Quality Assurance in EASA Part 145 – Further Considerations

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Quality Assurance within the context of EASA Part 145 regulations plays a critical role in ensuring the safety, reliability, and airworthiness of aircraft maintenance operations. These regulations mandate a comprehensive framework for Aircraft Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) to adhere to, encompassing a wide range of quality management principles and practices designed to uphold the highest standards of aircraft maintenance and safety.

The Foundation of QA in EASA Part 145

>> Accountable Manager's Responsibility: At the core of the EASA Part 145 quality system, the Accountable Manager holds ultimate responsibility for the entire Quality System, signifying the importance of leadership and accountability in maintaining quality standards.

>> Role of Quality Manager and Post Holders: The Quality Manager, along with the Post Holders, plays a crucial role in overseeing the implementation and maintenance of quality standards. They are tasked with reporting directly to the Accountable Manager, ensuring a streamlined flow of information and accountability throughout the organization.

>> Comprehensiveness of the Quality System: The term 'Quality System' within EASA Part 145 is broad, encapsulating Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and Quality Improvement (QI). This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of quality management are addressed, from preventive measures and oversight (QA) to operational checks (QC) and continuous improvement (QI).

Key Principles of QA in EASA Part 145

>> Independence of the Quality Assurance System: Critical to the integrity of the QA system is its independence.

o The regulations mandate independent audits to monitor compliance with aircraft and component standards, ensuring that maintenance practices yield airworthy and safe aircraft without any undue influence from operational pressures.

>> Responsibilities of Business Area Owners: The regulations also outline the responsibility of business area owners, or Post Holders, for ensuring their teams comply with both regulatory and organizational requirements.

o This emphasizes the decentralized nature of quality control, wherein each area within the organization must take proactive steps to adhere to established standards.

  Operationalizing Quality Control

>> Quality Control as Everyone's Responsibility: In EASA Part 145, Quality Control is not just the domain of a specific department but is a responsibility shared by everyone within the organization.

o This democratization of quality control ensures that maintaining standards is a collective effort, integrated into the daily activities of all personnel.

>> The Role of QC Departments: While QC is a shared responsibility, the establishment of a separate Quality Control Department within an organization can offer benefits, provided it is optimized within the organizational structure.

o However, such departments should report directly to the business area manager they support, reflecting the principle that QC activities are an integral part of managing each business area effectively.

Challenges and Considerations

>> QA's Role and Independence: Quality Assurance should focus on identifying deficiencies and supporting corrective actions rather than directing operational activities. This preserves the authority of business area managers and ensures QA's role as an independent oversight function.

>> Impact of Misfocused QC: Quality Control efforts need to be appropriately focused to support, not undermine, the authority of business area managers. A well-functioning QC department empowers managers by providing them with the tools and data needed to manage their areas effectively.

Conclusions

>> The framework set by EASA Part 145 for Quality Assurance and Control is designed to ensure the highest levels of safety and reliability in aircraft maintenance operations.

>> By emphasizing the roles of the Accountable Manager, Quality Manager, and Post Holders, and advocating for a comprehensive and independent quality system, EASA Part 145 aims to cultivate a culture of quality that permeates every level of an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation.

>> This structured approach not only ensures compliance with regulatory standards but also facilitates continuous improvement and operational excellence in the ever-evolving aviation industry.

The Evolution of QA in Light of Regulation 2021/1963

Regulation 2021/1963 introduces enhanced requirements for the implementation of Safety Management Systems within EASA Part 145 approved organisations.

>> This marks a pivotal shift towards a more systemic approach to safety, requiring organisations to integrate SMS into their existing quality management frameworks comprehensively.

>> Central to Regulation 2021/1963 is the requirement for AMOs to incorporate a Safety Management System into their operational framework.

o This system aims to systematically address safety risks and ensure the continuous improvement of the safety performance of the organisation.

>> Compliance Oversight: With the introduction of SMS requirements, there is an additional layer of compliance oversight necessary within the QA framework. This oversight is crucial for ensuring that the SMS is not only implemented but also effectively managed and integrated with existing quality assurance and control processes.

Next Steps

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