• Rationale

    The aviation industry continues to require a human interface in the production and maintenance of aircraft, helicopters, engines and the associated components. Mandatory Occurrence Reporting and industry engagement demonstrates the ongoing challenges faced by modern day aviation engineering, specifically maintenance personnel, endeavouring to conduct their duties to the highest standards in order to maintain the levels of safety within the industry.  

    Industry technology advances, expectations of cheaper travel, industry forecast growth and maintaining a workforce both capable, and with the capacity to support the industry are just a few of the challenges faced by all sectors of the aviation industry.  Reducing maintenance errors and the impact these have on the performance of aircraft and helicopters is a fundamental factor to improving industry safety performance.

    CAA publication CAP 1145 recommended the action of engaging industry on improving maintenance standards.  

    Action A31 from CAP 1145: ‘The CAA will form an Offshore Maintenance Standards Improvement Team with the offshore helicopter operators with the objective of reviewing the findings at Annex F to the CAA Strategic Review of the Safety of Offshore Helicopter Operations and making proposals to achieve a step change in maintenance standards’ has now been adopted as the reference to all industry working groups.  

    The CAA identified that whilst there would be synergies across all sectors, the challenges faced within certain specialities may differ and require specific focus to achieve improvements.

    Outcomes

    • Enhanced maintenance performance to reduce the frequency of maintenance induced errors.
    • Improved industry engagement in areas of maintenance supervision, planning, engineer responsibilities, competence, training, the adoption of procedures.
    • Improved organisational safety culture.

    Actions

    Collaborative industry/regulatory groups have been established to deliver the following: 

    • Offshore Helicopters: to develop objectives that will improve engineering training and competence.
    • Onshore Helicopters: to mature objectives for engineering responsibilities, planning and longer term sustainability of engineers, ensuring sector diversity is covered.
    • Fixed Wing (Corporate): to establish groups which will develop activities for Continued Airworthiness Management Organisations (CAMO) planning, engineer competence, tool control, access to maintenance data and time pressures.
    • Production: 2 sub-groups (primary and medium/small enterprises) to take on the additional agenda item of A31, with a focus on engineering capacity and training.
    • Large Fixed Wing Part 145 maintenance organisations will meet for the first time in October and it has also been agreed that a further group involving the Part 147 training organisations will be established. The strategy for the Part 147 will be established at the next Maintenance Standards Improvements Team and Technical Malfunction and Reliability governance meeting.