Pilots most likely have, second to doctors, the worst handwriting skills. Maybe it has to do with the exposure to avgas or jet B fumes, but it would seem that the art has been lost on us under a spell from someone who failed flight school many moons ago. The use of computers, for all their qualities, has also eroded further our opportunities to practise.
Now here you are, after checking the weather on-line, after calculating your weight and balance on the flight ops’ PC, after e-filing you flight plan, you go flying, and upon your return, you have to report an unserviceable flap control handle, a burned-out landing gear indicator light, some noise from the back and a fluctuating whatchamacallitgauge. The maintenance supervisor listens to you with a face so bland he looks like an artifact from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and after you finish your blurb, he hands you this greasy pen and says "write them up."
You start sweating because not only must you do this archaic thing called writing, but you must also generate some adequate prose to explain the problems. Here are some actual examples of snag write-ups, followed by the corrective actions by the maintenance personnel.
Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem: "No. 2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution: "No. 2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem: "Nos. 1, 3, and 4 propellers lack normal seepage."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn't."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."
Problem: "No. 3 engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."
Problem: "Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent."
Solution: "Cannot reproduce problem on ground."
Problem: "IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."
Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick."
Solution: "That's what they're there for."
These light-hearted examples prove a point. Try to ensure your snag write-ups are always clear and readable so that the aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) understand exactly what the problem is. Our AMEs probably deserve a medal just for deciphering the words we write and trying to understand what we mean. Of course, it’s always better if you carry your own pen.