Being a structures mechanic, most of my career has been improvising to get things to work. Many times being creative and using a tool or part in a way it was not made to be used is necessary to get the aircraft back in the air. One time, a large commercial cargo jet came to the air base where I was stationed. The flying mechanic came to talk with me because he needed a large hi-lok to make an adjustment on one of the engine parts. He was basically looking for a very small socket wrench. I did not have a hi-lok that would have worked for him, but I did have a nut plate that had a hole close the the hex pin he needed to turn. I took the nut plate and put an Allen key in it that was the right size and hammered it around to make the hole smaller.
I gave the misshapen nut plate to the mechanic and he was able to make the adjustment he needed to get the plane on its way. Thinking outside the box saved the day in that instance and many others since.
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