Outsourced to Avoid Regulations: The Disturbing Truth About How US Airlines Maintain Their Planes

In the last decade, most of the big U.S. airlines have shifted major maintenance work to places like El Salvador, Mexico, and China, where few mechanics are F.A.A. certified and inspections have no teeth.


ot long ago I was waiting for a domestic flight in a departure lounge at one of the crumbling midcentury sheds that pass for an American airport these days. There were delays, as we’ve all come to expect, and then the delays turned into something more ominous. The airplane I was waiting for had a serious maintenance issue, beyond the ability of a man in an orange vest to address. The entire airplane would have to be taken away for servicing and another brought to the gate in its place. This would take a while. Those of us in the departure lounge settled in for what we suspected might be hours. From the window I watched the ground crew unload the bags from the original airplane. When the new one arrived, the crew pumped the fuel, loaded the bags, and stocked the galley. It was a scene I’d witnessed countless times. Soon we would board and be on the way to our destinations.

As for the first airplane, the one with the maintenance problem—what was its destination going to be? When you have time on your hands, you begin to wonder about things like this. My own assumption, as yours might have been, was that the aircraft would be towed to a nearby hangar for a stopgap repair and then flown to a central maintenance facility run by the airline somewhere in the U.S. Or maybe there was one right here at the airport. In any case, if it needed a major overhaul, presumably it would be performed by the airline’s staff of trained professionals. If Apple feels it needs a “Genius Bar” at its stores to deal with hardware and software that cost a few hundred dollars, an airline must have something equivalent to safeguard an airplane worth a few hundred million.

About this I would be wrong—as wrong as it is possible to be. Over the past decade, nearly all large U.S. airlines have shifted heavy maintenance work on their airplanes to repair shops thousands of miles away, in developing countries, where the mechanics who take the planes apart (completely) and put them back together (or almost) may not even be able to read or speak English. US Airways and Southwest fly planes to a maintenance facility in El Salvador. Delta sends planes to Mexico. United uses a shop in China. American still does much of its most intensive maintenance in-house in the U.S., but that is likely to change in the aftermath of the company’s merger with US Airways.

Read more of this story.


9 Ways Introverts Can (Quietly) Outperform All the Loud People Around Them

How can introverts become successful when it seems the world only has time to listen to those who shout the loudest?

Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has been a bestseller ever since it was first published back in 2012. Cain also recently launched Quiet Revolution, which she describes as “a mission-based company that offers parenting and educational services to unlock the power of introverts.”

She recently did an “ask me anything” event on Product Hunt. Here are 10 highlights of what she had to say about how introverts can succeed and find happiness in a world dominated by louder voices.

1. Learn to take risks.

“It’s easier to take risks in the service of something or someone you really care about. Professor Brian Little speaks of our “core personal projects”–the projects and people we place at the center of our lives. What and who are these for you? Once you’ve identified them, don’t even think in terms of risk or not-risk. Just think in terms of how do you accomplish your goals.”

2. Ignore the misconceptions.

“The No. 1 biggest misconception [is] thinking introverts are unfriendly or antisocial, when in fact we just like to socialize differently, more intensely, with a smaller group of people. … I would add to this answer that people often see introverts as less powerful (because we tend to speak more softly, not enjoy conflict, etc.), when in fact introverts possess a whole suite of powers that have moved the world–powers of persistence, of concentration, of sensitivity, of ability to think deeply, and so on.”

3. Practice before preaching (literally).

“I used to be really scared of public speaking, so I spent the year before my book came out (and the year before giving that TED talk) practicing public speaking in small, manageable, low-stakes settings. Do not begin by giving a TED talk! … You want to practice over and over with audiences before whom it doesn’t matter how much you seem nervous or forget what you were going to say.”

4. Leverage your strengths as a salesperson.

“[F]ollow the age-old sales wisdom: “We all have two ears and one mouth and should use them in that proportion.” Truly, the best salespeople listen really well and think about–and care–what their prospects need.”

5. Work by yourself if that works best.

“Just … say so. And if you can point to examples of great work you’ve gotten done via such a process, all the better.”

6. Motivate yourself by focusing on mission.

“I remember, when Quiet first came out, feeling raw and exposed to the world. But I really did get used to it over time, and learned to focus not on the exposed feeling but rather on the sense of mission that made me write the book in the first place. That’s what I tune in to now every single day.”

7. Be inspired by other introverted leaders.

“Jim Collins did a famous study where he looked at the CEOs of the 11 best performing companies, and found that all 11 of them were described by their peers and colleagues as quiet, unassuming, low-key, soft-spoken, even shy. Gandhi was this kind of leader, as was Eleanor Roosevelt. Look around Silicon Valley today … from Larry Page to Bill Gates and beyond.”

8. On being an introverted entrepreneur.

“[W]hile sometimes you will have to act outside your comfort zone, it’s much better to figure out how to communicate passion and conviction while still being yourself. …  If it is coming from an authentic place, people will feel it. It also helps to have an extroverted partner or senior colleague who can do the things you don’t like to do, and vice versa. My favorite example of this is Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s introverted CEO, and Sheryl Sandberg, extroverted COO. They are the ultimate yin-yang pair.”

9. Learn to “advertise yourself.”

“I would look for ways to showcase your expertise–whether through internal company blogs, small speaking roles at a company conference, etc. Second, if you have expertise that your colleagues could benefit from–share it! Send them emails with info they can use, etc. And finally, … [make] a list of some of your accomplishments. … Even if you never share the list with anyone, it will help center you emotionally around the value you bring.”

Comets 4 vs. Amerks 2

Down 2-0 early at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, Michael Zalewski and the Utica Comets stormed back for a 4-2 win vs the Rochester Americans on Saturday night. For the second consecutive night Zalewski netted two goals, including the game-winning goal.

Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1), Mike Zalewski (2-1-3) and Jon Landry (1-2-3) scored goals for the Comets and Joe Cannata stopped 20 saves en route to the win.

Back at The AUD for the first time in two weeks, the Comets had their work cut out for them as the Amerks jumped out to a two goals within the first five minutes of the contest.

With the first period coming to an end, Shinkaruk scored his 17th goal of the season with 4:09 remaining in the period. After he received a pass from Jon Landry, Shinkaruk wristed a shot through traffic and into the net. The goal was also assisted by Zalewski.

In the second period Zalewski scored his first goal of the night when he forced a turnover and scored a short-handed breakaway tally on Ullmark.
Just five minutes into the third period, Zalewski struck again for his 12th of the season. Brendan Gaunce collected a rebound and slipped a pass across the crease to Zalewski who quickly fired a shot into the gaping net for the game-winning goal.

Jon Landry added an insurance goal when he scored on an empty-net from his own zone.

With the win the Comets record improves to 19-17-3-3.

The Comets are back on the road next week as they head to St. Johns, Newfoundland to face the IceCaps, next Saturday, February 5th at the Mile One Centre Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00pm.

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