Other than drunken pilots, excessive baggage charges, lengthy delays, terrible customer service, and pathetic, expensive food, why wouldn’t you choose to travel by air? Well, how about airplane mechanics who don’t understand enough English to follow basic repair instructions?
Back in 2003 a US Airways Express flight crashed after take-off, killing 21 people. The NTSB found that mechanics hadn’t connected some cables correctly. Because the mechanics couldn’t read the labels on the cables. That was six years ago. Yet a Texas ABC affiliate has discovered that there are still “hundreds of mechanics working in aircraft repair shops … who do not speak English and are unable to read repair manuals for today’s sophisticated aircraft.”
Certified mechanics (who earn $25+ an hour) are required to oversee the untrained mechanics (who earn <$10 an hour) and record the work they have done. But as one certified mechanic told Dallas's News 8, "They can't read the manuals, they can't write, and I have so many [non-native English speakers] working for me I can't be sure of the work they've done." With airlines pressuring workers to get planes back in the air asap, the supervisors aren't always able to double check the work their non-English-speaking minions have completed. Which means you might be on the plane that wasn't double checked. Airline mechanics who can’t read English [WFAA] (Thanks to Karen!)