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"Fake" Mechanic Certifies Qantas Airlines 747 "Safe to Fly"

by John M. White |

Feel safe when you fly on the airlines?  Read the following story which was published on December 5th by UPI:

"SYDNEY, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A lawyer for a man who faked credentials to pass as a mechanic for Australia's  Qantas airline said Thursday his client lives in a "parallel universe."

A psychologist testified to a court in New South Wales that Timothy McCormack, 27, is a "pathological liar," The Sydney Morning Herald reported. McCormack pleaded guilty in September to getting a job with the airline by fraud.

"My client is trying to create for himself this mythological place where he had greater status and where he could in fact hide from his utter self-loathing," lawyer Sydney Jacobs said, describing McCormack's world as a "perfect parallel universe."

McCormack worked for Qantas for 10 months, certifying 747s as safe to fly. He claimed to be a licensed maintenance engineer who had passed the Civil Aviation Safety Authority exam.

Judge Mark Merien postponed sentencing until Dec. 17 and said McCormack is likely to get a substantial prison term.

"This is someone who not only was carrying out maintenance on Qantas jets carrying large numbers of people, but was actually certifying work done by other people. It's the potential of the harm that could have been done," the judge said."

The question is, Who is checking the credentials of these employees?  While it is certainly criminal to obtain a job using false credentials, what about the person who did the hiring?  How many more of these folks are out there?  Are any working on your aircraft?

Punishing the offender is certainly appropriate, but are the folks doing the hiring taking their job as seriously as we want?  How hard is it to check out the credentials of an applicant who wants a job that requires a license of some kind. 

As they say safety starts at the beginning of a process, so make sure you follow any process you are involved with from the start and don't leave any stone unturned in checking out someone you are responsible to hire.  I know that I made a big mistake in not checking out someone I brought into my business a number of years ago.  If I had I would have made a different choice; instead, I have paid a high price for that mistake.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!



P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S = The solution logged by the mechanic.

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: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.

S: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

P: Something loose in cockpit.

S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.

S: Live bugs on backorder.

P: Autopilot in "altitude-hold" mode produces a 200-fpm 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 they're there for!

P: Transponder inoperative.

S: Transponder always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: The T/C ball seemed stuck in the middle during my last turn.

S: Congratulations! You've just made your first coordinated turn.

P: Suspected crack in windscreen.

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: Radar hums.

S: Reprogrammed radar with words.

P: Mouse in cockpit.

S: Cat installed.

P: Radio switches stick

S: Peanut butter no longer served to flight crew

P: Screaming sound in cabin at start-up

S: Company accountant deplaned

P: Funny smell in cockpit

S: Pilot told to change cologne

P: Aircraft 2,400 lbs over max weight

S: Aircraft put on diet of 92 octane

P: #3 engine knocks at idle

S: #3 engine let in for a few beers

P: #3 engine runs like it's sick

S: #3 engine diagnosed with hangover

P: Brakes howl on application

S: Don't step on 'em so hard!

P: Radio sounds like a squealing pig

S: Removed pig from radio. BBQ behind hangar tomorrow

P: Whole aircraft smells like BBQ

S: Ground Checks OK

P: First class cabin floor has a squeak

S: Co-pilot told not to play with toddler toys in cabin anymore

P: Electrical governor is broke

S: Paid off governor's debt to Jimmy "The Fish" Galvano







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