True Aircraft Write-ups

While serving in Desert Shield/Storm/Stuck (272 days, 23 HRS,24 minutes but I wasn’t counting),   Ken Rankin and I were sitting around one day talking about the stupid and smart ass things we’d seen in the aircraft forms. While stationed at Kunsan AB, South Korea I worked Aero Repair (Heavy Maintenance) on F-4D’s.  I  had two winners:

Problem: Control stick hard to move.

Solution: Suggest pilot visit gym three times a week.



Problem: Nose wheel steering does not engage in flight.

I tracked down a Captain, drunk at the Officers Club to get to the bottom of that one.  There’s a paddle on the F-4 control stick that turns off the Nose Wheel Steering. The pilot told this Captain (the WSO) to write it up. He made his best guess.  Turns out the AUTO PILOT does not engage in flight. Different problem, different shop. The paddle does two things. One on the ground and one in the air.


Anyway… We wrote down the list and I posted it on the Internets in 1998.  Back when I was new at this.  Since then  “The List” has been ascribed to every branch of the U.S. Military, The Delta Maintenance folks in Dallas, American Airlines, NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Quantas.  I’m sure there are others.

Thanks Ken, after all these years, you still have a wicked imagination.
Thanks Ken, after all these years, you still have a wicked imagination.


Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews. “Squawks” are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews. The solution listed was the way it was signed off.


Problem:”Banging heard behind cockpit.
Sounds like a little man with a hammer.”

Solution:”Took hammer away from little man.”

Problem: “Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.”

Solution: “Almost replaced left inside main tire.”

Problem: “Test flight OK, except autoland very rough.”

Solution: “Autoland not installed on this aircraft.”

Problem #1: “#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid.”

Solution #1: “#2 Propeller seepage normal.”

Problem #2: “#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage.”

Problem: “The autopilot doesn’t.”

Solution: “IT DOES NOW.”

Problem: “Something loose in cockpit.”

Solution: “Tightened something in cockpit.”

Problem: “Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear.”

Solution: “Evidence removed.”

Problem: “DME volume unbelievably loud.”

Solution: “Volume set to more believable level.”

Problem: “Dead bugs on windshield.”
Solution: “Live bugs on order.”

Problem: “Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent.”

Solution: “Cannot reproduce problem on ground.”

Problem: “IFF inoperative in OFF mode.”

Solution: “System ops checked good. IFF inoperative in OFF mode.”

Problem: “Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.”

Solution: “That’s what they’re there for.”

Problem: “Number three engine missing.”

Solution: “Engine found on right wing after brief search.”

Problem: Control stick hard to move.

Solution: Suggest pilot visit gym three times a week.

Problem: IFF failed, 30 minutes into flight.

Solution: IFF removed from aircraft 21 MAR 89 (two weeks ago). Still awaiting parts to fix it.

Problem: Gunnery target failed to stow. Jettisoned target prior to landing.

Solution: Gunnery target destroyed on impact. No further troubleshooting required.

Problem:Nose wheel steering does not engage in flight.

Solution: Could not duplicate discrepancy.

Problem:”Bombs missed target.”

Solution:”Aim better.”



2 thoughts on “True Aircraft Write-ups

  1. Yep, we had been joking with each other about these and more for years. We finally put them down and shared them on the internet, passing the link around to friends. Remember that back then, there were no search engines really, you just had a web page and shared the location and so on. The one about the IFF not working in OFF mode, was mine and I tracked the pilot down on that one in Germany. I forget who the pilot was, but I asked him about it and he insisted that it was not functional in the “Official Mode” and it needed to be fixed. I said I was not familiar with that modification and asked how he engaged it. He slowly stated that you simply turn the switch to the position marked OFF, for OFFICIAL. I stared at him and said, “Now repeat that back to me again slowly, so we can be perfectly clear.” He got to the part where he said OFF and stopped. I could see the light come on behind his eyes and he then said, “There isn’t any Official Mode, is there…” I just smiled and shook my head slowly. He bought me a beer.

    I also got in trouble for the one that was “External fuel tanks require hanging” which I signed off “External tanks well hung.”

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