Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Work Of Team Work

Last Saturday at work was one for those days that you never forget. From the moment we clocked in we were busy. There were planes to move and a grounded plane that needed the turbo-fan boot replaced. The lead got all the remoters assigned and I volunteered to change the turbo-fan boot. I've R&R'd turbo-fans before so I remember monkeying around with the boot. The part came in from Phoenix around 630 am so I picked it up and hopped into my golf cart for a nice morning drive out to Tango. On the way out there I noticed that one of the other day shift mechanics was following me out. I figured he was just driving to his remote plane so I thought nothing of it.

Once I got to the plane the other mechanic, I'll call him Banyan, drove up. I asked him if he was supposed to remote the plane I was working on but he said that he was just checking out the turbo-fan boot thing. The turbo-fan boot is a flexible duct that gets installed between the turbo-fan and the exhaust duct towards the aft of the airconditioning bay. The boot is held in by two large clamps, one on each side. sounds easy enough. As I started to install the new boot I put the clamp on the aft exhaust duct and then tried to put the forward clamp on. The problem was that I needed to pull the boot forward while positioning the clamp and at the same time tightening the clamp. Long story short Banyan was there and was able to pull the duct forward while I positioned and tightened the clamp.

The next thing was a gate call for an engine bleed trip. The Lead Mechanic, lets call him-Shooter, rode out there with me. We got permission from MX Control to lock out the bleed air system on the #2 engine. I grabbed the core-cowl pump before we left and we had that thing open, the PRSOV locked out, and the engine closed in about 7-8 minutes. The paper work took longer than the actual work.

That Saturday we had a plane with a DEU problem that required mechanic in the office to look up fault codes, a FO seat that had issues, and all the normal Saturday day shift calls (oils, hydraulics, radio issues, window washes, coffee makers, passenger seat problems). The day was simply humming with work.

The last example I will share from that day was a hydraulic leak. The FO did his walk around and found a hydro leak in the right wheel well. Four of us went to check it out, myself, Shooter, Banyan, and another mechanic-El Gato. The wheel well was a fog of hydro fluid. El Gato was trying to find the leak but the fluid getting into his eyes and lungs kept driving him out of the wheel well. The stores clerk brought out eye protection and a mask for him while he and Banyan continued to search out the pin hole leak. Any time there is hyd. fog like that the leak is a pin hole or very small crack in a component or line. Shooter went upstairs to switch the pump on and off and I was relaying when to do that on the radio. Once they found the leak El Gato started to take the line apart and Banyan went to get the temp-line kit. I went to get some gray tubs for the dripping fluid to go into instead of just letting it go all over the ground.

El Gato and Banyan had the line out and the new temp-line in while Shooter did the paperwork and I cleaned up and just helped out by handing tools to them etc. We took maybe an hour total hit on the plane but it was done and done right.

All of the above happened before noon. In the 5 \1/2 hours from 6:30 to 12 we worked all those issues and worked together often with out the need to ask for help or even the need to verbally communicate between us. The teamwork that was displayed was amazing. One mechanic knew what to do and others knew if he needed help doing it. If he went upstairs I stayed down stairs to do what needed to be done. If he is going to remove, whatever, he's going to need this tool or that tool so I better grab it.

The foremen recently asked all of us how to improve the teamwork here at OAK. I'm starting to believe that teamwork comes naturally to some. The thing about last Saturday and the guys working is that they have worked together for a while now, some even before starting at SWA. These guys know how to work and how to work together. Banyan knew that he did not have to ride out to Tango in the morning to "check out the turbo-fan boot". He also knew that, while the job could be done by one guy, the job would be done quicker if that one guy had a hand at the crucial last clamp!

Are these things that can be taught? Remember that in order to learn one has to be willing to be taught! The work of teamwork is that teamwork works, but only if you have the right team.