DANCES WITH WORDS: Everyone’s been an hour, a day or a year late

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Nick Wolochatiuk

If your pizza doesn’t arrive on time, it’s free.

However, if the new generation airliner you ordered doesn’t roll off the production line and take to the air with the promised punctuality and performance, heads roll and penalties are paid. For example, the enormous Airbus A380’s 40,000 connectors serving its over 500 km of almost 100,000 wires didn’t quite match up. Result: the first of many delivery delays.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was also late getting to the starting line. First, blame was dumped in the laps of foreign subcontractors. Then came persistent problems with its overheating lithium-ion batteries.

Bombardier’s long overdue CSeries twin-jet is yet another of this century’s tardy airliners. There have been numerous delay-causing changes in its design. At present, only the prototype is flying.

We have to go back to the Twentieth Century to get one of the worst aviation tardy tales. In 1963 the Royal Canadian Navy took delivery of its first Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopter. Twenty years later, the search for a replacement started. A contract was eventually signed, but later cancelled. Then a new Sikorsky model was ordered. It is now over-budget, under-performing and un-delivered.  Happy over-40 birthday RCN Sea King!

The word ‘LATE’ is also applies to the Coast Guard’s long-promised new Arctic ice breaker procurement. Perhaps Global Warming will make the whole program unnecessary. The navy’s resupply ship replacement program is also adrift, acting as if it were rudderless, out of steam, about to run aground.

Anyone living in Eastern Ontario is familiar with the saga of the Cornwall Seaway high-level bridge. International political manoeuvering and bluffing brought it into existence in 1957. Its current condition is a cross between a corduroy road and the Aberdeen Tank Proving Grounds. Still coming is the completion of the bridge’s long-overdue low-level replacement. Accompanying the bridge nonsense is the current double relocation of the related ‘interim’ Canada Customs facility.     

I’m sure some embarrassing change-to-Daylight Saving Time stories exist. “Sorry sir, but that bus left an hour ago.” “Dinner’s cold! Where were you?” “The sun has already set. Come tomorrow, but earlier.” “It says here your dinner reservation was for 7:00 PM.” “Yes, you’re on time, but the roast won’t be ready for another hour, because the oven timer is still on EST.”

Time is always of the essence.

Organizations: Boeing, Bombardier, Royal Canadian Navy Coast Guard Aberdeen Tank Proving Grounds

Geographic location: Arctic, Eastern Ontario

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