The EXA Way Supplement

Eliminating the Passive Voice

Page 312


Passive Voice

Read the passive voice passage below.  Do not read the active voice passage, which follows, until after you convert this passive voice narrative into your own active voice description.  For each passive voice without actor occurrence, try to identify who the actor is.  

When an aircraft is delivered to the facility, it is inspected for service readiness. Once the inspection is signed off, then custody of the aircraft is transferred, and the aircraft is towed into the hangar for induction.

During initial induction, a thorough nose-to-tail inspection of the aircraft is conducted to assess the servicing and maintenance needs of the aircraft. After this two-day inspection, a detailed report is issued, reviewed, and approved.

One of the reasons for a thorough induction inspection so early is to determine if long-lead items need to be ordered. These items will be ordered as soon as possible, and in some cases, they will be sourced from existing stock, to ensure they are available in time for when their embodiment onto the aircraft is scheduled. When the embodiment of long lead parts is considered to be urgent or critical, and no replacement parts are available in time, robbing of the parts from other compatible aircraft may be authorized.

The maintenance and service operations will be planned in accordance with the priorities and sequences of tasks that need to be taken place. If the tasks cannot be completed within the high-level schedule, the schedule or list of tasks will be modified, or a waiver will be issued to allow some tasks to not be completed. In either case, it is possible that identified work will not be performed during the current maintenance period and deferred to future checks, services, overhauls, or modifications.

Once the high-level schedule is approved, a master task plan is developed and all the individual maintenance and service operations are defined in their correct sequences. All embodied materiel and consumables are defined in the master task plan and the dates of their readiness are ensured. Similarly, all the equipment, tool, and kit readiness dates are confirmed.  Finally, all the personnel schedules are confirmed. If there are any resource conflicts between this aircraft and any other activities, they will be resolved fairly and reasonably in accordance with their respective priorities. This leads to approval of the schedule.  

Once maintenance work begins, the master task plan and there source schedules will be updated, and deviations between planned and actual timelines will be noted and managed. Each task, as it is completed, will be inspected and signed off to ensure conformance with applicable maintenance procedures. Monitoring of the entire process are possible through both on-site visits and through access to the real-time maintenance, repair, and overhaul status information system (MROSIM), which can be securely accessed locally or remotely. 

Upon completion of the master task plan, final checks ensure all work has been performed to required specifications. Both ground and flight testing may be scheduled to further verify all work conforms to all standard sand regulations. Any non-conformances are noted in the MROSIM. Depending upon their nature and severity, the resolution of non-conformances are either scheduled as part of the current maintenance period, they are deferred to a later maintenance period, or they receive a waiver, which accepts the non-conformances without further repair required.

Once all repair and service tasks have been accepted and tested, the final maintenance documentation is approved and custody of the aircraft is returned, and the repair period is completed.  

Active Voice

Compare your active voice narrative, from above, with the actual description, below. Count how many times you misidentified the correct actor in the active voice without actor occurrences.  This exercise will give you a sense of the perils of using the passive voice.  

When the client delivers an aircraft to our facility, we and the client together inspect the aircraft to verify the aircraft is ready for servicing. Once we both sign off on the readiness inspection, the customer transfers custody of the aircraft to us and we tow the aircraft into our hangar for induction.

During the initial induction, we conduct a thorough nose-to-tail inspection to assess the aircraft’s servicing and maintenance needs. We issue a detailed report at the conclusion of this two-day inspection, which we review with the customer. The customer approves the inspection report after asking for any necessary clarifications from us.  

We perform such a thorough inspection to identify long-lead items. We order these items as quickly as possible. When available, we draw the item from our own inventory that we maintain specifically for long-lead items. In such circumstances, we still order the long-lead item to replace the unit we withdrew from inventory. If we have no available inventory, and if we cannot secure a replacement item from our supply chain in time, then we will discuss the possibility of robbing the part from the client’s other aircraft in our hangar. We would proceed with this robbing process only with our client’s authorization.

The Project Manager, with support from the Maintenance Manager and the Materiel Manager, plans the priority and sequence of tasks that we must undertake to address all the items identified in the inspection report. This plan leads to a high-level schedule that the Project Manager will review with the client. If the schedule shows tasks falling outside of the contractual requirements, the Project Manager will discuss options with the client, including:

·      We modify the schedule to accommodate all the tasks;

·      We modify the list of tasks to accommodate the schedule;

·      The client issues a waiver against specific tasks, relieving us of the requirement to complete those tasks; or

·      Some combination of the above options.

While the client has final authority and approval over any deviation to the schedule or tasks, and to any waivers, we provide firm input into what tasks are possible within the defined timeframe. In any outcome, it is possible that the client’s approved approach will result in us deferring some tasks to future checks, services, overhauls, or modifications.

Once the client approves the high-level schedule, the Project Manager will develop a master task plan. This plan identifies scheduling of the following resources:

·      All materiel and consumables we will embody onto the aircraft, as confirmed by the Materiel Manager;

·      All equipment, tools, and kits, as confirmed by the Maintenance Manager; and

·      All personnel, as confirmed by the Project Manager. 

If we discover scheduling conflicts in the above listed resources with other programs, the Project Manager will work with project managers from our other affected clients to resolve these conflicts in a fair and reasonable manner that lets us best meet our contractual obligations to all our clients. This scheduling conflict reconciliation may affect our firm input into what tasks are possible within the defined timeframe, as noted above. Both the client and we will approve and commit to the final negotiated schedule before maintenance begins.

With a mutually approved schedule, we begin maintenance on the aircraft. As work proceeds, the Project Manager will map actual progress against the master task plan, and the Project Manager will note deviations to the planned schedule. As we complete each task, the Maintenance Manager will appoint a qualified official to inspect the work, and both the inspector and the Maintenance Manager will sign the task off, indicating we have completed the task in conformance with applicable maintenance procedures.

The client may review the maintenance activities and progress through on-site visits that the client arranges (in advance) with the Maintenance Manager. Additionally, the client may review the maintenance progress and status at any time, either locally or remotely, through secure access to our maintenance, repair, and overhaul status information system (MROSIM).

When we complete all tasks in the master task plan, the Maintenance Manager will ensure we perform all final checks to verify we have performed the work in accordance with required specifications. The Maintenance Manager will schedule both ground testing and flight testing, as required, to further verify the outcome of the tasks. The Maintenance Manager will document all non-conformances in the MROSIM. The Maintenance Manager will review all test result non-conformances with the client, and together they will discuss each non-conformance to determine if:

·      We must remediate the non-conformance as part of the current maintenance period;

·      We can remediate the non-conformance during a future maintenance period;

·      The client will issue a waiver relieving us of the obligation of remediating the non-conformance.

The client has final authority on the decision for each non-conformance.  

Once we complete all repairs and tasks, we will present the final maintenance documentation to the client for approval. Upon the client’s approval, we will return the custody of the aircraft to the client, which is the final act in the repair period.

***Disclaimer: The information presented in this supplement is for information purposes only. It is not intended, and may not be used, as legal or business advice. The author makes no representations of warranty, accuracy, or fit for purpose of the information herein. Use at your own risk.