The 2015 MRO Americas, taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, FL on April14-16, will host the Annual Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC). AMC is a skill-based competition where teams of certified Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, international and domestic Armed Forces personnel involved in aircraft/spacecraft maintenance, and students enrolled in either FAA, EASA, CASA, or equivalently authorized schools will compete to show off their aerospace maintenance skills.
Teams of five are divided into competition categories of Commercial Aviation, General Aviation, Space, School, Military, and MRO/OEM. They then compete in a timed competition against other teams in their category by testing their knowledge and skills in 16 scheduled events that highlight the principles of the AMT and AME craft and profession.
RF System Lab, a world-wide leader in remote visual inspection, is proud to be a sponsor of AMC 2015. In addition to their sponsorship, RF System Lab is donating a VJ-Advance articulating video borescope to the winning team in the School category. Out of the 42 teams competing in this year’s AMC, five of those teams are made up of students working to obtain certification through aviation schools.
RF System Lab is excited to be able to provide the winning students an opportunity to enhance their studies with the VJ-Advance. RF System Lab understands the importance of hands-on learning and experience with tools regularly used in the aviation maintenance industry; which is why the video borescope company is thrilled to be able to provide the winning school with a VJ-Advance articulating video borescope.
RF System Lab’s Zack Wessels will be onsite at the competition to provide information about the VJ-Advance to interested parties. RF System Lab will also have VJ-Advance video borescope demos available at booth #2943 in the MRO Americas Exhibit Hall.
More information about the Aerospace Maintenance Competition can be found at the event website. More information about RF System Lab and the VJ-Advance video borescope can be found at www.rfsystemlab.us or by calling 855-787-3091
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by Jason Dickstein
It is exchanges like this that keep me out of the running for that father of the year award.
It is always frustrating to be out of something you need, and that is especially true with aircraft parts. A component that is missing from your inventory can be a real headache when it causes your aircraft to be AOG. And when the manufacturer tells you there is a 360 day lead time, then you really want to pull out your hair.
It’s worse than a smart-ass dad.
That’s one of the things I love about PMA parts. PMA manufacturers have a variety of reasons for choosing the parts they choose to build, and one of them is parts unavailability. When a part is needed, but it is unavailable in the industry, that sets the perfect condition for a PMA part to enter the market in order to fill that need.
What is a PMA part? Well, let’s start with the abbreviation, “PMA.” It stands for Parts Manufacturer Approval. This is the approval that the FAA issues in order to approve a manufacturer to produce an aircraft part that is intended for a specific installation.
The PMA is really three approvals in one.
First, it is a design approval. This means that the applicant has to produce evidence that the part meets all of the applicable FAA regulations, and that it will work properly in the intended installation. These are usually the same regulations that applied to the original type-certificated equipment, but if the FAA has changed the regulations or otherwise raised the standards then the PMA usually must meet the new, higher regulatory standards. The applicant’s evidence will be reviewed by engineers at the local Aircraft Certification Office, who may be assisted by data approvals from designated engineering representatives (DERs).
It is also a production approval. To meet this element of the approval process, the applicant has to create a production quality assurance system. The regulations that apply to this system are the same exact regulations that apply to a production certificate (the FAA’s PMA regulations actually point to the production certificate quality system regulations in 14 C.F.R. § 21.137). The purpose of the quality assurance system is to ensure that every part released from the quality system meets the FAA-approved design.
Pastor Lopez brings a long and successful background in large aircraft component MRO to his new post as CEO of PEMCO World Air Services.
If there's one thing about the aviation maintenance business that becomes more evident every day it is that it’s one industry where you just can’t fake it. Especially in leadership roles. Companies of all sizes have had their businesses suffer irreparable damage because they brought in an “industry outsider” to run their operations.
Pastor Lopez, the new CEO of PEMCO World Air Services, is not that person. He has the credentials, experience and insight that a major MRO and aircraft conversions provider like PEMCO needs to continue to grow in a highly competitive, global industry.
Aviation Maintenance recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Lopez – “call me Pastor…” to learn more about the man and his vision for PEMCO.
AM: Tell us a bit about your background in aviation.
Lopez: I began my aviation career in 1986 with Cleveland Pneumatic (now UTX) in Miami, FL. In 1989, I became Lead Engineer at AAR Landing Gear Services. I worked my way up through various Engineering and Quality positions and became Vice President, Quality in 1999. I established new quality control systems and metrics to improve production and products to meet changing global regulatory requirements including FAA, Chinese CAAC, Saudi Arabia PCA and others. My team also implemented ISO 9001 and AS9000 quality systems in only three months.
In 2002, I was appointed Vice President and General Manager of AAR Landing Gear Services, responsible for their Miami and Malaysian facilities.
Last year, I joined PEMCO as the company’s CEO. It’s a very exciting opportunity for me. PEMCO has a long history of MRO excellence and innovation in the air transport cargo conversion business. In addition, leadership’s emphasis on employee values was definitely a plus. This coupled with the fact that I can now make full business decisions on a fast-paced environment were really attractive propositions.
As for my educational background, I have a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Florida International University, an MBA (finance concentration) from the University of Miami, and Lean Sig Sigma Black Belt Certificate from Villanova University.
AM: What is the current state of PEMCO’s MRO business?
Lopez: We have great employees with terrific technical depth and airline backgrounds. Our customer base is well diversified with four major customers operating Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. This fleet similarity has allowed us to become very efficient with our inspections and maintenance services on these platforms. We have developed over 100 FAA/EASA/CAAC/JAA-approved STC’s for major modifications to these and other popular aircraft models. Combine that with a history of exemplary ratings on regulatory audits and numerous FAA Diamond training awards and it’s easy to see that PEMCO’s future looks great.
Ron Marasco was vice president of maintenance and engineering at Pan American World Airways and worked at the company from its heyday in the 50s through the mid-80s. He has written a book about the early years of the 747 and it is a fascinating look at what it took to get the 747 in service and keep it there.
“I’m a Board member of the Pan Am Historical Foundation and I was doing a white paper on the beginning of the 747 — and it grew!” Marasco explains as to why he decided to write his history. “It’s an untold story that accurately documents the enormous contribution the airline’s maintenance personnel, throughout the world, made toward keeping the 747 safely flying during the early operation,” Marasco says.
One other objective for documenting this early history is to refresh the memories of those who were there at the beginning, and to introduce others to what a monumental event the 747 was in the context of history at that time, he says.
Marasco began his career with Pan Am in 1956 as a flight Engineer. He later transferred to maintenance and engineering and a few years before the 747 entered service was appointed general manager of 747 maintenance.
From the beginning of the operations of the 747, until 1984, he held senior positions associated with all phases of 747 maintenance, including vice president of Maintenance and Engineering.
by Douglas Nelms
“The high level of safety achieved in scheduled airline operations lately should not obscure the fact that most of the accidents that occurred could have been prevented. This suggest that in many instances, the safety measures already in place may have been inadequate, circumvented or ignored.”
ICAO Accident Prevention Manual, 1984
Quite likely, the saddest words in aviation are: “This accident could have been prevented.” Unfortunately, they are also among the most common.
There are a lot of different reasons for preventable accidents — mechanical failure caused by a mechanic’s error among the most prevalent. It’s a known fact — and virtually every aviation organization worldwide has some form of maintenance safety forum aimed at preventing those errors. So lack of knowledge is not the problem.
The problem is that we keep making the same mistakes.
In June 1990, a British Airways maintenance night shift manager decided to install a windscreen in a BAC-111 by himself. Without properly studying the maintenance manual and ignoring the advice of the stores supervisor, he installed the windscreen using bolts that were fractionally smaller (0.66 mm) than the required bolt. On a final maintenance check, no one caught the fact that there was an excessive amount of countersink left unfilled by the bolt heads. On climb out the next day, the windscreen blew out, pulling the pilot partially out of the cockpit.
In August 1985, the world’s worst single-aircraft accident occurred when a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 crashed into a mountain, killing all 520 individuals on board. When the aircraft reached its cruising altitude of 24,000 ft., the rear pressure bulkhead failed, causing sudden decompression and loss of control of most of the vertical stabilizer and rudder. The subsequent investigation determined that years prior to the crash, the aircraft had sustained a tail scrape. The repair to the scrape included replacing the lower half of the bulkhead. This was spliced to the upper half incorrectly, using only a single row of rivets instead of three rows. The aircraft then flew over 12,000 flights and underwent six C checks without the error being found prior to the crash.
On December 7, 2011, an AS350-B2 helicopter operated by Sundance Helicopters crashed just outside Las Vegas, NV, killing the pilot and four passengers. An NTSB study showed the cause being the use of a degraded self-locking nut and improper, or lack of, installation of a split pin. The NTSB also found inadequate post maintenance inspection.
We learn from our mistakes, and can repeat them exactly.
Maintainers are human. They make mistakes. Fortunately, in the vast majority of instances, the mistake is either minor and proves to be of no consequence, the maintainer catches his or her own mistake, or it is spotted in the post-maintenance inspection and corrected.
Unfortunately, as in the cases above, mistakes are not always minor and they
are not always subsequently caught and corrected.
“While we have advanced leaps and bounds in many areas in aviation safety, when you look at the maintenance and engineering arena, not much has changed since the 1930s and 40s,” said Rudy Quevedo, formerly Director of Global Programs for the Flight Safety Foundation and now Director of Safety for IATA. “We’ve talked a lot in recent years about the things that caused the accidents in those days, issues such as human factors. But the fact is that we keep having the same issues.”
One of the biggest human factors issues is the problem of complacency – not following proper procedure…the ‘I’ve done this a thousand times. Why do I need to look
at the manual’ syndrome.
by Joy Finnegan, Editor in Chief
We try to include information about human factors as it relates to the aviation maintenance community in the magazine every year because it is so important to safety in our field. We’ve tried to look beyond the horizon to see what is coming next because the root of so many accidents is human factors-related. Let me add quickly that relatively few accidents are maintenance-related.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have improvements to make. Understanding that is key to improving. Managing the risks inherent to all work involving humans is acknowledged as crucial to improving our excellent safety record. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) deserves credit for focusing on this and for providing some tremendous resources available on their website. They have a resource section specifically for aviation maintenance organizations and it includes research, videos, training, tools and guides for establishing safety assessments.
In the library you will find archived documents associated specifically with maintenance human factors including maintenance research program annual reports, NTSB maintenance accident reports, projects, journal articles, conference reports and presentations, human factors analysis and classification system training. One interesting tidbit I found there was about the Heinrich Ratio, a statistic proffered by H. W. Heinrich et. al. in their treatise “Accident Prevention: A Safety Management Approach.” This ratio states that for every major accident, there are 10 less serious accidents, 30 incidents and 600 hazardous acts.
So, even though we are quick to point out that maintenance is low on the totem pole of causal relations, even one accident related to maintenance opens Pandora’s box of hazardous acts. It’s something anyone can relate to – If you have ever thought: “I got away with cutting a corner that time…,” then you are contributing to the overall ratio.
The website also has several great resources for fatigue risk management. This includes a fatigue risk assessment tool developed by Pulsar Informatics that can help determine whether or not you are fatigued enough to be at risk of making errors. You will also find access to the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Human Factors Newsletter.
Spectro | Jet-Care has launched a new version of webECHO to further enhance their analysis services. The secure online portal provides customers with access to their latest sample results and trend reports, 24/7/365.
Designed to work on both desktops and mobile devices, users can monitor their entire Spectro | Jet-Care analysis and results in one place, including Oil, Hydraulic Fluid, Fuel, Debris and Filter Analysis and Engine Trend Monitoring by Gas Path Analysis (GPA).
“As one of the largest independent providers of condition monitoring services we understood our customers’ need for an online resource that brought all our analysis services together enabling them to access their data in one place” said Alan Baker, Sales & Marketing Manager, Spectro |Jet-Care. “For customers with fleets of aircraft webECHO is particularly useful in managing their condition monitoring programs, both across our laboratory analysis and GPA engine trend monitoring services”.
webECHO is also a useful tool to manage and review the trends of Spectro | Jet-Care analysis and enables users to create graphs and distributions for comparison. GPA customers are also able to view diagnostic comments, download monitoring and fault code reporting (where applicable) as well as filter by type, severity and date any events relating to their engines/aircraft.
Jet-Care says it is strengthening its Gas Path Analysis (GPA) portfolio with the addition of a new engine trend program for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine.
“As one of the largest independent providers of GPA services we are continuously developing new programs,” said David Glass, managing director, Jet-Care. “Each program is designed and built for a particular engine type by our in-house thermodynamicists, rather than using one system for all engine types. This enables us to provide a very precise trending analysis service specific to the PT6 family of engines."
The Jet-Care GPA service targets the detection of engine core deterioration and associated faults by monitoring and trending engine data therefore enabling clients to monitor the health of their aircraft engines efficiently and effectively. The current GPA portfolio includes programs for Honeywell TFE731, HTF7000 Series, ALF502 and LF507 engines, GE CF34 engines, CFE Company CFE738 engines, Pratt & Whitney PW100, PW300 and PW500 Series and JT15D engines, Rolls-Royce BR710 and BR725 engines and Williams International FJ44 engines.
In addition to routine reports detailing the engine status the Jet-Care service offers full technical and administrative support 24/7, with highly experienced engineers available to aid diagnosis, interpretation and provide guidance to maintenance teams.
As part of this service customers are also able to make use of the Jet-Care iECHO GPA application for iPad, which enables pilots to gather engine data during steady state cruise and, once a network connection is made, send directly to Jet-Care for processing and evaluation.
Prep product’s quick drying benefits increase shop productivity by reducing process time
Andover, Kan. – A high quality, two-component urethane surfacer (CM0481030) that provides excellent performance, versatility and productivity characteristics, has been introduced by Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings.
Its quick drying benefits increase shop productivity by reducing process time for topcoat preparation. This new composite surfacer also provides outstanding gloss holdout, resistance to film shrinkage, easy sanding and flexibility.
Intended for use on composite for the aircraft exterior and parts, the new CM0481030 surfacer is ideal to fill and cover surface imperfections to create a smooth surface for topcoat applications.
When applied, this composite surfacer forms a tough film with excellent recoat/intercoat adhesion properties and is compatible with Sherwin-Williams topcoats including SKYscapes® Polyester Urethane basecoat-clearcoat topcoat system.
For information on the new CM0481030 two-component urethane surfacer or other Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings, call 1-888-888-5593 or visit www.swaerospace.com.