD; IN A CIRCULAR AREA WITH A 7-10 INCH DIAMETER. I WAS SURPRISED NOT TO SEE A STICKER (AKA 'DENT DOOR') PLACED BY MAINT AFTER INSPECTING THE AREA; AS I THOUGHT THE DAMAGE WAS VERY NOTICEABLE. MY MAIN CONCERN WAS THE POSSIBILITY OF INTERNAL STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO THE STABILIZER FAIRING. UPON RETURNING TO THE COCKPIT; I TOLD THE CAPT ABOUT THE DAMAGE. AS THERE WAS NOTHING MENTIONED ABOUT THIS IN OUR MAINT LOG HISTORY PAPERWORK; HE TOLD ME TO CALL MAINT TO INQUIRE ABOUT THE LONG(ER) TERM ACFT HISTORY. I CALLED THE LOCAL MAINT CTL FREQ; AND WAS TOLD BY THE MECH WHO ANSWERED THAT HE WOULD INVESTIGATE AND GET BACK TO US. WHEN THE MECH CALLED BACK SEVERAL MINS LATER; HE STATED HIS SURPRISE THAT THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO RECORD OF ANY SUCH DAMAGE; CF OR DF ITEM FOR OUR ACFT AND THAT SOMEONE WOULD NEED TO COME OUT AND TAKE A LOOK AT IT. I ASKED IF HE WANTED US TO SEND A MAINT REQUEST CODE OR HAD HE ALREADY DONE SO? HE REQUESTED THAT WE ENTER THE LOG ITEM BY SENDING THE WRITE-UP VIA ACARS. I ENTERED THE WRITE-UP: UNDERNEATH SIDE OF R SIDE HORIZ STABILIZER HAS NUMEROUS DENTS -- POSSIBLE HAIL DAMAGE. SHORTLY THEREAFTER; A MECH STOPPED BY THE COCKPIT AND ASKED ME TO COME OUTSIDE AND POINT OUT THE AREA WE/I WAS REFERRING TO. I CAME OUTSIDE AND POINTED OUT THE AREA. I NOTICED IMMEDIATELY A MAINT SUPVR WHO WAS OUTSIDE NEAR THE TAIL WHO WAS ON HIS CELL PHONE AND HAD A CLIPBOARD AND WAS MAKING NOTES. HE STOOD AWAY FROM US THE ENTIRE TIME AND DID NOT ENGAGE IN ANY KIND OF DISCUSSION WITH ME. THE MECH SAID 'THAT'S FIBERGLASS.' I SAID 'I KNOW.' HE SAID 'THAT'S INTERNAL DAMAGE.' I SAID 'THAT IS WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE TO ME TOO; WHICH IS WHAT MOST CONCERNED ME.' THEN HE SAID; 'DO YOU SEE THE AREA THAT HAS BEEN PAINTED ALONG THE OUTER EDGE OF THE FAIRING?' I SAID 'YES.' HE SAID 'THAT'S THE REPAIR.' I MENTIONED THAT I WAS SURPRISED THAT THE CTLR I TALKED TO OVER THE RADIO DIDN'T HAVE ANY RECORD IN THE ARCHIVES OF THE DAMAGE AND/OR SUBSEQUENT REPAIR. HE SAID 'WELL; HIS INFO ONLY GOES BACK 30 DAYS!' I SAID; 'WELL; AS WE HAVE NO OFFICIAL RECORD OF THIS HAVING BEEN RPTED OR REPAIRED AND SINCE YOU'RE ALREADY OUT HERE; WOULD YOU PLEASE TAKE A QUICK LOOK; SO THAT WE WILL KNOW; FOR SURE; IT'S OK?' HE HUFFED AND TURNED TO GO UP ON THE 'CHERRY PICKER' WITHOUT ANY REPLY. I TURNED AND STARTED TO WALK AWAY AS I WAS GOING TO RETURN TO THE COCKPIT; THEN CHANGED MY MIND AND DECIDED TO WATCH AND MAKE SURE THAT THE MECH DID IN FACT INSPECT THE AREA. I WAS ABOUT 20 FT AWAY WHEN I TURNED AROUND; SAW THE MECH TALKING TO THE SUPVR; SHAKING HIS HEAD AND LAUGHING. AFTER HE INSPECTED THE AREA; THE MECH TOLD ME THAT IT WAS FINE AND THAT IT DID LOOK LIKE THE PAINT HAD BEEN DONE AFTER THE DENTS HAD HAPPENED. THIS WAS NOT EVIDENT TO ME FROM THE GND (PERHAPS AT ANOTHER TIME I CAN LEARN HOW PAINT IS SUFFICIENT TO REPAIR INTERNAL STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO ACFT PARTS). I HAVE 2 ISSUES WITH THIS SITUATION. FIRST OF ALL; I FIND IT DISTURBING (IF IT IS IN FACT TRUE); THAT MAINT CANNOT ACCESS RECORDS OF DAMAGE AND REPAIR TO ANY ACFT BEYOND 30 DAYS. IF THIS IS TRUE; A BETTER SYSTEM SHOULD BE CREATED. AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR LOG HISTORY; WE SHOULD HAVE A LIST OF EACH EXTERNAL ITEM WHERE ANY REPAIR DOES NOT TOTALLY CORRECT ALL EVIDENCE OF THE ORIGINAL ISSUE/DAMAGE; SO EACH CREW WILL HAVE THE INFO AND KNOW IT IS NOT A NEW ISSUE. SECOND; I FOUND THE WAY I WAS TREATED TO BE VERY UNPROFESSIONAL AND DEMEANING. THE MECH MIGHT AS WELL HAVE SAID; 'YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING! WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME?' THE DEMEANOR OF BOTH THE MECH AND SUPVR CERTAINLY SEEMED TO SAY THAT. IF; IN MY PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT; I HADN'T THOUGHT THE ITEM WAS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN; I WOULD NOT HAVE MENTIONED IT TO THE CAPT; MUCH LESS TO MAINT. I FELT THAT THEIR TREATMENT OF ME WAS INTENDED TO SERVE AS A DETERRENT FOR FUTURE WRITE-UPS.CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH REPORTER REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: REPORTER STATES THE DAMAGE ON THE RIGHT HORIZ STAB LOWER SURFACE IS APPROXIMATELY 18 TO 24 INCHES INBOARD FROM THE OUTBOARD END OF THE STABILIZER. THE SKIN SURFACE HAS MULTIPLE NICKEL-SIZE DENTS CONCENTRATED IN THAT AREA OF BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT HORIZ STAB SECTIONS. REPORTER STATES IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO FIND THE RIGHT HORIZ STAB DAMAGED IN THIS AREA MORE OFTEN THAN THE LEFT STAB. REPORTER STATES PERHAPS DEBRIS KICKED UP BY THE TIRES ON LANDING OR THE ENGINES MAY BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE DAMAGE. REPORTER ALSO STATES THAT IN THE FUTURE; LOOKING ON TOP OF THE WING FOR SIMILAR DENTING OF THE HORIZ SKIN WILL BE REQUESTED; WHENEVER THE LOWER SURFACE NEEDS A CLOSER LOOK.
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.