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You Might Be A Maintainer If....

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You have slept on the concrete under a wing.

You have said, "Oh...yes sir, it's supposed to look like that."

You have sucked LOX to cure a hangover.

You know what JP4 or JP8 tastes like.

You have used a piece of safety wire as a toothpick.

You have said, "My boots are black!" Or you have spray-painted them black.

You refer to a pilot as a "stick actuator."

You have been told to get "some prop wash and a yard of flightline."

You have worked a 14-hour shift on an aircraft that isn't flying the next day.

You have said, "As long as she starts every other try, you'll be fine sir."

You believe the aircraft has a soul.

You talk to the aircraft.

You defueled an aircraft an hour after refueling it.

The only thing you know about a city is where to find a cold drink and a quick bit to eat..

You know more about your coworkers than you do about your own family.

You have looked for pictures of "your" aircraft in aviation books.

You have wished one pilot would just say, "Great aircraft!"

You take it as a badge of honor to be just called a "Det Hound."

You relieve yourself outdoors more often than indoors.

You can't comprehend why everyone doesn't want to be a maintainer.

You have worn someone else's hat to chow.

You have wiped down leaks just before a crew showed up.

You have stood on wheel chocks to keep your feet dry.

You have used dykes to trim a fingernail.

All you care about is the flight schedule and your days off.

You have slept in the afterburner of a spare engine during an exercise. The afterburner of an F-4 engine really isn't a bad place to sleep, in a pinch.

Added by ATCS (AW/SW) Dave Clark, Naval Safety Center:


You ever used a B-1-Charlie instead of a HT-900 heat gun on heat shrink (Not the best choice and remember that guy who flicked his BIC near an NC-10's gas tank).

2 You ever held a conversation with your buddy on a busy flight deck using only hand signals.

2 You know more airplane part numbers, pins and wire numbers better than you know your own telephone number.

2 You have told aircrew to get out of the seat so you could get in there to fix a gripe...right.

You can quote malfunction codes or status codes from memory.

Your green wheel book is nothing but mini schematics and cheat sheets.

You've ever CDI'd anything in your dress blues because you were on watch and were the only CDI available.

You've ever fixed all your jets as fast and good as possible, so you could play a game of spades.

You didn't leave the flight deck once all shift until your relief showed up 12 hours later.

You've memorized all the bureau numbers of all the jets you've worked on.


Added by Bill Johnson - Maintenance Safety and Compliance Analyst for American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines, Ex-Air Force Maintainer


I'm not a Navy guy, but I am a maintainer and have been for more years than I care to mention. I am ex Air Force (both enlisted and civilian...), and I used to be an aircraft factory Tech Rep for the U.S. Coast Guard and the Israeli Air Force....


In my capacity as a Maintenance Safety Analyst at the world's largest airline, I frequent the Navy Safety pages a lot.... there is a lot of good information there that applies directly to what I do ...

Here are a few that apply to the airline world, but with slight modifications to the wording, should fit your world as well. Civilian or military, the basic concepts are the same.

You know that aircraft do not like to fly in inclement weather, so they choose those days to break.

You know that a hotel room in Bangor is the same as a hotel room in Tucson.

You know that it is possible to survive for weeks at a time on nothing but airline and airport food (or food from vending machines...).

You know exactly how many seconds it takes to heat up a honey bun on a ground power unit motor.

You know that three-day-old reheated coffee is capable of stripping the chrome off an oleo strut and should be disposed of as hazardous waste.

You know that wherever you are, it is as good as it gets for now.

You know that if it isn't in writing, it doesn't exist.

You know to believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see, and to take everything with a really huge grain of salt.

You've learned that there are only two really good aviation jobs in the world; the one you left and the one you are going to next.

You've learned that there is as much or more to be learned from a bad manager as there is from a good one.

You've learned that maintenance planners schedule heavy checks on weekends and holidays so as to not interfere with your other job duties, but ruin your "off time."


Added by AM3 Thomas Trask, VFA-122

You're a newly frocked 3rd class Petty Officer and already a shop supervisor because the rest of your shop is either on leave, on det., SIQ, restricted, or on baby leave.

You have heard a CDI say " Well I guess it will work."

You are faster than IETMS.

Your kids know you as "when are you coming home?"

You look forward to the words "FOD walkdown."

You hate the other shifts more than your mother in law.

You have been told by a master chief that your uniform looks like a bag of crap.

You have told a pilot "Don't worry about that. It's just a little residual fluid, Sir."

You have signed off on an aircraft and can't remember what the hell it was you signed off on?

You have been told by a Master Chief that YOU look like a bag of crap.

You broke at least 50 cheaply made Navy tools.

You have been told to go get an ID 10T form.

You think hydraulic fluid is the lifeblood of the airplane, and tastes like your supervisor's coffee.

You have referred to an airplane as "YOU expletive" and referred to it again five minutes later as "THAT expletive."

You forgot to shave and didn't notice until you got yelled at for it.

You can hear the airplane creaking from your rack.

You can make the airplane creak from your rack.

You can sleep through flight ops.

You refer to your supervisor in unkind words after he or she leaves.

You have watched the sun come up over an FA-18 SuperHornet while on watch and thought "Boy am I glad I don't live in Iraq!"


Added By AME1 Gregory Lafarlette, VR-61

You big worry is washing your hands BEFORE you make a visit to the head.

Added By TSgt. John R. Wendelin 914 MXS/LGMFS


In my +21 year military career I have worked on F-4s, F-14s (VF-24), F-16s, P-3s (VP-66), KC-135s and now C-130s.I have been in the Navy, Naval Reserve and Air National Guard.Currently, I am an Air Force civilian/reservist (Survival Equipment).

You wonder why day check works 8 hours and night check works 1 hours, and look forward to 12 on and 12 off onboard ship.

You work all night swapping engines for a Tomcat even though you're not assigned to the engine shop.

You inhale chow in between launch and recovery.

You get mad when everyone tells you how to do your job.

You don't understand why everyone gets mad when you tell them how to do their job.

You begin to look like E.T. because you are wearing your cranial all the time.

You sign off a write-up with "could not duplicate gripe".

You say "I'm not sleeping; I'm just checking the inside of my eyelids".

You get out of the change of command ceremony because you have to work an aircraft.

You screen your calls because you're afraid your shop is going to ask you to come to work early.

You go into work early because your shop needs you.

You supervise a Midshipman cleaning up his vomit from his backseat ride.

You keep your head on a swivel.


Added by Phillip Balasa, VR-61

You refer to work as home, and home as work interchangeable with out notice that you have done it.

Added by a group of maintainers from VR-61


You have ever said, "You don't really NEED that item, to fly, sir."

You have ever thought, "If I only had a roll of duct or 500-mile-an-hour tape."

You know your best friend's nickname but have no idea what that person's real name is.

You can identify an aircraft by the engine sounds.

You don't mind the taste of aircraft soap anymore.

You have worked the night shift so long that admin thinks you are a new check in.

You think that your wrist is calibrated.

You keep trying to get into your e-mail with your NALCOMIS log-in.

You have spoken to your family using hand signals.

You can tell whether an aircraft is using JP-5 or JP-8 from the exhaust smell.

You have left messages via grease pencil in a nose wheel well.

You have tried to order a new aircraft.

You have ordered enough parts to build a new aircraft.

You have seen a gripe written as "System does not work in O-F-F position."

You have tried to sign off a gripe as "Removed and Replaced Pilot" instead of "Operator Error."

You have fallen asleep while holding a flashlight for someone.

You have been asked to be at a mandatory meeting, told to report to your division chief, and assigned to fix a preflight gripe at the same time.

You have corrected a gripe with a "Technical Tap."

You have said, "It must be an electrical problem."

You have said to QA, "they all look like that."

You have started a wash job at the end of the shift and been told, "nobody goes home until it's done."

You fear QA more than you fear the skipper [good answer-Ed.].


Added by AT2 Rich Hockett, VAQ-129


You ever wanted to signed of a MAF with "R and R'ed aircrew."

You work nights and fear going in on Sunday to see what day check left you on Friday.

You ever have been yelled at waiting for another shop to get out of your way.

You ever had to play musical parts on deployment or det.

You have ever used hand signals around your family and get mad when they don't understand them.

You know it's the AT's fault no matter what the problem.

You have ever asked yourself, "Why didn't I go I-level when I had the chance?"


Added by Larry Guist, who was an Air Force fuel-systems mech (F-111s, F-4s, B-52s, and KC-135s) and now is a civil service aircraft mechanic at Naval Aviation Depot, Cherry Point, N.C. He recently retired from the Air Force reserves.

Half the fingers on your hands have cuts from safety wire or cotter pins.

Added by AA Sean Fitzhugh, VAQ-129


You might be a maintainer if you have ever heard a troubleshooter tell a pilot "Don't worry sir it isolates in flight."

Added by Jim Culbert, VQ-2 ( An AT2 in VQ-2 , then went to Force Warfare Pax River , then got out and went to work for NADEP Jacksonville on P-'s).


You know what "FIFI" means from the maintenance shack (F#@% it--Fly it).

You love Friday mornings after a "C" shift, so you can visit the "Taxi Stand" in Rota, Spain and watch people go to work.

You know it's wrong if you're still at the taxi stand when they get off work.


Added by AMC(AW) T. Thrasher (VA/VFA-204, HSL-74, VR-62, VFA-203, VP-64)


You have used a straight-slot screw driver as a prying tool.

You used a scribe to remove cotter pins.

You used MEK to remove paint from your hands. (No longer a good move.--Ed.)

You used TRIK (Freon) to clean grease from your hands. (Another passe step.--Ed)

You refuse to use the words "I can't do it" or "It can't be done"

You made a cotter pin out of a coat hanger.

You know what a blind folded "sit-up" is.

It is too quiet to sleep after a carrier deployment.

You dive the duct and someone puts the turn screen on while you are in the intake.

You have figured out how to take a job that takes 2 hours, and do it in 0 minutes. (Safely and with the book.--Ed)

You used a pair of "Vise-Gripes" to squeeze a solid rivet.

You used a nickel, dime, or a quarter and a pair of "Vise-Gripes" to remove Hi-Torque fasteners from an FA-1

You have memorized the panels that come off of an aircraft during a phase inspection.

You have ever been tapped up and hosed down on the wash rack on your birthday.

You have ever put axle grease on the seal of your buddy's goggles.

You ever tapped nickels to a prox switch.

You think you are Gods gift to naval aviation.

Your car has been primed with zinc chromate.

You have used safety wire to fish a tool out of an aircraft.

If you have ever been short sheeted or short sheeted someone (by the way, this is dying art [agree--Ed.])

You have met the "Air Boss" during flight quarters.

You have used bubble wrap as a pillow.


ADC Tony Molino (HS-8, VP-6, VP-9,HC-11, VX-30, ELU, HX-21)


You use a "cruise" box as a rack, cause you never see your own.

Only thing embroided on your name patch is "DET KING".

You name every hangar queen "Christine".

You give AT's your special tanning lotion, which is lube oil.

Put "moly b" on your Supervisors goggles and ear pads.

The most worn out tool in your tool box is hammer and flat tip screwdriver.

Signed off gripe as "Cycled APU switch to O-N position, works .0".

Air Boss calls you out by first name.

You have every tool from your tool box in your coverall pockets.

Pilot tells you throttle feels tight, so you reach over and release the friction locks( P- guys, you know what I'm saying).

In your own personal toolbox at home you have inventory sheet and make your friends log out each tool on your logbook.

You only know Day Check as "Play Check" and Night Check as "Stay Check".

You know you're a maintainer when you start every sentence as "Back in the day" or "When I was in (fill in squadron)".

Your picture is not in any "Cruisebooks", cause you were pulling a 2- hour shift fixing "Christine".


Msgt. Doug Moore, USAF Ret. (I've worked mostly the B-52 and the 135 tanker. I spent most of my time (24) in SAC. I had a year stint in Germany, working the F-16. I'm now out and on the civilian side, rebuilding the Piper Malibu Mirage for Hov-Aire in Michigan. My specialty is a rivet banger.)


The paperwork you just filled out weighs more the the aircraft you just made flyable.


ADAA Morgan Smith (HSL-47, 12C division)


I've only been in about a year and a half, but here is some of the wisdom passed on to me from LPOs, fellow maintainers, and what I've learned:


Editors note: I appreciate the enthusiasm from this young Sailor, but I want him and other readers to know that past behavior in some areas no longer is tolerable. I have pointed out those areas. Thank you, Morgan, for your inputs and the chance to keep safety in mind.--Ed.:


You've ever worked in a fuel cell with a half mask cause the Rhine Air was on the brink. (No longer a good move--Ed.)

As a plane captain, you've ever "told" the pilots to pull their heads out of their butt and quit messing around. (I did it as a chief, but more often to a few PCs--Ed.)

Pre-ex knows you by your first name.

You have stashed away enough parts to rebuild an entire rotor head during a "D" phase. (I thought we were past this old trick. A problem always existed with shelf-life items that could make the replacement item as bad as the one installed. I'm sure that issue was discussed--Ed.)

You can quote WUCS from memory.

You have slept in the hell hole of a SH-0B using seat cushions for padding.

You know the difference between "Big Bertha" and "Big Breaker."

You've ever had to open a lock with a pair of wrenches.

You know immediately what two wrenches are needed to open that lock.

You've ever slept on top of the dog house at work and in it when you got home.

You've ever worked from colors the night before to colors the morning.

You've ever "tagged" another squadrons aircraft with command insignias (zappers) while it was parked at your hangar.

You were hung from the crane or zip-tied to a troop seat when you first checked in. (Horse play and hazing lead to unnecessary injuries and no longer can be tolerated--Ed.)

While on watch, you've had to do a lift with the crane because no one else knew how to operate the darn thing.


Don Howd. A few observations from a freshly (2003) retired AZ1(AW). I saw some of these in HC-2, VAW-120, and USS Harry S. Truman.


Everything you eat is in sandwich form.

You have eaten dinner from a paper plate, but you are not really sure it's yours. Same with soda cans.

If you think JP-, 8802 and moly B are interchangeable with mustard, mayo and ketchup.

You get very suspicious if your sandwich does not have greasy fingerprints on it.

The only vegetables you can identify with is french fries and potato chips.

You envy the AIMD guys who work only 12 hours a day.

You envy the AIMD avionics guys who are wearing foul weather coats in the middle of the desert.

You continually fill the ship CO's box with "suggestions" to turn off the bosun's pipe so night check can get some sleep.

You can quote per diem and exchange rates from memory.

You laugh like hell when a VIP sits in a puddle of hydraulic fluid you "forgot" to wipe up.

You ever started a conversation with a pilot with "Godd*** it, Sir."

Your re-enlistment "benny book" is still full when you transfer.

You were late to your re-enlistment because you were the only CDI available.

You make jewelry from safety wire while waiting for the bird to come back.

You think underwear is merely a suggestion.

You wonder what exactly is a "HOLIDAY ROUTINE"?

You have re-attached the sole of your boot with 8802 because there's no money for a new pair.

You establish the det "MWR Fund" two weeks before you leave.

You threaten the AK with bodily harm if he doesn't ship the mysterious cruise box marked "MWR Fund".


AA Sean Fitzhugh and the maintainers at VAQ-129


You've ever sent a MAF to another shop just to have them send it back to you.

You believe a hammer is a necessary tool no matter what the job.

You judge how well you've done a job by how many tools you broke to complete it.

You use a screwdriver for a punch or a chisel.

You've ever seen "Your aircraft" as a static display.

You can change a jet tire faster than you can change a car tire.

You wonder why NASCAR pit crews need pneumatic guns to change tires that fast.

You've ever boasted about how many tools you've broken in one night.

You've ever drug your feet so you can avoid hangar-bay cleanup.

You have a list of answers for people who ask you "what you're doing."

You've ever watched an air show and were pissed off because you knew you were going to have to fix that aircraft the next day.

You've ever taken off from a flight deck, but not landed on one (or vise versa).

You know what a "hell hole" is.

You can tell where a tool landed by the last sound you heard.

You know exactly how many of your model jets are left in service.

You've ever seen anyone taped to a chair in a hangar bay. Not a desirable or authorized action. Hazing is a no-no and it can hurt shipmates. We want to reduce mishaps...not add to them.--Ed.

You refer to ship's company as "boat chucks."

You've ever been the subject of a safety stand-down.

You have to check your pockets every time you leave your shop.

You can quote passages in maintenance publication faster than a religious person can quote scripture.

You've ever joked about getting a calibration seal tattooed on your elbow.

You've tried to decline a position because you like working too much.

Your shop is an escape from family.

You look down on other shops because you don't think they work as hard as yours. Of course, they think the same of your shop.

You're careful of what you say around a jet in fear that you might offend it.

You can reminisce about clubs in the countries you've visited but regret not having seen more sights.

You rate countries on how attractive the locals are..

You have more spare parts in your desk drawer than supply has given to your shop.

You take your own spare parts on det or deployment.

You know at least two names for every part of an aircraft.


AD3 Chris Roop (VA-9, USS Midway)


You ever launched from the "HOT SPOT" then you know that "#181 You think that underwear is merely a suggestion" isn't true because of metal zippers........ouch!!!

Top-Ten Things AV "A" School Doesn't Teach AVCM(AW/SW) Brian Clark, Naval Safety Center (I know...it doesn't fit this page perfectly, but it's humorous)



The flight deck isn't as bad as they made it seem - it's worse.

One good AZ beats 10 lousy AE's.

There are at least 10 types of capacitors.

Theory tells you how a circuit works, not why it does not work.

Not everything works according to the specs in the pub.

Anything practical you learn will be obsolete before you use it, except the complex math, which you never will use.

Always try to fix the hardware with software.

Overtime pay? What overtime pay?

Pilots and 120s, not maintainers, make the rules.

If you like junk food, caffeine and all-nighters, go O-level.


Additional You might be a maintainer if.....



You wiped down leak before aircrew sees it

If it's leaking that means it's fully serviced.

Don't mess with it, if ain't nothing wrong with it.

The more maintenance you do, the more you break it

If ain't in the book, ain't gonna happen

You get the book and sit on it.

It's good, forget it, fly it.

During maintenance meeting, it's easy to write in the passdown log "DAY-OFF".

You talk to your aircraft "C'mon Baby, you and me again".

You whisper your aircraft during launch "Come back good...you hear"

What crack? Patch it with ordnance tape good enough.

Righty tighty, lefty loosy.


Enjoy the "fond" memories guys. :crazy:

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Great Post....


I maintain an Aircraft called N247B.


It's a King Air 100 that we have dubbed 24/7 Biotch


All of the above apply....lol




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BTDT too!


I'll throw another in that we use sometimes for quick turns...


"It flew in alright!"


That's when we do a quick look-over, check the oils and fluids, tires, O2 and kick it out the door. :yes:

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From a Aviation OrdnanceMan yep a Red-Shirt..


you Know the world is held together with ordnance tape(specifically the green one)

you hate bologna sanwiches

you trully despise brown bags....

you fix a pilots gripe about loose nut in cockpit by 'nut walked off flight line'....

you dont have a single knucle that aint got at least 2 scars on it

you have fallen asleep standing up,head pressed onto a bomb rack....

you know what a hangar queen is....

you Know that a mk-84 is really not a 2k bomb...

you have taken a electronic black box,dropped it a few inches and you Know it will work now...


this specifically about Airdales...:

you know its not a bow, but the pointy end of the boat

at one time you tought a foc'sle was a fancy popsickle..

you know the difference between god and the maintenance Chief...the Chief is a tad shorter.. :tomato:

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Oh my god! Except for the obvious Navy references , yes I done every one of those. 14 years as a ramp ape in the USAF O2A, OV-10, F-111E, A-10A, Crew Chief. This brought back a lot of great memories . Although at the time I was bitchin a blue streak. :tongue:

Thanks man great stuff!!

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