[Themaintainers] Innovation Masking as Maintenance with Fatal Results

Lee Vinsel lee.vinsel at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 18:46:17 EST 2019

Thanks, Mike.

This is an interesting example. From my days studying US energy policy long
ago, I have hazy recollections that go something like this: if US power
plants made major upgrades, they had to comply with tougher air pollution
regulations, but if they only made minor upgrades and did "maintenance,"
they didn't. So plant managers would change just enough to stay under that
bar, but after so many years they'd still have a significantly new plant.

It raises the question of when change is counted as such and when it is
counted as "maintenance" and why. And the broader issue is the relationship
between regulation and maintenance/innovation, which is a topic that
fascinates me endlessly.

Thanks again for sending this to the list.


On Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 6:38 PM Roy, Michael D. <mdroy at middlebury.edu> wrote:

> In the NYTimes was a story of how innovation can be masked as
> maintenance in order to save money. In this case, the results were
> tragic. In "Behind the Lion Air Crash, a Trail of Decisions Kept
> Pilots in the Dark"
> (
> https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/03/world/asia/lion-air-plane-crash-pilots.html
> ) the reporters James Glanz, Julie Creswell, Thomas Kaplan and Zach
> Wichter detail how Boeing launched a new airplane with major changes
> to critical systems but convinced the FAA that this was just a minor
> 'upgrade' that would not require expensive re-training of pilots. It
> is a well-reported story, with tons of geekery about the systems
> involved in keeping our airplanes afloat. Well worth reading to
> understand the interplay of commerce and regulation and national
> competitiveness. .
> Mike
> Mike Roy
> Dean of the Library
> Middlebury College
> _______________________________________________
> Themaintainers mailing list
> Themaintainers at lists.stevens.edu
> https://lists.stevens.edu/mailman/listinfo/themaintainers

Assistant Professor
Department of Science, Technology, and Society
Virginia Tech
Twitter: @STS_News
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