US-based Flight Safety Foundation has identified four key areas for its newly formed Maintenance Advisory Committee (MAC) to tackle.
MAC was established in August to extend the foundation's work beyond its historic focus on flight operations and crew training to the MRO sector. It met for the second time in early October to define its scope.
Failure to follow maintenance procedures is the first area of focus, says Rodolfo Quevedo, deputy technical director, because it causes around 80% of all maintenance-related aircraft accidents.
The second issue covers training and management skills. Quevedo says that MRO personnel typically do not receive training in areas like team or project management. While staff members become highly skilled in their technical capabilities, they usually have to rely on their personal abilities to organise their work and teams on the shop floor.
Quevedo adds that individuals with particular organisational talents might be taken out by employers to take over more managerial roles in the company's offices, reducing the individual's chances of developing front-line skills.
The third area focuses on professionalism and standards. This include, for example, how young technicians are mentored during their training. While in the past apprentices were typically trained by experienced engineers, Quevedo says nowadays instructors may only have few years of experience themselves. This is partly driven by a shortage of technicians in the MRO industry, he adds.
MAC's final areas of focus are quality and oversight. As operators outsource more maintenance, the foundation wants to determine whether the existing rules and regulations are adequate for today's airline environment.