There’s a wind of change blowing through the air transport industry. To the outsider it may appear that only the regulatory structures have been altered. But it goes much further – right to the heart of making sure that planes are safe to fly.
Maintenance is critical and there are reams of regulations that have to be followed to ensure the right maintenance is done in the right way at the right time. In 2003 the EU set up the European Aviation Safety Agency to promote the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection. Oversight within the
Research is about to start at
The Hampton Review was published by the government during the budget of 2005. It was designed to promote ‘more efficient regulatory inspection and enforcement, without compromising regulatory standards or outcomes’.
So everyone, from the engineer who has an EASA Part 66 licence to work in aircraft maintenance, to the companies with an EASA Part 145 licence for maintenance, repairs and overhauls (MRO) and the airlines with the Air Operators Certificates will probably be affected by the findings of the Hampton Review sooner or later.
‘I have found much that is good, and some excellent, innovative practice. However, the system as a whole is uncoordinated and good practice is not uniform,’ said Philip Hampton about regulation in general across the
Dr Place has responded to this clarion call on behalf of the aviation sector by starting the Cranfield project to see what part risk assessment can play in regulating aircraft maintenance. ‘There has been some early work, from the Idaho National Laboratory in the
‘Such models offer the opportunity of estimating the risk of the various maintenance processes, so that control measures may be applied,’ said Place. He draws a parallel with other analyses used by industry to assess how well they are doing. ‘We talk about KPIs (key performance indicators) for business. Are there safety KPIs that can talk about the health and safety of an organisation’s maintenance process on a particular aircraft fleet?’
There has been a lot of work done into maintenance human factors in the
‘We want to develop new knowledge,’ he said, ‘There’s a change in the regulatory environment and risk assessment could lead to streamlined and better regulation of aircraft maintenance.’
The Hampton Review recommended that comprehensive risk assessment should be the foundation of all regulators’ enforcement programmes. ‘There should be no inspection without a reason, and data requirements for less risky businesses should be lower than for riskier businesses,’ it said. Considering the scale, value and complexity of the aviation sector, if the Cranfield research leads to better regulation, safety and economic viability should get an enormous boost.