March 3, 2016
In grade school I was always reminded to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and in the military working on aircraft, I was always taught to remember the phrase "attention to detail." These two items are our biggest challenges in maintenance today as most of our Letter of Investigation (LOI) and Aviation Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) reports are responses to these concepts. I am referring to paperwork and undocumented maintenance.
With today’s workloads and the complicated aircraft and new procedures, we must pay attention to detail. There has been a rash of undocumented maintenance lately, and some with greater consequences than others. If you are familiar with our "Safety Initiative" you will recognize some of the trends that are happening with our technicians and see the causes.
Let’s look at what some of the causes could be. Are you in a hurry? Do you just want to get done or are passengers waiting on the aircraft? Is this the way you have always done this procedure? Don’t let yourself get caught in any of these improper scenarios. Some of the issues that arise from this usually fall on the last person to have signed the procedure or installed the part. Not only are we supposed to comply IAW AMM, but we are also paid to do so and no outside factors should interfere.
We must remember Safety over Schedule (SOS). What we as AMT’s must worry about is the task at hand. We cannot worry about anything except our task, and the correct way to perform it. We need the correct references, tooling, parts and of course the time to complete our maintenance. Our concern is the correct way to perform the maintenance for our passengers and our safety, and to protect the license that we have worked so hard to acquire and need in order to make a living.
All of this has to do with our culture. We as technicians want to discover what is wrong and fix the issue. We will put in a starter motor and send the aircraft on its way in the quickest manner possible. We also need to remember the effectivity, maintenance manual procedures, and paperwork. We need to document removing or disconnecting anything, even just to facilitate maintenance as we may have to turn the job over to someone else. We do not want to have pressure put on us, whether it is by ourselves or by an outside source.
The membership has not yet realized that our culture is what needs to be fixed. It’s not the same aircraft, paperwork, FAA, or company. There are new strict regulations that have to be followed or consequences will, and have, occurred. We need to change the old mentality and realize that with new aircraft and procedures arriving every year we have to stay on top of the game - it is not business as usual. We need to change our culture.
Familiarize yourselves with the ASAP bulletins that your AMFA ASAP Representatives are distributing monthly. These reports have a myriad of information and examples of what to look out for. Familiarize yourselves with our safety initiative and its contents. Both union and company agree with this concept, and safety is our utmost objective. Be safe, be careful, and continue to do the outstanding job that we as essential Aircraft Maintenance Technicians perform daily.
David A. Brooks
National Safety & Standards Director