Aircraft Maintenance Technology

APR 2014

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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technical publications departments for maintenance and operations. "There was no interfacing between the depart- ments." The gap had to be closed. He says a key query in FA A Safety Assurance Inspections is whether manuals and systems interfaced, whether communi- cation-killing departmental silos have been toppled. "Most people," asserts Martinez, "don't have that ability." Since implementing SMS, Miami Air has combined maintenance and opera- tions pubs under one roof. This renders it easier to get the word out to all that need to know. Take an A D dealing with installa- tion of a cockpit warning light to signal pressurization problems. The "parent" manual is the QR H, the pilot's Quick Reference Handbook. But Martinez says there are half a dozen other manuals where the installation needs to be noted. "It has to interface," he reiterates. "W hen you're making a change you need to con- sider what other departments might be affected." Coordinate across operating departments This country's largest domestic airline has a full-blown SMS program up and running, one that places a premium on "coordinating across the operat- ing departments," says Tim Logan, Southwest Airlines senior director of safety risk management . Over the past five years he's seen significant changes in that coordina- tion. It's "immensely different," he says. Echoing Martinez, Logan says, "[Once] we might get an [internal] organization that would change something and not realize that it would affect two or three other organizations – until right before we implement[ed]." Now, the manual changes are right up front. "We try to do that as early in the process as we can." As with Miami Air, that means publi- cations consolidate and cross-check to ensure "we don't have one manual saying one thing and another manual another." Operating groups get together and review manual changes to make sure an "'Oh, wait a minute. You can't do that'" moment doesn't arise, and throw a monkey wrench into someone else's operation. Both Martinez and Logan say a good, adaptable content management system (CMS) is the critical element here, that and a bonafide corporate safety culture. But Logan doesn't want you to mis- take communication for commonalty at all costs. He accedes each department has its own well-established means of meeting its regulatory and compliance responsibilities. "There's a big difference between what the maintenance depart- ment does with a Continuing Analysis and Surveillance System (CASS) reliabil- ity type program and what f light opera- tions does with [the] Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)." Don't toss out what works There's a fundamental fear folks have when putting together an effective, compliant SMS: they don't want to toss out what works for their shop. Logan says, "You don't want to remove things that are effective. My concern is that I've seen carriers tr y to change what the company is doing to match SMS." He asserts instead that what's needed is "to adapt what we're doing, without changing it too much, [and] build an SMS process around it." Not changing things too much is much on the mind of A AR's Hutchinson. By regulation, an MRO must follow a cus- tomer airline's maintenance program. As a maintenance provider to multiple carriers, A AR is concerned as to whether it will "have multiple SMS imposed" on it, or if it can establish its own program that satisfy requirements. "We're hoping the regulation will provide some relief," Hutchinson says. The potential is present for an awful lot of confusion. The potential is also there for profit. Grey Owl's Richard Komarniski relates the case of a Canadian engine shop that implemented SMS. The president of the company did more than pay lip service to the process. He committed himself to the culture of safety, roaming the shop f loor, asking employees 'How can we do this better? How can we reduce warranty claims? W hat can we do to reduce test cell turnbacks?' He listened, rolled up his sleeves, and helped employees fill out reports. Then took those reports to the company's safety committee. The result? Kormarniski says the executive believes implementing a safety management system was "the best thing I've ever done … I'm saving money in shops I never though I'd save money in. I've got engaged employees." He called SMS payoff, "amazing." Simply amazing. AMT_12-15_AirlineMiami.indd 15 4/3/14 2:02 PM

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