Aircraft Maintenance Mistakes and its Solutions in Aerospace Engineering

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Human Factors plays a crucial role in Maintenance Mistakes and system solutions in aerospace engineering.

Human Factors is not just about people: it is also about systems. Yet aircraft’s becoming increasingly reliable,

  • The action of the maintainers themselves lie at the heart of many airworthiness problems.
  • According to Boeing, around 15% major aircraft’s accidents involve maintenance errors.

Human errors – powerful forces affecting the quality of maintenance, produced by:

  • Frustration
  • Sleepiness
  • Misunderstandings and
  • Memory Lapses.

Maintenance Errors in Aerospace engineering

  • Have a significant impact on safety, But also on the financial performance.
  •  A single in-flight turn-back of a Boeing 747, with the need to accommodate passengers overnight, can cost $250,000 of profit.
  • In the USA, maintenance error could cost airlines one billion US dollars per year!
  • In aerospace engineering, The term human error is used in recognition of the fact that most aviation accidents do involve human error at some point in the chain of events. Those errors (or unsafe acts) tend to be just one link in a chain of events.

Human factors

Unsafe acts: What goes wrong  ?

  • In order to understand the types of errors made by maintenance engineers, the (Australian) Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) has collected  information  on  over  120 maintenance unsafe acts from interviews with airline engineering personnel and from incident reports received during a study of the regional airline industry.

Local problems: Why do things go wrong ?

  • The BASI analysis of maintenance incident reports found that for incidents which had airworthiness implications, the most common factors in the work area at the time of the incident were:

  1. Workers have a fairly limited understanding of a company’s formal policies and procedures.
  2. They follow informal practices developed on the job.
  3. Older, experienced workers will sometimes develop their own practices, which may be different from the approved procedures.

  4. Unworkable or inconvenient procedures also prompt the sort of work-around described earlier.

Communication breakdowns in aerospace engineering:

  • In a recent survey, senior US maintenance mechanics were asked to describe the most challenging part of their job. Their most common answer was ‘human relations or dealing with people’s Performing in a team requires more than technical know-how, and we often overlook the need to develop these important communication and people skills.

Pressure or Haste:

  • operators strive to reduce maintenance down time.
  • pressure is a fact of life for maintenance engineers.

  • engineers faced with real or self-imposed time pressures will be tempted to take shortcuts to get an aircraft back into service more quickly.

maintenance pressure

Pressure or haste -System Safeguards:

  • Maintenance systems have built-in safeguards such as, independent inspections and functional tests designed to capture errors on critical tasks.
  • By necessity, these error-capturing safeguards occur at the end of jobs, at exactly the time when pressures to get the aircraft back into service are likely to be greatest.

  • In the recent BASI survey, 32% of mechanics reported that there had been an occasion when they had not done a required functional check because of a lack of time. At the time, such a decision may have seemed safe and reasonable; however, decisions made under pressure do not always stand the test of hindsight.

  • Younger personnel need to know about the traps lying in wait for them, yet too often they are allowed to discover these for themselves.

Training In Human Factors

  • Maintenance personnel may need training in human factors areas such as:
  1. Communication
  2. Supervision and
  3. Dealing with Pressure and Frustration.

Benefits of Human Factors Training

  • The great benefit of human factors training in aerospace engineering is not only that people change, but that people can see the opportunities to change the systems in which they work. For this reason, managers, who have the most power to change things, should not be excluded from human factors training.

 

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Hello, I am an aircraft structural analyst with industrial experience and a master degree on aerospace structures. Currently working for an aerospace company as a stress
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