Blog posts tagged in Aviation


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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One of the biggest barriers to an effective Safety Management System (SMS) depends on the willingness of the employees to engage with the organisational system and for the managers to support such a program in a positive and tolerant way.

Without the willingness to engage with the Safety Management System (SMS) the level of data capture will lead to the creation of barriers.

Full engagement by the Management Team is an essential first step on the journey and without doubt. If we are going to maintain a healthy safety management systems (SMS) we require an open process of hazard reporting which allows us to understand the exposure and to reduce the operational risk.

How we are impact the various organisational barriers is in turn impacted by cultural and other behaviours which are often routed in mistrust.

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There are a number of ways we can assess the integrity of a Vendor/Supplier with the objective of improving the supplier performance.

Understanding the purpose of Receipt Discrepancy Processes and Component Reliability Assessment including warranty issues.

Why would we carry out a Vendor Survey?

Essentially it is a process which sits alongside the Supplier Evaluation Procedures and enables an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the supply chain arrangement with a given vendor.

What do we want to know concerning our vendors?

We want to know how effective is the product which is received from a particular supplier, and we measure this in a number of ways:

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Changing the Audit Focus to a Performance Based System where the audits are driven by needs related to both System Performance and Management Objectives rather than by simple schedule.

For maximum benefit the internal management systems audits should connect with an overarching objective to evaluate "risk".

IS031000, defines risk as: "An undesirable situation or circumstance that has both a likelihood of occurring and a potentially negative consequence" or the "effect of uncertainty on objectives".

It is increasingly understood that the explicit and structured management of risk brings benefits.

It is common for internal audit programs to be developed on an annual calendar that predicts which aspects of the Quality Management System are going to be audited.

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SofemaOnline –  considers the role of Dynamic Communication

Communication is actually a very dynamic process going far beyond the words we say. Whilst Communication essentially encompasses both language and speech it includes also the ability to share our thoughts and experiences in a meaningful way using other ways and means, for example body language.

Another way to look at Communication is to accept that it is a broadband process which is essentially made up of many single band processes. Consider that the actual speech used as well as each different type of non-verbal aspect can be considered as single elements that together make up the broadband process of communication.

We are able even without realizing that it is taking place to process multiple modes of communication is an automatic, part of our problem is that we do not even need to hear all of what is being said before we have begun to formulate our response!

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Posted by on in Regulatory

What people say about SofemaOnline?

"Very helpful, because during the course there are included many useful examples from real environment.” – E.Z. for Fuel Tank Safety (Recurrent) with VO /January 2016/

"It will definitely be helpful for the participants as it clears the basic concepts and give innovative ideas to implement the procedure in their own organisation." – R.R. for Part M Maintenance Planning Essentials /January 2016/

"It is very useful to implement its concepts into the work” – S.A. for Root Cause Analysis for Quality Assurance Practitioners /March 2016/

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Now that we know the exposure which we face from FOD we should also understand the importance of FOD training!

Dealing with the Challenge of Training Adults

The first point to understand is that adults learn best when they understand the reason behind the training – so this becomes the first challenge.

To share the importance not just of FOD training, but of really following FOD procedures to ensure that we remove any possibility of personally being involved in the production of FOD. Moreover we understand the obligation which we share to correctly dispose of any FOD we see whilst we are working. 

Training can be delivered on line or in a classroom environment and becomes an opportunity to share information including the challenges of encouraging people to follow the FOD “rules”.

Training New Employees

It is good practice to ensure that New Employees do not start work until they have successfully passed through a FOD Training Program. 

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What is the difference between Policy, Process and Procedures?
A Policy is essentially a set of basic principles and associated guidelines, formulated and enforced by the organization typically designed to demonstrate compliance with a regulatory obligation and in so doing demonstrate objectives and actions in pursuit of long-term goals.
A Process is typically understood to be a sequence of usually separate but linked procedures and which, also requires a number of resources to achieve.
Procedures provide instructions or guidance ideally in clear, non-ambiguous, and effective manner describing in “simple language” to how a particular task or activity should be accomplished.

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Following the continued and successful development of our online training program -, Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) is very pleased to announce that we have extended our software contract which supports our Joomla Learning Management System (LMS) program and we now have the capacity for 1000 concurrent users on

Steven Bentley MD of SAS commented: "This is a very exciting development for SAS starting with a license for 100 users on we have seen a steady increase in our customer base, as well as repeat business from our satisfied users.
With the continuous development of training courses together the addition of open courses and private in company online training, all available through our online platform, we expect to see the trend continue with steady growth throughout the coming years.

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Considerations related to the delivery of Safety Systems

Where is your organisations current focus? Is it on compliance or Performance?

This is a significant question because whilst compliance is of course mandatory it is through performance related developments that we are able to optimise and drive significant savings within the organisation, whilst at the same time ensuring we deliver a safe and effective business environment.

Where does safety come from?
People or Procedures?

Well simply implementing process and procedure is not in itself going to provide an effective solution to the needs of the organisation.
We rely on people to deliver our safety management system and this in turn requires a specific and viable organisational culture and senior led behaviour.

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Presented by - Raising Awareness Through Training

Rising to the challenge of mentoring a growing workforce, becomes a more difficult challenge if the management lacks the specific skill set to deliver the Competency Management processes?

What do we mean by Competence?

Essentially we are talking about the ability of the individual to perform a task or series of task with the correct attitude awareness knowledge and understanding.

All EASA approved organisations are required to demonstrate the management of competence. 
Sometimes in sufficient attention is given by the organisation to the role of managing competence within the organisation employees who lack knowledge and experience may in fact increase the likelihood of an error or mistake (the worst outcome).

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We sometimes feel static electricity which builds up as we walk for example across a nylon carpet at the moment we touch something which permits an electrostatic discharge.
Static electricity and Electrostatic Discharges (ESD) have become an increasing problem as we become more dependent on technology. Significant costs are borne by the aerospace industry as a result of damage caused by ESD components and devices.
Consider that at its most basic an ESDS program requires:
a) All conductors of electricity should be grounded to ensure an equipotential balance of electrical charge at times in the defined Electrostatic Protected Area.
b) Appropriate static control packaging or containment for protection of sensitive items must be used whenever the items are removed from an Electrostatic Protected Area.

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We are very pleased to announce the availability of our latest training which provides for an opportunity to update regarding the Role of the Aviation Quality System within the European Aviation Safety Agency “EASA” Environment.

The Aviation Quality Compliance System should be at the heart of the operation, fully functioning and visible within every department and element of the organization.

This course delivers a comprehensive understanding of all elements of an Aviation Compliance led Quality Management System (QMS). An effective Compliance Management Process can help to support the organization in the most meaningful and tangible way. Organizations which can deliver the most effective quality audit system, together with an efficient process to follow up with all identified issues in a practical way, can excel in the delivery of their core products and services.

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Posted by on in Regulatory

What are hidden Dangerous Goods?

In fact there is a substantial range of items which are classed as dangerous goods (DG) and often passengers do not have the slightest idea that what they are carrying is in fact DG. It is a fact that many common items which may find their way onto aircraft may in actual fact contain dangerous goods. As a general rule any ambiguities or doubts should always be clarified with qualified and competent persons.

Examples of hidden Dangerous Goods!

Instruments - Thermometers containing mercury. (It is on record that an aircraft was actually scrapped because of mercury contamination)

Many common household goods contain DG for example, paints, aerosols containing a variety of products, glues and adhesives, bleaching powders and cleaners.

Breathing Apparatus either compressed air or oxygen is considered as DG.

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Posted by on in Regulatory

The supply chain is a key element within the Maintenance Repair Organisation (MRO), correctly managed it may contribute to the overall efficiency of the process, if it is not controlled in the best way the supply chain may easily contribute to unnecessary overhead.

What is a Supply Chain?

Essentially we are talking about all stages involved in delivering the parts and materials where there needed, when they are needed at the best possible cost.

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Who is best placed to answer this question? In fact the starting point should be – "What do we want our SMS to do for us?"

We often talk about the management of change and here we do not need to look any further than the implementation of an SMS as our first challenge.

As either a perfect opportunity to develop and optimize the organisation or alternatively as an organizational burden which requires specific actions to ensure compliance.

So in reality this question should be answered by the Accountable Manager and the Management Team. In fact once we answer the question then other decisions become easier and we can start to develop the structure of the SMS.

Please note it is a significant step backwards to jump into SMS implementation without really appreciating what your real goals are. So assume we have decided that we see the SMS as a real business opportunity to develop and optimize the organization.What should we do next?

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