Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 12

SPOTLIGHT

"Tribal knowledge" is an ancient form
of human factors where elder members
of a group would pass onto the youth the
ways and means of sustaining life and
maintaining their culture. The principal
has worked well for many centuries with
each generation contributing their own
insight to the knowledge pool. In any
organization, there is a vast amount of
knowledge regarding products, processes
and methods that is often held by a select
few. The big problem with this concept is
that the tribe is a very limited group, and
when one member moves on or retires,
that knowledge is lost. In some instances,
tribal knowledge can become a barrier
to sustainable long term growth. This
means viable pieces of this information
should be documented and preserved.
Each month, our profession diminishes.
Meaning knowledge is lost due to death,
retirement and even changing career fields.
Ironically, even though these are the most
experienced and knowledgeable employees, many companies do not value them
the way they do new hires. Many younger
managers with little hands-on experience,
but in possession of an academic degree,
become intimidated by those possessing
wisdom and encourage the tribal elders
to leave. There are many in our business
that possess knowledge but lack wisdom.
Knowledge by definition includes facts
and information, as well as skills acquired
through education and experience and can
be both a theoretical as well as a practical
understanding of a subject. As many are
aware, reading a maintenance procedure
and actually understanding it are often
part of daily dilemmas. Wisdom is often
confused with knowledge, but is the ability
to use knowledge coupled with experience, understanding, common sense, and
insight. In fact it is said: "Good judgement
is the result of experience and a lot of
that is based on bad judgement." Wisdom
is also considered the ability to discern
or judge what is true or right. Decision
making is an area that will separate those
with knowledge from those possessing
wisdom. In recent years, I have run across
several young AMTs using the title "senior

12 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019

technician" in their social media bios. In
one case, a young man had attended an
initial aircraft maintenance course but had
little real life experience. He was also of
the opinion that he was the lone keeper
of the new aircraft knowledge. When the
aircraft developed a fly by wire discrepancy, haphazard troubleshooting was
conducted without consulting others in
the department, resulting in a smoked,
back up battery and a missed flight. All of
this was a result of failing to follow procedures and failure to communicate. The

The big problem with this
concept is that the tribe
is a very limited group,
and when one member
moves on or retires, that
knowledge is lost.
outcome could have been much worse.
Unfortunately, for some not realizing
the true importance of what we do provides situations where ego trumps good
judgement!
Aviation maintenance tools and techniques have evolved significantly since
the days of Charles Taylor. Some aircraft
technical issues can be solved by an internet search using appropriate keywords.
Aircraft manufacturers have harnessed the
powers of connectivity to facilitate communications between operators of specific
aircraft types where experiences can be
shared in an open forum. This sharing of
information is, in reality, a modern form
of tribal knowledge.
Digital diagnostics does not always
carry through to provide the ultimate
solution. From time to time, even with
modern electronic systems, basic troubleshooting needs to be carried out. In most
cases, diagnosing a troublesome discrepancy involves coming up with a diagnostic
strategy. On board central maintenance
computers can be very good at supplying

reference data to help identify problems,
but in most cases, they are not capable of
assessing the root cause of the problem.
In my travels, I have noticed the advancements technicians make in adapting to
new technology but have also noted significant deterioration in the ability to troubleshoot or think things through without
electronic assistance. The analog part of a
circuit is still in use on the most advanced
aircraft today and now with digital busses
routed everywhere in most new machines,
the ability to identify an impedance issue
in a bus, coax or shielded wire becomes
essential. Preserving diagnostic methods
and techniques is an important part in
maintaining both next gen along with
aging aircraft and the only way to achieve
is through a willingness of those possessing the knowledge to share, along with a
willingness of the not so senior technicians
to absorb some of the knowledge acquired
by those soon destined to retire. During
my early years in the profession, I always
carried a notebook and would capture
instances where a transfer of knowledge
took place. Of course today, a personal
electronic device is a good substitute for
a paper notebook. I also recognized the
value of experience and soon realized jobs
became much easier when applying wisdom provided by another.
Industry forecasts predict the world's
aviation fleet will better than double
within the next 15 years. Yes, that means
many new technology products will be
appearing, but it also means 50 percent
of aircraft will be considered "aging" and
some part of the tribe will hopefully possess the knowledge and wisdom to keep
them flying along with the newer ones.
The tribe, like aircraft, are also aging and
there are fewer and fewer replacements
to pass on the accumulated knowledge.
I have learned many things over the
years, including putting little faith in self
proclaimed "senior technicians." Don't just
profess to know and assume knowledge
is power, be a professor and share what
you know and possess a willingness to
continue to learn from others.

AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY



Aircraft Maintenance Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aircraft Maintenance Technology

Editor's Viewpoint: Celebrate Our Industry's Young People
Product Update: Tools and Tool Storage - Tools for School
Spotlight: Tribal Knowledge
Career Development: Maintaining the Maintenance Labor Pipeline
Commercial/MRO: Never Scrap Your (Composite) Component Again
Cover Story: NextGEN Awards
Product Update
ARSA Insight: The "Good Example" Movement
ATEC Insight: Rise Above the Noise
Advertisers' Index
Editor's Sign-off: I am a Next Gen
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 1
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 2
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 3
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Editor's Viewpoint: Celebrate Our Industry's Young People
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 5
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Product Update: Tools and Tool Storage - Tools for School
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 7
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 8
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 9
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Spotlight: Tribal Knowledge
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 11
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 12
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 13
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Career Development: Maintaining the Maintenance Labor Pipeline
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 15
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 16
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 17
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 18
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 19
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 20
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 21
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Commercial/MRO: Never Scrap Your (Composite) Component Again
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 23
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 24
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 25
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 26
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 27
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Cover Story: NextGEN Awards
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 29
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 30
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 31
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Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Product Update
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - ARSA Insight: The "Good Example" Movement
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - ATEC Insight: Rise Above the Noise
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 64
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Advertisers' Index
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Editor's Sign-off: I am a Next Gen
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 67
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 68
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