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Cathay Pacific, one of the most respected airlines in the world, experienced an aircraft painting faux pas. Planespotters at Hong Kong International Airport spotted the following error on one of Cathay Pacific’s 777-300 aircraft.
After being the topic of conversation in the aviation community, Cathay Pacific released the following statement on Twitter:
Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!
(Source: HKADB) pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 19, 2018
Being an aircraft mechanic for half of my life, I find this to be unacceptable. It started with the paint crew. Who taped off the stencils? Why didn’t anyone proofread before painting?
If the paint guys made an honest mistake, it still should have been caught by quality control. There is not any maintenance that happens on an aircraft without someone double or triple checking the work.
Ok. Ok. Ok. Maybe I’m being to hard on the maintainers by expecting them to do their jobs (sarcasm), but surely the pilots would have caught this on the preflight walkaround. At least one of the pilots should have seen this error.
Finally, the ground crew (wing walker and tug driver) should have seen this during the pushback. Their jobs are to keep the aircraft from hitting other objects and to give it a final look for abnormalities. They did not do one of these.
If this were to happen in my career field, some people would have a lot of explaining to do, at a minimum. That would surely be followed by extra hours on the job and paperwork. What if it were a critical component that was installed incorrectly? This situation would have ended very differently. Since that did not happen, I will continue to cringe as the company makes light of it on Twitter.