Who Do You Trust?
According to Webster’s, trust is the “firm” belief or confidence in the honesty, reliability, justice, etc., of another person or thing. When it comes to maintenance and inspections, a question you should ask yourself is, “Do I trust or have confidence that the previous maintenance or inspection was properly done?” Sadly, too many problems and accidents prove otherwise.
When removing and replacing a component, don’t “trust” that it was properly installed previously. This is especially true if a component requires bench tests, clearance or tolerance checks prior to installation. READ, UNDERSTAND, and FOLLOW the manufacturer’s instructions and other Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) rather than installing as previously installed. We are human and as hard as we try, we all make mistakes.
When it comes to inspections, carefully and thoroughly inspect every item required by the manufacturer’s inspection checklist rather than being pressured to take shortcuts or cut corners. Do you have the firm belief or confidence that all the covers and panels were opened and/or removed and areas behind insulation properly inspected during previous inspections? The truth is, you don’t know for sure!
Here is a hypothetical example: Someone replaced missing upholstery screws in an interior side panel. It should be documented…but it might not be. Nevertheless, was the screw too long and is it now chaffing against a fluid line, hose, or electrical wire behind that panel? You don’t know unless you inspect.
The “firm” belief or confidence in reliability comes only after YOU have performed maintenance and inspections per manufacturer’s instructions and data.
Back in the ‘80s, Ronald Reagan had a phrase he used when dealing with the old Soviet Union: "Trust, but Verify.” Good advice for all of us!