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Manaager's Perspective; Aviation Maintenance

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Aviation Maintenance from A Manger’s Perspective

Lisa A. Williams
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Management 203 Christopher Urdzik
April 26, 2015

This paper explores aviation maintenance from a Manager’s perspective. There are various governing bodies that control or oversee how maintenance is performed on a routine basis for commercial aircraft. The main governing body that is discussed here is the FAA. Also discussed is the required training of the Airframe and Powerplant mechanic and how management can be assured that mechanics are qualified to release aircraft after performing maintenance certifying these aircraft are safe to fly. Also, in this paper, the attempt is made to show where mechanics need ongoing training to assure management that the mechanic is trained on new technologies that are developed and used in commercial and corporate aviation. The answers are not mapped out by the FAA or training programs so it is up to the company to be sure that the mechanic is made aware of these new technologies through FAA study groups that managers can attend and brief technicians on new developments.

Human error cannot be eradicated it is indispensable fact of the human behavior (Maddox, 1998).
Although, aviation maintenance managers have acquired high levels of technological skills training related to their profession, the above statement from Dr. Michael Maddox is true in regards to human error. Research in the industrial sectors specifies that up to 80% of accidents can be associated with a collapse of human communication.
Maintenance professionals at all times try to circumvent flawed decisions. But even the most well trained and inspired professionals will commit errors, nevertheless, with appropriate comprehension of the human factor and apt training, professionals can lessen these errors. The human factor part of aviation maintenance can be categorized as follows:

1. Proper training for technicians and inspectors;

2. Safety of maintenance workers on the job;

3. public safety including human error prevention; and

4. Cost of maintenance errors.

Mistakes in aviation industry can claim hundreds of lives. Airplanes have become technologically advanced and sophisticated in the last five decades and therefore maintenance technicians must constantly update their skill and knowledge due to the constant new technologies that are being integrated in the aircrafts (Maddox, 1998).

The science of human error is an inevitable and inseparable part of the aviation industry. World War II brought tremendous advancements in this aviation sector when studies and research was being done in order to achieve air dominance and avoid human error as much as possible (Reason and Maddox, 1998).

Due to dozens of airplane tragedies associated with human error aircraft mechanics need certification by the FAA and must have a high school diploma. Nearly all mechanics are trained in an FAA-certified Aviation Maintenance Technical school. There are some technicians that are trained by experienced mechanics while working with other technicians but their work is constantly monitored by FAA certified mechanics until these individuals have their own certification. The technician needs current work experience in order keep his/her certification valid. The prerequisite for being an aviation technician is at least 1000 hours of training experience in the last 2 years, if not then the applicant has to take a refresher course (Hawkins, 1987).

As Wi-Fi networks increasingly become standard on modern aircraft, aviation maintenance personnel are finding their workloads becoming increasingly more complex. Nowhere is this more of an issue than in the business aviation world, where aviation technicians responsible for troubleshooting and clearing the airworthiness of aircraft have a much different "need to know" than their General Aviation (GA) and air transport counterparts, according to National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Maintenance Committee Chairman Jim Sparks. (Avionics Today 10-17-2014)
The aviation technician should be able to keep up with evolving technology through continuing education requirements for the Airframe and Powerplant technician as outlined by the FAA. While this requirement is non-existent today, it is the hope of corporate aviation to utilize FAA study groups to keep the A&P abreast of new technology until an official program is instituted.

Maddox (1998) Human Factors Guide for Aviation Maintenance
Reason and Maddox (1998) Human Factors Guide for Aviation Maintenance
Frank H. Hawkins (1987) Human Factors in Flight
Avionics Today (10-17-2014)

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