Posted 64 days ago ago by Admin
As a young helicopter mechanic at Carraway Hospital, one of the first jobs assigned to me by my mentor was washing the helicopters every day. One reason was to display a positive and professional image for the hospital. The other reason as he explained was to provide another avenue to put eyes on and inspect the aircraft. I quickly learned this was sound advice.
Remember, an EMS ship has carried many forms of corrosive fluids that must be cleaned as soon as possible. My cleaning duties caused me to notice issues such as broken windows and chin bubbles, broken antennas, missing or hanging strobe lights, corrosion, various cracks, bird nests and the occasional dead bird. Once, there was a hole in the upper cowling and upon further investigation I found another hole in the deck and then a .38 caliber round lying in the circuit breaker panel.
A clean aircraft is also vitally important coming into and out of an inspection. At one job my director of maintenance insisted that the aircraft was washed coming into an inspection. He would say, “you can’t find what you can’t see.” That was solid mentoring.
Today, we evaluate every aircraft coming into inspection for cleanliness and wash if necessary. Also, every aircraft departs inspection and maintenance with a thorough cleaning.
Returning a clean aircraft to your customer is utilizing the essential tool of Customer Service. As mechanics, we demonstrate professionalism, and ownership when we return a clean aircraft that operates within the established limits. Cleanliness is just another way to show that we care about what we do, and we care about our chosen profession but, most of all, we care about our customer and the relationship we have built with them.
In the big picture, cleaning an aircraft is considered a small thing, but the small things can make a big difference. In navigation one degree off can take you miles of course. A faulty packing or a seal leaking just a few drops of oil can cause aircraft to be grounded until washed, cleaned and ops checked.
As John Wesley stated, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” We, as helicopter mechanics, can stand out by doing what others don’t always do. Clean you customers aircraft and do more of the little things and you may find that your customers will return to you the next time maintenance is due.
About the author: Mark dedicated the majority of his career serving the helicopter EMS community from Base Mechanic to Director of Maintenance. As Vice President & General Manager of Precision Aircraft Services, Mark now serves helicopter operators from many sectors to include Air Ambulance, Law Enforcement, Private Owners, etc. When not at work, Mark can be found spending time with his family or sitting in a tree stand.
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