Blog posts tagged in Planning

Introduction

Whilst currently (October 2018) EASA does not mandate the obligation to ensure CAMO & Maintenance Planning Staff receive HF training, the reality is that the potential for Human Factor Error knows no bounds and it is just as likely that a Human Factor (HF) error could originate from an exposure within the Maintenance Planning Environment as anywhere else within the “Aviation System”.

Currently some 80% of aircraft accidents are attributable to human error, however this is a situation where it is possible to manage and or address by managing the exposure.

Human Error is recognised as rectifiable through the process of raising awareness, implementation of effective process and procedure and effective communication within the workplace.

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Sofema Aviation Services www.sassofia.com considers an EASA Compliant Maintenance Planning Process. 

Maintenance has come a long way since the early days when maintenance programs owed more to the perception of the maintenance needs, as opposed to the analyzed and justified needs. In addition the role of the regulator was also minimal, and in part developed as a result of events, incidents and accidents. 

During the end of the first half of the 20th century regulations began to strengthen and the aircraft manufacturer was seen as the appropriate source of the maintenance program development. The early attempts at effective maintenance (in the 1960’s) saw time limits developed which resulted in aircraft being progressively dismantled, in what became know as Hard Time primary maintenance.

All hard time components were then routed through an overhaul process and after an appropriate restoration process were considered as zero timed. (Means they were considered as zero life and good to go again) - Following investigations into the effectiveness of the Aircraft Maintenance Process, by both the FAA and several airlines, a number of determinations were made.

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Without Doubt the above subjects are very important in respect of the need to manage competence within both the Maintenance Management and Maintenance Delivery Environment recognizing improvement in the need to ensure competence. EASA mandated in February 2010 the need to ensure competence within the CAMO workplace. Commission Regulation (EU) No 127/2010 | EASA

This was amplified in 2011 when EASA again issued specific regulations associated with the management of competence ED Decision 2011-011-R - EASA - Europa
 
Maintenance Planning is a function of the Continuous Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) and both SAS and SOL offers a broad range of courses ranging from a single day to a 5 days integrated training.
 
Production Planning is an Essential function of the EASA 145 organization and provides a structure whereby the effective management of maintenance delivery process may be correctly coordinated and managed.
 
Technical Records is actually required for both the CAMO organization (Belonging to the Operator) and for the 145 organization (Belonging to the Maintainer).

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Airlines perform aircraft maintenance in order to ensure aviation safety and schedule punctuality. Sitting alongside this is the desire to also perform efficiently, arranging the manpower to have the optimum level of competence requires a considerable effort to ensure that the availability matches the requirement.

Whilst the “almost” universal approach to large aircraft maintenance afforded by MSG 3 delivers the potential of a very effective task orientated maintenance program, the very real challenge presented to Planners is how to decide on the best way to package these task so that the most effective workscope may be compiled to align with the available maintenance capacity.

Within every company exists the balance between availability, utilisation and maintenance requirements to understand fully the criteria which is applicable and to make focused decisions becomes the key to optimising the cost of maintenance.

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The regulatory obligations to ensure that the correct maintenance is performed may be found in EASA Part M Subpart C. It is well known that after expenditure on fuel, the cost of aircraft maintenance is one of the most significant overheads, as such it also presents opportunities to optimize which may in turn lead to savings.

We also need to consider the danger of “under maintained aircraft”. A company can lose its reputation and become associated with an unreliable service, whereas building up a reputation for sterling operation may take a long time.

It is critical for Operators to not only achieve but to maintain high standards of both a safe and a reliable services, as well as to pay attention to optimizing their profits.

There are a number of measure which operators may use to demonstrate effective maintenance, reliability data being a leading factor amongst them.

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When we talk about Human Factor (HF) related issues within the Maintenance Planning environment we need to consider also that often visibility of the outcome is moved to another area of the business. For example if due to planning considerations work is loaded onto the check in an uneven way then it is possible to create an environment where we see commercial pressure, which as we know may directly lead to stress and the possibility of an unwanted HF event.

Another issue also relating to visibility may be connected with the iceberg theory of accidents and incidents. We know that for every significant incident or accidents which occur there are maybe 10 externally report able events (to the regulator) and 30 internally report able events, (to the quality or safety system) however there are additionally in region of 300 unreported transgressions which not only go unreported, but may in fact when considered in isolation appear to have minimum direct consequence, nevertheless may in fact become either precursors or contributors to a more serious event.

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The MPD is the source document for the initial maintenance program. The Maintenance Planning Document (MPD) contains all the Maintenance Review Board (MRB) requirements, as contained in the Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR) together with all additional mandatory scheduled maintenance requirements.

Whilst the MPD is the document required for the initial aircraft operator’s maintenance program it is by no means mandatory to comply in every case with subsequent changes to the MRBR.

In fact following the accumulation of reliability data it is quite possible for the Maintenance Program tasks to be escalated beyond the initial periodicity. Savvy Operators will use reliability data and other indicators to develop more effective planning processes which may very well include task escalation.

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Considering the primary “Role” delivered by the Production Planning within the 145 Organisation.

Production Planning typically reports through the Base, Line or Workshop Managers to the Maintenance Director or Post Holder. The Production Planning Control process plays a pivotal role as a service provider to the various front line and support functions within the organisation, the essential goal for Production Planning is to ensure an on-time re-delivery of aircraft, job profitability and the accurate completion and compliance of required documentation.

Typical duties include developing production schedules and work programs to include oversight of the facility requirements, manpower requirements, parts and material lists, tooling lists, third party services and specialized resources to ensure all organisational objectives are met in a timely manner.

Detailed preparation of the work scope including analysis of special jobs (AD’s, SB’s) and management of the check time line to remain on schedule. The preparation of tooling equipment and the required material, managing man hours allocation, in support of the works program.

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Aircraft Production Planning belongs to the Maintenance Organisation and is related to the size of the organisation, from a very humble structure to an intensive business management process.

There is much opportunity available within the Production Planning business area to deliver savings and the challenge is to identify efficient business processes that can be used to gather the data, analyze and measure the opportunities and finally to act on this.

The training and management of competence is often overlooked for the maintenance planning group and their role and responsibilities considered as providing administrative support to the “Engineers” rather than managing and controlling an effective delivery. Together with a limited acquisition of “Data” leads to general under performance within the business area. (This in no way should be construed as impacting the regulatory obligations which is not under question as part of this submission.)
The objective of Production Planning is quite straightforward.

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The Continuous Airworthiness Management Organization “CAMO” is essentially responsible for 4 primary functions: Planning, Technical Records, Engineering, and Reliability. These groups work together to ensure that the Aircraft remain fully compliant with all requirements concerning the aircraft maintenance management and associated oversight.

Within the CAMO department the Maintenance Planning Group has a range of responsibilities including the delivery of the aircraft maintenance work package to ensure the aircraft remains fully compliant with the Maintenance Program. However this is only part of the story, in a way this could be considered to be the “fixed” portion of the workload, as it does not fluctuate rather it is based on the Maintenance Planning Document “MPD”.

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