ASQ Influential Voices Contribution: Quality in Unexpected Places

Problems with the tail of this plane cause a delay on my way to the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Section Affairs Council meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The pilot found a problem during his routine quality checks.

Guess what basic quality tool he used...

Answer:  a check sheet.

During this four hour delay at Chicago's O'Hare airport I spent much of my time watching mechanics and ground crew going in and out of the tail section of the plane. While I waited I wondered to myself the following: What prompted the check?  Would it be fixed soon?  What was the cause of the trouble?  Would it be fixed soon?  Could it have been prevented?  Was this really a routine check as the airline announced or did the pilot notice something in how the plane handled during the incoming flight to O'Hare? And did I mention, would it be fixed soon?

Well, the airline ended up ordering in another plane and crew to take us on to Phoenix, AZ.  Quality does matter, especially in cases like this one where lives are at stake.  Who knows what may have happened if the pilot's check sheet did not catch the problem with this plane.    

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