Aircraft Maintenance Technology

NOV-DEC 2018

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4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY FROM THE FAA FOLLOW PROCEDURES TRAINING LAUNCHED: NOW YOUR WORK BEGINS By Dr. Bill Johnson DR. WILLIAM B. JOHNSON is the FAA Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Human Factors in Aircraft Maintenance Systems. His comments are based on nearly 50 years of combined experience as a pilot/mechanic, an airline engineering and MRO consultant, a professor, and an FAA scientific executive. FAA just posted the “The Buck Stops Here” web-based training on the human factors website. A website training system, alone, will hardly impact the No. 1 challenge in aviation maintenance: the design and adherence to technical procedures. The new training merely offers a vehicle to increase attention to procedural compliance. Now, you have another tool to address procedural noncompliance. Dr. Bill offers a few implementation ideas for your consideration. Background For the past few years, the FAA Maintenance Human Factors research team, mostly at the FAA Oklahoma City Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, has been revisiting the challenges associated procedural compliance in aircraft maintenance. It is not a new topic. It is a continuing challenge that affects every aspect of aviation. The issues/questions seem straightforward. Why is it so difficult to follow procedures? Why does procedural noncompliance remain as a significant contributing factor in most negative events in aviation maintenance? What actions can alleviate the challenge? In the January/February 2018 issue of Aircraft Maintenance Technology Johnson described some of the empirical work that was the basis for the new web-based Follow Procedures training. The team conducted about 175 90-minute interviews with AMTs, supervisors, and those who wrote maintenance procedures. The interview topics were based on an extensive review of NTSB procedure-related accident reports and on hundreds of voluntary submissions from the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System. The interviewers asked mechanics to tell stories about negative events where procedures were not followed. A combination of the accident documents, the voluntary reports, and interview stories help define the training. The important finding was that procedural noncompliance was not from a lack of knowledge but from an industry culture of completing perceived safe and quality work as quickly as possible. Thus, the research team surmised that the best way to address the procedural noncompliance was to address the culture. The rest of this article talks about the training and what individuals and organizations can do to address the challenge. The Follow Procedures Training Described The 45-minute web-based training program, with all files, can be downloaded from the training section of The web-based training module also runs from the FAAST website (, free registration required). We recommend the FAAST site since it includes a post-training exam and it issues a completion certificate. Early users have already given the training good reviews. The training is a multimedia mix with animations and short quizzes along the way. There is audio for FIGURE 1. Attributes of Champion

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