When we, the general public, take our seats on an airline, we are demonstrating faith. We have faith that the pilot and co-pilot are well-trained, well-experienced, and well-rested. We believe they are qualified and competent to have our lives in their hands.
We have faith in the safety crews, the ground crews, and the Department of Homeland Security crews that all is safe and secure on that plane.
When it comes to the aircraft itself-that sleek machine with countless millions of working parts-we have faith that all of those parts are thoroughly inspected and immaculately maintained, from nylon coating for metal to engine oil for the plane’s engine.
We know how much dedication, and what an investment of time and money it takes to maintain a vehicle: oil changes, tire rotations, transmission fluid replacement, and other everyday maintenance work.
Without that routine maintenance, our cars and our trucks quickly develop issues-first minor ones, and then major ones. Parts failures and breakdowns begin occurring. When we are stranded by the side of the highway, waiting for a tow truck, while time slips away from us second-by-second, we remember how important regular trips to the garage are.
The machines we count on in mass travel and industry require routine maintenance too, only in their cases, thousands of lives are impacted. So many lives are touched, for good or for ill, whether or not the big machines that run our economy are properly cared for, or sorely neglected.
When we turn the key in our car’s ignition, we expect that motor to start. We expect that car to roll. We expect it will get us to our destination safely, as well.
We expect that in planes. We expect the big machines our society counts on to run flawlessly.