Monday, March 7, 2016

'The Cost Of The Cost Of The Cost'

The Navy ages ago bought an airplane called the A-3 that looked like a black-eyed pea with wings and was supposed to chunk atomic bombs on the Russians! (You've heard the Navy's recipe for Chicken Kiev? Heat the city to four million degrees and throw in a chicken.) The A-3 had a design life of twenty years!! Crashing daily on a carrier ages a plane!!! (The Navy calls it "landing." I've seen it done, and I say it's crashing.)

Anyway, the A-3, like most airplanes, had a number of nonstandard parts! One was an odd bolt for the nose gear!! The Navy bought enough bolts for twenty years!!

Then Congress decided to extend the service life of the A-3 by several years… The Navy, now about out of bolts, needed a few more!!!

There are two ways to get a few bolts… One is to go to a bulk-bolt shop and order 10,000! They'll cost a buck each, for a total bill of $10,000… You'll use 10 and toss the rest overboard!! The other way is to get a machine shop to make ten bolts by hand!! This is expensive… as those ten bolts might cost $170.00 in bulk...


That's how the game is played! I could give many examples of no interest today, including the $600 toilet seat!!

Is it technically lying? Maybe not…

But does it really happen? Yep…

Does it happen all the time?

You bet it does! And people assume they're being lied to!!!


  1. I doubt very much that you can buy a certified aviation type AIMD quality assurance ok'd bolt for any landing gear for a buck each....

  2. And I lost a shipmate down in "the hole" when they used the "hardware store" style bolt instead of the proper bolt and the flange burst on a 600 lb steam line.

  3. I for one don't have a problem with $170 dollar bolts. In 1990 on the USS IwoJima 10 sailors died in the boiler room pulling out of Bahrain. Failure of cheap "Wrong missmarked" bolts on a main steam valve failed causing 850deg superheated stsam to kill the ten on duty at the time...