AAB Maintenance Office - Christiansted, St. Croix
The maintenance record keeping office was originally in St. Thomas but moved to St. Croix in 1977. Keeping track of all records of each aircraft, engines, propellers and related parts and their inspections was quite the task... especially before computers. Systems were put in place with available tools of its day. A Kardex recordkeeping system was used to monitor the more than 1,000 parts and inspection required by the Federal Aviation Regulations. AAB's FAA operations specifications would indicate the time each component could be utilized before it was removed and replaced and sent for overhaul and returned for reuse. Most components were tracked by hours. Each day the flight logs for each aircraft made their way to the maintenance office were the flight hours were recorded in various logs, cards and the BIG board to ensure timely inspections.
The BIG board shows each aircraft registration and its total time in service and its current inspection due date. From top to bottom, the first clip holds current deferred maintenance forms. Deferred maintenance are those non- airworthy discrepancies noted by flight crews requiring corrective action. The clipboards are the daily flight logs, preflight inspection forms that are kept during the month before permanently filed. The lower clipboard holds the propeller log books and serviceable authorization card (yellow tag).
The records office configuration changed from time to time. Certainly when the Gooses were fazed out of service, and being replaced with more G-73 Mallards. New procedures were always being introduced to meet new requirements.
I remember after Resorts International took over ownership, we saw some new technology appear. Resorts International also owned Chalks Airways in Miami and we needed to communicate regularly between our operations. The the early FAX machine was introduced to us by Mobil Oil. The unit was kept in the maintenance office. You would need to be communicating by a separate land line (rotary phone) to the Chalk's fax operator. You would wrap your document around a cylinder, insert into unit. A land-line handset would be placed appropriately. The document would start spinning rapidly while a scanner would slowly move along the cylinder, transferring image to the corresponding machine. The poor image was on thermal paper which was problematic in itself. We all marveled at this new contraption.