Preventing disasters: maintenance reliability

Why aren't we hearing reliability engineers evaluate the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disaster on news outlets?


Doug Plucknette. Courtesy: ARGNot a single reliability engineer has been interviewed on any of the round-the-clock news programming dedicated to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disaster. I keep wondering why a news organization would not want to do so, as airline reliability engineers would have been involved with the discovery and mitigation of nearly every component on an aircraft. If you want to know all of the failure modes of a transponder, for example, a reliability engineer could explain a list of ways it can fail on its own.

Perhaps the problem with the reliability engineer is they want to keep talking about facts. Facts aren’t exciting. It’s far more sensational to speculate, talk about conspiracies, point fingers at people and governments, and, of course, show the families of the missing airlines passaengers in the various stages of grief. Raw emotions and speculation sell, but the facts are boring, and reliability engineers only want to deal with facts.

The 24-hour coverage of this event has been, for me, an all-time low when it comes to valuing sensationalism over facts and right now to the friends of 239 people who are missing, some facts would be far more comforting than rumor and speculation. I just turned off the news; I’m waiting for some facts.

Doug Plucknette and Allied Reliability Group take the tragedy of Malaysia flight 370 very seriously, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families of the passengers.  We use Malaysia Flight 370 as an example for educational sake, solely in the hopes of preventing future mechanical and electrical failures in machinery that could threaten the lives of others. Doug Plucknette joined Allied Reliability Group as the Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) Discipline Leader in July of 2007. As the founder of RCM Blitz®, he has provided reliability training and services to numerous companies around the world, large and small, including such Fortune 500 companies as Cargill, Whirlpool, Honda, Coors Brewing, Energizer, Corning, Invista, and Newmont Mining 

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