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When you dream, are there just clear blue skies? Or is there a rumble of lurking danger, the screams of terrified passengers playing in your head as the one mistake you made just killed 187 innocent people? Can you ever get away from those voices in your sleep? Nobody wants that kind of stress—it can haunt you forever. Every time you're tempted to shortcut a repair or sign off on a procedure you know you haven't completed, remember that your one careless act can destroy countless lives in a moment.

That stress is the worst kind an aircraft mechanic can experience, and hopefully it got your attention. However, aircraft maintenance work is inherently stressful on its own. For starters, every oil change, tire replacement, and mechanical repair must be performed correctly. There is no room for error. And now let's add a shot of time-critical stress: an emergency repair on a cargo plane with a schedule. If this aircraft doesn't fly out on time, neither does its cargo bay full of overnight packages.

Okay, you've handled your everyday and time-critical stress with no sweat. However, you've got a different kind of stress barreling toward you right now. You quickly repaired the cargo plane and rolled it out to the taxiway. So why is your maintenance shop owner sprinting toward you, carrying the aircraft's official maintenance logbook? He has just discovered that your shop never completed the cargo plane's last required oil change. He wants you to certify (actually, that's falsify) that you performed that oil change on the required date. It will cover his sorry butt in case of an accident investigation or other official inquiry.

Don't do it! First of all, do you really want to live with such a lie on your conscience? Do you want to risk a conviction—and prison time—for this illegal act? Didn't think so. Don't be so shocked, though, as these unethical requests pervade all segments of the aircraft maintenance industry. Avoid involvement with any of these schemes; keep your conscience clear and your reputation intact. If in doubt, ask that cricket who keeps following you around everywhere you go, trying to keep you out of trouble. He seems to know what's what.