Aviation Maintenance Management Theory and Practices Term Paper

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Aviation Maintenance Management Theory & Practices

Aeronautics is considered to be the most secured and fastest mode of journey. But the frequent air accidents and resulting consequences reduce our reliance on the mode. Human flaws are acknowledged to be very critical in diverse fields like medicine, mining, shipping so also aviation. Irrespective of the fact that the role human component is widely acknowledged in the cockpit, its contribution in sphere of aircraft maintenance has been ignored to a great extent. (Special Investigation Reports: Aircraft Maintenance Safety Survey) The first ever air accident as a consequence of manufacturing and designing error was associated with lcarus while many held the mistakes committed by pilot as responsible for the same. The faulty maintenance and irregular maintenance is considered to be a major cause of most of the air disasters presently. The accident of Aloha Airlines in Hawaii during 1988 occurred as a result of isolation of fuselage of the plane at the floor line while flying. (Aircraft maintenance management)

Traditionally, the analysis of the actions and inactions of operational staff in retrospect is resorted to in order to evaluate the influence of human performance with regard to safety. While analyzing in such lines it is customary to refer to normally established standards and prevailing conventions about the facts constituting safe and unsafe acts so as to find out the acts and behaviors that would have been successfully avoided the occurrence of the incident. However, the conclusions so drawn are normally based on limited facts with regard to the processes that results in insufficient conclusions. Moreover, when assessing the incidents the investigators could know that the activities portrayed by the operational staff were bad or inappropriate since the negative outcomes are in record. The traditional safety paradigm prescribes that safety is the first in aviation. Consequently, human activities and decision making activities in aviation functions are regarded as cent percent safety oriented. However, this does not hold good. More realistically, human behaviors and decision making in relation to the operational fields are considered to be a balance between the production influenced activities and decisions and safety oriented behaviors and decisions. The optimization of the behavior to attain the production requisites may not be fully compatible with the optimum behaviors to attain the theoretical safety requirements. (Human error in aviation maintenance: the years to come)

As per the survey conducted about the Boeings about 12% of major aircraft accidents are attributed to the poor maintenance and about 50% of delays in flight timings in the U.S. are due maintenance snags. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau - ATSB in 1998 circulated a safety survey to all licensed aircraft maintenance engineers in Australia that is considered to be the first ever survey conducted in the World. The survey collected incident reports as well as reports on minor errors and shortcuts applying the technique pioneered by road safety researchers in the UK. The survey concentrated on collection of common occurrence of such events in relation to one another in addition to the event frequency information. Most of the errors have been reported to be 'near misses'. However, accumulation of such information gathers to have grave consequences. The findings of ATSB are not specific to Australia alone but can be equally applicable to the safety agencies all over the world. (Special Investigation Reports: Aircraft Maintenance Safety Survey)

The Bureau previously published the findings of the survey in Asia Pacific Air Safety articles with a number of recommendation such as, the necessity for refresher training for aircraft maintenance engineers, the necessity to remove obstacles that dissuade aircraft maintenance engineers from reporting incidents; the necessity for fatigue management programs; training of human resources for management and engineers; rationalize the effect of simultaneous disturbance of multiple of parallel systems, like both engines or twin engine aircraft. Later in 2000 the ATSB supplemented and published in Flight Safety Australia and advised the aircraft maintenance engineers in respect of the memory lapses, pressure, and fatigue and coordination problems. (Special Investigation Reports: Aircraft Maintenance Safety Survey)

In consequence with the fast growing technical attributes of physical assets, dramatic evolution have been seen in the field of the maintenance management over the last three decades. The necessity for a new type of asset management was first felt by the commercial aviation industry in 1970, when the traditional maintenance techniques were acknowledged to be neither cost effective nor safe. The foundation for modern practices was laid with their inter-disciplinary collaborative activities. The major aircraft manufactures like the FAA and major U.S. airlines, during 1970 united to generate a sequence of reports, recommendations and revisions in relation to maintenance activities in respect of complex systems of modern physical assets. The Federal Government commissioned their findings under the heading of Reliability Centered Maintenance and became the source of the modern Reliance Centered Management practice. Ever since the origin of Reliability Centered Maintenance innovative ideas, enhanced flexibility, and new maintenance techniques are regularly been incorporated and the modern maintenance management systems have been evolved with further refinement. (The History of Modern Maintenance Management Systems)

The Reliability Centered Maintenance-based maintenance management systems are in application presently in varied industries through out the world. Reliance Centered Management is felt to be incredible customized having its strength lying in the center of Reliance Centered Management ideology. The Reliance Centered Management practitioners seem to deploy maintenance management systems that target the specific needs and consequences of any potential failure state of affairs. However, Reliance Centered Management is not viewed as a mere improvement of the traditional maintenance strategies. It is considered almost a complete turnaround of them and actually reveals the magnitude that the function of assets has varied in the business environment. Before the analysis made during 1970s there prevailed a maintenance model for the failure of tools and equipments thereby enabling the asset managers to treat all the assets equally. Ever since the origin of Reliance Centered Management and modern maintenance management systems, the amount of accepted outline for conditional potential of failure increasing to six normally which turned around the basic ideology behind the old failure pattern model. (The History of Modern Maintenance Management Systems)

Traditionally, the task of aircraft maintenance and inspections were primarily regulated by the manufacturer of the aircraft or aeronautical products. This strategy was adequately serving the industry for quite a long a time. However, the users who are desirous of doing the things differently find this strategy to be more restrictive. The traditional system envisaged the lumping together of everyone with out any regard to operation experience, environment and geographical location. This evidently resulted in enhanced operational costs for those companies not prone to such maintenance problems or alternatively to those who were not in a position to accept proactive maintenance techniques. Many controlling agencies around the globe, taking into consideration such problems and being confronted with the challenges exerted by aviation maintenance industries sought for other inspection strategies or methods as a basis for approving inspection programs. In Canada, this gave rise to a basic distortion in the late 1970s, so as to provide the individual operators adequate scope to design their own programs. Presently, all the operators of commercial aircraft in Canada is required to furnish a maintenance schedule in respect of each of the aircraft type in their fleet, for authentication by the regulatory authorities. (Maintenance Schedules - A Key to Success)

This is considered as a regulatory requirement of the Aircraft Requirements, CAR 605. In this respect the proposals are to be submitted in consonance with the guidelines and principles framed in the Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance Standards, STD 625, Appendix D. These are mainly based on the prescriptions of the manufacturers or on the processes prescribed by Maintenance Review Board. These are subjected to the principles framed under STD 625, Appendix B, in case of small aircraft. The maintenance schedule commonly termed as Inspection Program Approval is considered as a prime regulatory tool by which the Transport Canada allows an air operator to regulate its own inspection program under certain conditions. The procedure is proven to be quite effective and approval to the individual programs is accorded taking into consideration proven performance data normally referring to the MRB Report or the Maintenance Planning Document - MPD for the product and are also inclusive of the own applicable operational experience of the company.

The Transport Canada communicates the key aspects of its approval. Even though the approved maintenance schedule does not in itself incorporate the detailed maintenance or inspection task elements yet acts as a facilitating document. Thus the basic principles of the program approval of the operator remain the same while the detailed job-associated components are regulated separately by the respective manuals or work cards. It has been stipulated that the modifications affecting the principal areas of the maintenance schedule is to be duly approved by the Transport Canada irrespective the choice of the programs. The operator is at its liberty within this structure to rework or amend the task-related details…[continue]

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