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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Holy Airplane Wing!


I don't travel all that much, but when I do, I trust that agencies like the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are doing their jobs and keeping me safe from terrorists and faulty airplanes. Sometimes that involves crossing my fingers just a little, though.

Like last night, as I waited on a plane on the ground for three hours at Minneapois/St. Paul International Airport, in a driving snowstorm, staring out at the wing of an airplane with a hole about four inches across in it. The hole had been covered up by what I swear appeared to be duct tape until moments earlier, when the tape had been ripped off during the de-icing process. We taxied back to the gate and, to my amazement, a couple of mechanics came out, applied more tape (which actually seemed to involve some kind of heat-activated adhesive) and pronounced the plane ready to fly -- which it then did, all the way to Washington.

As nervous as I was watching this whole process unfold, I'm assuming, until the FAA tells me different, that this was a fully approved repair technique. And I feel just a little better about my own duct-tape-based home repair efforts.


Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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