Re: A Day in Technical Documentation History

Subject: Re: A Day in Technical Documentation History
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: "Rick Lippincott" <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com>, "Bee Hanson" <beelia -at- pacbell -dot- net>, "Ken Poshedly" <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:07:46 -0400

Story in the Tulsa World from 12 years ago covers the suicide of Earl Russell Marshall.

My wife, a quality engineer, once worked for a company that manufactured aircraft engine parts. She quit after she discovered that they needed her for her signature, not for her scientific expertise. She was being kept in the dark about out-of-spec material that was being shipped. Her ultimate responsibility in that job was to serve the prison time if the company's product caused a crash.

Most documentation failures are mild by comparison: I once asked, "How will the customer do X?" The answer? "The customer will not want to do X." Customers objected that the docs didn't tell them anything about how to do X.

On Thu, 26 May 2016 08:29:45 -0400, Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net> wrote:

I know this was a long time ago, but here goes . . .

I believe I recall seeing a photo either that day or shortly afterwards on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite of the plane right after take-off. The photo was taken by a someone in the airport concourse and showed the plane on its side only a couple hundred feet up after the engine fell from the plane.
I also kind-of recall reading a newspaper story sometimes afterwards (weeks or months) that the maintenance chief in Kansas (?) where the engine removal and installation had taken place had taken his own life because he felt responsible for the rushed-and-shoddy job his crew had done.
Memories can sometimes fail, but I was age 29 at the time (with clear mind back then) and this is what I recall.
-- Ken in Atlanta

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 6:24 AM, Rick Lippincott <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

Bee Hanson said:
My team's 40,000+ pages of documentation were in the cockpit...

Good placement. Sounds a bit more convenient than on the C-5, where
(when they were still paper) only manuals directly related to flight
were in the cockpit. The rest of the ones they carried were on a pair
of deck-mounted racks immediately aft of the second bunkroom, forward
of the first galley.

(And for those of you not familiar with the C-5, I am not making this up.)

Last time I was up in that area was a couple of years ago, the racks
are still there but empty. It's all digital now.

--Rick Lippincott

On 5/26/16, Bee Hanson <beelia -at- pacbell -dot- net> wrote:
I worked for MDC in the late 80s, not for the DC-10, but for the C-17, which
is still flying.
My team's 40,000+ pages of documentation were in the cockpit, which by now
they have certainly digitized. But it's such a huge cargo plane that extra
weight would hardly have mattered.
I don't believe any of those planes ever crashed (after first flight), but I
can't take credit for it. The whole program was run by the DoD - a military
project that was apparently successful.
Who woulda thunk it.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2016 7:41 PM, William Sherman
<bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com> wrote:

Unfortunately, history is often created by incredibly sad or horrible
events. Today in 1979, that pretty much describes it. American Airlines
Flight 191 crashed after take off at O'Hare International Airport in
Chicago. A total of 273 people lost their lives as a result, the deadliest
aviation accident in the US.

A coworker was only a couple of miles from the airport on that day and saw
the smoke all rise up when it happened.He says he will never forget it.

How this ties to technical documentation is that it saved the company that
built that plane, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Initially blamed as a poor
design and as such, all liability would come on McDonnell Douglas, it was
found that MDC had fully documented the correct method of removing and
installing the wing engines and that American Airlines and others were using
an unauthorized shortcut. As such, MDC was not held responsible.

Hopefully, your documentation will never be tested under such horrible
conditions, but please make sure it will stand up to such scrutiny.
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Flare-only shop?: From: Nancy Allison
A Day in Technical Documentation History: From: William Sherman
Re: A Day in Technical Documentation History: From: Bee Hanson
Re: A Day in Technical Documentation History: From: Rick Lippincott
Re: A Day in Technical Documentation History: From: Ken Poshedly

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