Don't Fence Me In

A long time ago, people would go to work and all they needed to show was their smile to be let into a building. Times certainly have changed. Companies introduced name tags, and then name tags with pictures. Today, those name tags include much more than just information about the bearer's identity. They have chips or magnetic stripes that can limit your movement within a building or plant, and can be used either with, or in conjunction with, keypad entry systems that, depending on your level of security and job type, may or may not open.

Aviation has always been a leader in security for many good reasons. Many aircraft companies also have a military arm, all of them have future version prototypes they want kept under wraps. In addition, aircraft companies have an interest in keeping their customers happy and, because of this, design, colours and even paint scheme are kept as confidential as they possibly can be while the aircraft is under construction. This doesn't, however, preclude others from snapping pictures of the aircraft when it's out of the hangar for a test run, and uploading them to one of the popular planespotting sites, no matter how QT you want the secret kept. And being the first to take a picture and identify a never seen before aircraft gives these aircraft and photography buffs exposure - and bragging rights!

Security, however, is getting in the way of getting the job done. I was recently at an OEM where it was difficult to have access to the aircraft they were de-snagging. There was a CAM assigned to the aircraft and, because of that, to me, but that CAM was a football field away from the cubicle I was assigned, in the hangar where my principal's aircraft was being worked on. 

In addition, I wasn't allowed to bring any electronics onto the floor, so no phone or camera. For the duration of the job, all the principal had were my words to describe the scratches, gaps, bunch-ups and miss-sews that I saw and insisted get sent back for rework. All in all, it was cumbersome and impaired my ability to communicate with the owner and for the owner to understand the problems I saw.

I'm all for security, but sometimes security goes too far, as it did in this case where I felt I'd been fenced in. My recommendation? Use facilities that work together with the owner's rep to ensure a quality product upon delivery, giving them all the access and freedom they need to get the job done.

Without it, the delivery process breaks.

I leave you with a YouTube video uploaded by Bumblebee, a.k.a. Maddie, a girl who like to sing and draw and film - who's version of the cowboy ballad "Don't Fence Me In" is amazing. Hope you like it.