Blog posts tagged in Aviation

Sofema Online looks at best practice Meeting Facilitation


Well facilitated meetings are far more productive than meetings that carry on in a relatively uncontrolled manner.

It is should be clear that people will more motivated and engage more willingly in group dialogue when they can see a clear connection to what’s in it for them.

Understand that the role of a facilitator is not to be an expert rather to create an environment where people can freely engage with the meeting objectives.

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Process Review by Sofema Online (


When investigating problems we should all aim to understand the difference between addressing the symptoms of a problem versus understanding the contributing factors and finally understanding the Root Causes of a given situation or problem.

If we can look deeper and to address on the way all Root Causes as well as Contributing Factors, then we can consider how to fix the underlying disconnects in the system and processes so that that the problem hopefully goes away and does not re-occur.

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Sofema Online considers the role of Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) in Aviation System Root Cause Analysis.


Human and System errors can have quite significant negative outcomes. Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) looks at each process step to identify risks and possible errors from many different sources.

The sources most often considered are:

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Steve Bentley CEO of Sofema Group ( considers the common errors that people make when considering Aviation Errors

Lack of Detail of Appreciation Related to the initial assessment of the Event, Issue or Problem

Spending time to analyze the initial problem so that we understand “What” has happened as well as “How” it happened. It is important to perform this analysis before moving onto Root Cause Analysis.

This will not only determine the nature of the problem but will also identify exactly where the problem exists within the system, to understand when it exists. So, it is important to recognize that a well defined Problem Statement drives the entire Root Cause Analysis effort.

Tagged in: Aviation RCA Root Cause
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Posted by on in Regulatory

SofemaOnline considers the role of Six Sigma in Aircraft OPS & Maintenance

General Terms

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a comprehensive set of management practices and tools with the primary focus on meeting or exceeding customer requirements. The emphasis is on process measurement and controls that seek to involve all employees in process improvement.

ISO 9000

ISO 9000 is a set of standards intended to organize for producing high-quality goods.

Each company that is certified as ISO 9000 is required to ensure they remain compliant with a set of quality standards.

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SofemaOnline ( considers criteria related to EASA Part 147 Examiner Competencies

Basic Training - Knowledge Examiners

Specialty Knowledge - Knowledge examiners should meet the same criteria as the theoretical instructor of the concerned modules (i.e. examiner for module 11 meets the criteria of instructor module 11)

Pedagogical Skills - completion of a “Train the examiner course” and

Assessment performed and documented by the Training Organisation’s Examination’s Manager (if himself appropriately qualified as knowledge examiner and in accordance with an MTOE procedure).

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SofemaOnline ( looks at the challenges which an auditor faces when searching for non-conformities.


Compliance Auditing is typically charged with meeting the challenge of ensuring that the organisation always remains fully compliant with both internal and external obligations.

Aviation is a complex environment and the challenge of staying fully aligned with the EASA regulations at all levels requires a proactive approach to maintaining a full understanding of all the applicable regulatory obligations.

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As the technical complexity of aircraft have developed over the last 100 years the nature of interaction with people associated with the maintenance of aircraft began to matter more & more and in fact today human factors is relevant in just about every aspect and element of the maintenance system. 

The use of the term "human factors" in the context of aviation maintenance engineering is relatively new. In fact EASA only started mandating Compulsory HF training from 2005.

Several Landmark aircraft accidents, for example Aloha aircraft in the USA in 1988 and British Airways BAC 1-11 windscreen accident in the UK in June 1990 showed that there was an unacceptable level of exposure to the potential of Maintenance Human Factors MHF.

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Presentation Introduction – The Aviation Quality & Safety Management Symposium - Holiday Inn Sofia Bulgaria – Tues May 14th & Wed May 15th 2019

If you are engaged in Aviation Quality & Safety Management this is your one "must attend" event of the year.

Presentation by Adam Sider

Adam has held multiple key positions such as, OCC manager, Director – Quality Assurance and Director – Flight Operations Center

In addition he played a significant role in establishing and setting up flight dispatch and OCCs for international and local airlines operating over 1600 flights a month, in addition to providing full mentorship programs.

With this extended experience, I have achieved expert working knowledge within flight dispatch, safety & quality, DGR and training.

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Presentation Introduction – The Aviation Quality & Safety Management Symposium - Holiday Inn Sofia Bulgaria – Tues May 14th & Wed May 15th 2019 

Florin Necula is Accountable Manager of RAS Tech an EASA 145 based at Otopeni Airport Bucharest will be presenting on the subject of dealing with the challenges related to Developing an Aviation Safety Culture  

If you are engaged in Aviation Quality & Safety Management this is your one "must attend" event of the year.

Here is your opportunity to engage with a professional who has decades of experience and is able to rise to the challenge of any Airport Security issue and to share an understanding regarding best practice solutions.

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Presentation Introduction – Aviation Quality & Safety Management t Symposium - Holiday Inn Sofia Bulgaria – Tues May 14th & Wed May 15th 2019

If you are engaged in Aviation Quality & Safety Management this is your one "must attend" event of the year. 


Within the European Environment the Role of Quality Assurance and Quality Control is quite specific and for QA the keywords are “Compliance” and “Independence” for QC the keywords are Maintaining “Production Quality to a Standard”.

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Sofema Aviation Services considers the steps necessary to deliver an effective Organisational Aviation Safety Management System (SMS)

For Any Organizational Project to be successful it must have ownership, an agreed timeline and sufficient resources to accomplish.

The Importance of Manpower Commitment

Note 1 – How does the organisation ensure there is sufficient manpower – what is the mechanism to assess – who is responsible and how does the Accountable Manager know he has this correct.

Note 2 – How does the AM ensure sufficient financial commitment to the delivery of a successful SMS – how is this represented and measured?

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The Top 13 Techniques, Attitudes and Behaviours which may be adopted by effective Trainers – Presented by Sofema Aviation Services

1. How to Attract Attention

Being Able to Engage with the students and maintaining interest and attention is very important, this requires familiarity with adult learning behaviours.

2. Keeping Attention

Engaging with a range of techniques which focuses on maintaining the interest of the delegate is important – how to achieve?

3. Avoid Unrelated Theory

Keeping attention means also keeping interest and staying on message is a positive way to ensure this.

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How to deliver Performance Audits?

One example concerns a process or concept which is known as Total Quality Management (TQM), if TQM is effectively embedded within the organisation it can play a significant role and serve as a driving force to improve performance.

As with all effective business processes it requires ownership and a timeline to deliver.

If the organisation system process is to be improved, then that system must be understood in terms of all key elements:

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It is considered that errors and violations together form the unreliable part of our human performance. Moreover, that 70-90 percent of current aviation incidents & accidents are due to in some part to “human factors”.

Errors and violations contribute to accidents both directly and by making the consequences of other problems more serious. An accident typically involves several contributing factors, some usually being quite visible and others possibly latent in nature.

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Why people break rules, particularly if the outcome can be negative and even dangerous? What is it that makes a worker break the rules or commit a violation?

A great deal of research has been undertaken during the last 25 years with the focus looking at the view of errors in different way.

Rather than Human error being considered the ultimate cause of system failure, it is important to understand the context in which the error was committed. (For example, was it deliberate or related to Pressure, Fatigue, Stress or any of the other “Dirty Dozen”?)

Violations – Personal or Organizationally Optimizing?

To reduce exposure to violations and errors, a broad range of organisational interventions may be required.

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Considering the role of a Fuel Tank Entry Team

An essential requirement to minimize exposure to the risk of injury during fuel-tank work is a properly trained and equipped team.

Personnel with authorization to enter the fuel tank and perform work must be able to recognize potential hazards and initiate evacuation if there are any concern issues.

The following elements are critical to safe working conditions:

a) Communication
b) Respiratory protection
c) Ventilation and air monitoring
d) Electrically powered tooling & equipment
e) Airplane damage considerations

Tagged in: Aviation Entry Fuel Tank
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Preparation for Entry Into the Fuel Tank

It is most important to ensure that all persons who are engaged in the process of Fuel Tank Entry are fully trained on all aspects of the following information to ensure that all precautions are taken and all risks minimised.

Steps which must be taken include the following:

a) Ensure the aircraft is electrically grounded

b) Ensure that Fire Extinguishers are available (typically CO2 would be used for a Fuel Fire

c) Deactivate all Electrical Systems on the Aircraft and suitable placard

d) Defuel the aircraft using the Aircraft Maintenance Manual Procedures

e) Deliver a safe atmosphere for maintenance personnel by ensuring the following:

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Posted by on in Regulatory

Comments by Steve Bentley MD Sofema Aviation Services


As a precursor to the introduction of Regulation 376/2014 EASA identified shortcomings related to Aviation Occurrence Reporting and proposed in 2010 a new regulation which in compliance with ICAO objectives moved the focus from a ‘reactive’ system to a pro-active, risk and evidence based system.  It also acknowledges that safety occurrence data is vital to allow for the timely identification and management of potential safety hazards and acts upon this before these hazards turn into an actual accident. 

EASA introduced EU Regulation 376/2014, (repealing EU directive 2003/42/EC), which came into force on 15th Nov 2015. The regulation provides additional safeguards to address the lack of protection of the reporters, the lack of harmonisation in the occurrence data collection and integration (leading to low quality reports and incomplete information), as well as insufficient requirements regarding safety analysis and the resulting recommendations.

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Effective safety reporting of hazards by operational personnel is an important cornerstone of the management of safety. Therefore, an operational environment in which operational personnel have been trained and are constantly encouraged to report hazards is the prerequisite for effective safety reporting.

The ICAO requirements require that aviation service providers develop and maintain, within the scope of their SMS, a formal process for collecting, recording, acting on and generating feedback about hazards in operations. The process shall be based on a combination of reactive, proactive and predictive methods of safety data collection. 

Best Practice Considerations

Consider the following as best practice objectives regarding the delivery of an optimize and effective Safety Management System.

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