November 2006 Anglican Church Letter
A welcome return to Keith's monthly Anglican newsletter
Quantas is the only major airline never to have had a serious accident. Maybe one of the reasons is the relationship between the pilots and the mechanics. In reading what follows, it is interesting to remember that the pilots typically have to have degrees, whereas the mechanics are only required to have High School diplomas.
The pilots have to complete a 'gripe' form after every flight, noting any difficulties with the aircraft. Before it can fly again the next pilot has to see the gripe sheet and the mechanics' responses. Here are some actual gripes and their solutions. (P = Pilot, S = solution)
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft
P: Something loose in the cockpit
S: Something tightened in the cockpit
P: Dead bugs on the windshield
S: Live bugs on back-order
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear
S: Evidence removed
P: DME volume unbelievably loud
S: DME volume set to more believable level
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick
S: That's what friction locks are for
P: IFF inoperable in OFF mode
S: IFF always inoperable in OFF mode
P: Suspected crack in windshield
S: Suspect you're right
P: Number 3 engine missing
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search
P: Aircraft handles funny
S: Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right and be serious
P: Target radar hums
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics
P; Mouse in cockpit
S: Cat installed
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on
something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget
And so on . . . . .
It's good fun. But everything needs to be kept in perspective. I think God sometimes has a laugh at my expense when I offer up to him something I think is serious but which he knows is nothing of the sort. One way that I like to look at current politics is through the eyes of Bremner, Bird and Fortune, but I have to put that behind me when I make a cross on a ballot paper. The Quantas pilots have to be confident that the cheeky chappies dealing with their complaints so sarcastically do nonetheless take seriously the maintenance of the aircraft.
How many people go to the charity Aid concerts just to have fun, paying to go in because it is a good price for what they will receive, but not caring for the motives of the organizers? How many of us take God's gifts at their face (ticket) value and enjoy them (frequently enjoy them in destructive ways) and do not see that these gifts are not just for us for our immediate consumption?
I hope (of course, I know!) that God does not laugh at my prayers for the suffering people of Darfur, by suggesting - 'Yeah, but look at what a good time the militia are having', although that might be the humorous response of the aircraft maintenance men or of Rory Bremner.
So, I won't have any hesitation in flying Quantas, regardless of the mechanics' sense of humour, because I have no doubt but that they do take their work seriously. My problem is that I am not sure that God is quite as entitled to take me seriously.
Licensed Lay Minister