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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By Sarah MacLeod SARAH MACLEOD is executive director of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), an orga- nization she helped found more than 25 years ago. For more information visit A R S A O U T L O O K 28 April 2014 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY W hat does SMS stand for in the mind of an individual technician? How does an individ- ual technician manage safety? If safety is a minimum require- ment, what more is there to manage? These rhetorical questions are bar- riers to improving methods, practic- es, and safety. W hen SMS is used to bludgeon a technician or add to that person's burden, the system becomes a joke and something to avoid rather than a method for evaluating risk and mak- ing improvements. W hen an individual technician feels superf luous to improv ing practices dictated by the government and/or passed dow n by m a n agement , safet y doesn't improve; it suffers. If safety is a given to an av iation technician, managing separate aspects of the sys- tem becomes problematic. Increase design knowledge A technician's safet y management system is constantly increasing knowl- edge of aviation design expectations so each step in a maintenance process can be evaluated appropriately. The study titled "Strateg ies to Reduce Aviation Employees' Procedural Non- Compliance" explores the reasons for intentional noncompliance with pro- cedures. The study's data validated Wi lde's R isk Homeostasis T heor y "… that employees are not mak ing informed assessments regarding the actual level of risks." In other words, if you don't know the safety impact, you are more likely to purposely sk ip or reorganize steps or change methods. A technician's work must return the arti- cle to at least its original condition; it is essential to understand the basic design rules before messing around with main- tenance requirements. Gain experience Experience may be knowledge, but you can have one year of experience repeat- ed 30 times or you can have 30 years of experience. No maintenance manual will contain ever y thing you need to accomplish ever y task. Manuals may be written by persons who have never performed the particular actions or by persons too experienced with the tasks. No manual is going to anticipate all the problems or failure conditions of an article. The aviation maintenance technician, however, must gain experi- ence on the conditions created by dif- fering operations of an aircraft, engine, propeller, or component. Make sure those experiences add to knowledge and enhance aviation safety. Gather/analyze data Gather engineering and operational data; obtain fellow maintenance pro- v ider thoughts; add those tidbits to your k nowledge of the certification basis. Validate that data by testing the potential solution and writing an objec- tive report on the results. After validat- ing the solution, it may take an engineer to approve the data. The approval will be based upon a showing of compliance with the design requirements — that is, did the action return the article to the condition contemplated (required) by the airworthiness standard? Experience is now knowledge and can be used to enhance mainte- nance procedures, develop training for fel low tech- nicians, and increase the level of safety for you, your employer or customer, and the entire industry. Managing safety is impor- tant and an aviation mainte- nance technician is the most important link in the safety chain. No one can f ly without your work and approval for return to service. If you are a mechanic with inspection authorization, what you do or do not do could cause physical and/or finan- cial harm — managing those risks are essential to your livelihood, your life, and to safety. A Technician's SMS A technician's safety management system is constantly increasing knowledge of aviation design expectations so each step in a maintenance process can be evaluated appropriately T h e av i at i o n m a i n te n a n c e te c h n i c i a n m u s t g a i n ex p e r i e n c e o n t h e c o n d i t i o n s c r e ate d by d i f fe r i n g o p e r at i o n s o f a n a i r c r af t , e n g i n e , p r o p e l l e r, o r c o m p o n e n t . M a ke s u r e t h o s e ex p e r i e n c e s a d d to k n ow l e d g e a n d e n h a n c e av i at i o n s afe t y. AMT_28_ARSAcol_SMS.indd 28 4/3/14 2:12 PM

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