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Airline Mechanics Who Can`t Read English
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May 23, 2009, 05:56 AM
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Byron Harris at WFAA-TV writes:
There is also evidence that hundreds of mechanics with questionable licenses are working on aircraft in Texas.

Now there is evidence of repair facilities hiring low-wage mechanics who can`t read English.

Twenty-one people were killed when U.S. Airways Express Flight 5481 crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2003. The plane went wildly out of control on takeoff.

One reason for the crash, investigators found, was that mechanics incorrectly connected the cables to some of the plane`s control surfaces in the repair shop. The FAA was cited for improper oversight of the repair process.

Repairing airplanes is a complicated business. Airplanes have many manuals. Typically, when mechanics repair a part, they open the manual, consult the book, and make the repair step-by-step, as if it were a recipe book.

They make a list of every action they take, so the next person to fix the plane (as well as the people who fly it) will know exactly what has been done.

If mechanics don`t speak English, the international language of aviation, they can`t read the manual and they can`t record their activities.[News 8 Investigates: Airline mechanics who can`t read English, May 16, 2009]

One fundamental question:why should immigrants from countries in which a background check cannot reliably be done be involved managing critical infrastructure in the US? US job growth has not be keeping up with natural increase of our population in recent years. If skilled jobs can`t be filled reliably, this suggests a structural problem that should be addressed, not brushed under the carpet by opening the floodgates.