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Commercial Pressure on Engineering

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Commercial Pressure on Engineering

Old 29th Apr 2009, 21:20
  #41 (permalink)  
PJ2
 
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aj138;

If I may offer a thought - the discussion never left the original topic or got lost. Rather, it became for a moment an overall perspective encompassing those serious issues which you eloquently raise in your post. In my view your post is another extremely relevant and important contribution to this discussion to which regulators, line managers and senior airline executives alike must hearken to. I completely agree with your assessment of SMS - rather, the weaknesses and, though it is a good safety concept, the folly of SMS as it is presently being implemented.

Re:
The first one gave me cause to live because my conscience couldn't take it the second one asked me to leave as i had highlighted real safety cultural issues. I went down every avenue to address my concerns and due to the plain ignorance and lack of understanding of the role of an LAE and the of holding a CRS they shoo-shooed me and told me to wind my neck in.

The final nail or event which caused me to leave the first airline luckily enough didnt turn into the potential nightmare that it could have, but as the flight crew that day will tell you if it wasn't for me standing up and saying "i don't care what the procedures say" a major incident was averted.
and,
This smells of commercial riding roughshot over safety and having dealt with a lot of airline maintrols ( one who even decided the aircraft with a major hydraulic leak should be given a CRS as the leak was such that it could just about make the sector with the current leak rate) most of them are there to get the aircraft home rather than get the aircraft serviceable.
and, most importantly,
Some may say have you followed the SMS/ Error reporting route? well let me tell you no one is more qualified to understand the aspects of engineering and these Error reporting processes. They are paid lip service to both by the airlines and the NAA's. They are processes that just are there to give the public the perception that "we take safety seriously".
Like Security itself and the commentary upon the structural sham, your last comment has much to say regarding the corporate box-ticking that goes on in the name of SMS and flight safety programs. I know cases where flight data has been dismissed or simply not believed, ostensibly because it is commercially inconvenient. Under SMS, where managers are responsible for costs as well as safety, the conflict is irresolvable - most of the time, because the regulator is in essence, absent. SMS expects airlines to employ collected flight data and incident reports as well as a host of other robust and readily-available safety programs to first, know what their fleet of airplanes and their pilots are doing on a daily basis from which the organization may make changes in their operations as part of the SMS self-audit process. Unless that process is vigourously implemented, supported with appropriate resources and protections for the safety data in terms of confidentiality, (the absence of which will destroy any trust), SMS will become (and is already, in some quarters), a sham and public relations exercise. That is, until the accountable executive(s) are, under SMS, put in the oak chair to face prosecutors after an accident.

Ian, THIS is the story, if you're going to tell one at all - there are sufficient details in contributions such as this one and others, and sufficient perspective regarding the larger picture of the de-regulation of flight safety, to write from the "10,000ft view" and the view "on the ground" - What is being offered here is a view of "why" there is increasing risk in an aviation safety system which has, ironically through its very success, become taken-for-granted. You have other posts which offer details which illustrate "what" and "how" within this larger perspective.

Because this is an informal arena and not a place where the highest rigor in terms of statements and research is conducted or expected, you must put flesh to these understandings and perspectives. I submit that there is more than enough research within our industry to back up what is being said here in response to your question and post. I was with a highly respected airline which, despite it's well-deserved safety reputation and impressive record, is changing, placing on more occasions than I care to mention, commercial interests ahead of safety priorities when they knew, through flight data and not mere pilot reports, that they had to act otherwise and did not. Like your concerns, ours were summarily dismissed. It is the felt comfort with the operation and certainly not the dismissal of our input, that is so concerning at present.

Last edited by PJ2; 29th Apr 2009 at 21:31.
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Old 29th Apr 2009, 22:27
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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AJ138

I heard about cases like yours, and I heard also about MOE's losing customers due to strict following the rules.

In my 18 years Line on stations all over the world, it happend sometimes that crews were insisting the work which has to be done, but they tried it only for a minute............ (the dumb ones dies earlier )

I saw different cases that Crews were happy to get their planes fixed, or at least deferred to home base. But when the same plane came unfixed back, it was AOG (ok it helped a lot that every 14 days the FAA came for a coffee to my office )

I think Ian was planning a trip, and after all the horrible stories about tired flight crews and Flu and what else, he wanted to know, that we are still safe,

yes Ian You can fly, because we are proud of our work.

we keep them flying ................... SAFE
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Old 29th Apr 2009, 22:33
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Guys I don't think we should slam Ian too much here.

I think he should be commended for being up front about who he is and what he is doing.

If you don't like the fact that a journo has the common sense to attempt to enquire somewhere that he can get an accurate feel for an issue then you don't have to comment in the thread.

There are problems in the industry as with any other. It is not squeaky clean and it has its bad apples just as any other industry and profession.
Thatís Life, thatís fact.
Some bad apples (normally In management) are driven by a combination of lack of technical appreciation, knowledge or experience and over confidence in their own abilities. They think they know better, try to be super clever but eventually, it catches up with them!!

Commercial pressure is part of the job. We get it right 99% of the time but not always.



Last edited by theavionicsbloke; 29th Apr 2009 at 23:04.
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Old 29th Apr 2009, 23:49
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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In this business, anybody who would knowingly succumb to pressure and sign off a blatantly unsafe item is the rare exception rather than the rule.

PJ2 is absolutely spot on though. Commercial pressures are overcoming safety concerns in the backrooms and boardrooms and SMS is expanding this normalization of deviance at a head spinning pace. It's not so obvious at ground level when a single job card or MEL is signed off or an aircraft is dispatched, but at 10,000 ft the view is a whole lot different.

For all of you who say Ian's concerns are baseless, you really need to take a step back and get some perspective.

The big boss says safety is job 1 but his bonus is based on raising profits. Those profits come from increased revenues and lowered costs. He then put's like minded folks in all the senior decision making roles. From what I've seen, these are not experienced operational folks. Oh sure, in good faith, he has some token technical folks and pilots in the mix to keep him and his cohorts honest and hold him to his word but the reality is that they are neophytes when it comes to arguing for budget approvals and expenditures. The financial types win 80% of the time and the operational experts lose. The result is that that money for equipment upgrades / maintenance / repairs is becoming harder to get. Engineering/Maintenance scramble to improvise. Equipment deteriorates faster. MEL devs and extensions increase. Routine maint gets deferred. Flt crews get issued new SOPs and QRH procedures to address the inadequacies. etc.

Each little issue on it's own is minor. Cummulatively, they're leading in one direction.

Where is the regulator in all this? A clue lies in the reason SMS was implemented in the first place. There regulator doesn't have enough inspectors. Inspectors have been relegated to examining the SMS processes in place and they're still reading all the process documentation. They don't even audit or review anymore. They "sample".

Nobody wants to see safety deteriorate but having at first embraced SMS and living with it for 3 yrs I'm actually now pondering the inevitable and for the first time in nearly 20 yrs giving some consideration to packing up the job I love and moving on before somebody gets hurt.

Last edited by nnc0; 30th Apr 2009 at 00:17.
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 10:40
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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PJ2 careful you are earning my respect.

I really do wonder what those who claim everything is so rosy want to achieve.

Its like saying partners don't cheat cos mine don't. Wake up.

Ian if that is your name, all credit for coming on here openly and listening to a whole bunch of hippocrites slagging off journo's but continue to buy newspapers.
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 11:13
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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PJ2
That is possibly the best constructed post I have ever read.
I'll second that, outstanding.
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 11:19
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Safety record

PJ2's contribution is, as ever, well worth a read. May I highlight one aspect of his broad brush?
He writes "there is increasing risk in an aviation safety system which has, ironically through its very success, become taken-for-granted."

That is a huge cultural issue. When people become satisfied with what is going on they often stop working the safety issue in the diligent and terrier like way that the UK has used for many years. There is no substitute for simply working the safety issues. If Aviation moves in to a culture where it stops doing that, then we will have a problem.
However, there is one bright light..........in the final analysis, Aviation is the ultimate self-regulator. A captain is not going to fly an unsafe plane as her life will be at risk along with the passengers, and an Engineer won't release an unsafe plane as her License is the basis of her lifestyle. I've seen a number of instances where individuals have stood up to the "career limiting" risks for the sake of safety. Long may it continue.
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Old 1st May 2009, 05:36
  #48 (permalink)  
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posts to date...

Cheers Safety Concerns!
Yup, Ian Shoesmith is the moniker I'm stuck with I'm afraid -- if you google me + bbc news you'll find me.
Thanks to everybody who has PMd me since my last post; and contributed to the debate on this forum.
I guess I was always asking for trouble by repeating the allegations made by my source, and suggesting pilots (and yes, I know the difference between Captains and First Officers - my choice of language was probably a bit sloppy) were somehow the bad guys.
From the way this thread appears to be going, it seems that if there is a problem at all, it exists within engineering itself (ie top management putting too much pressure on the guys and girls at the sharp end)??
Thanks again, and please feel free to PM / email me (using anonymous email address if you'd prefer)
Ian
[email protected]
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Old 15th May 2009, 19:47
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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BAe146s make me cry

EASA/EC were 'forced' into taking action with INAC of Portugal only recently.

I would like to highlight that EASA cannot take any action
against anybody. EASA does not have any enforcement power against a
Member State of the Community.
EASA is, by law, performing periodic and ad-hoc standardization visits
to the National Aviation Authorities (NAA) of all EASA countries (the 27
EU countries + Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) in the
fields of initial and continuing airworthiness. They raise findings, if
any, and report to the visited NAA, its government, and the
Commission. They then agree and monitor a corrective action plan that the
NAA has to complete. In case the action plan is not properly
implemented, the only action that EASA can take is to issue a
supplementary report to the Commission, which will decide any further
actions.

Your intentional misleading words of alleged "action" from the part of EASA to the Portuguese agency INAC are wrong. I really expected much more correctness from the part of some individuals who claim for responsibility and fairness within the industry.
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Old 15th May 2009, 21:58
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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aguadalte

I would like to highlight that EASA cannot take any action
against anybody. EASA does not have any enforcement power against a
Member State of the Community.
EASA is, by law, performing periodic and ad-hoc standardization visits
to the National Aviation Authorities (NAA) of all EASA countries (the 27
EU countries + Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) in the
fields of initial and continuing airworthiness. They raise findings, if
any, and report to the visited NAA, its government, and the
Commission. They then agree and monitor a corrective action plan that the
NAA has to complete. In case the action plan is not properly
implemented, the only action that EASA can take is to issue a
supplementary report to the Commission, which will decide any further
actions.
Your intentional misleading words of alleged "action" from the part of EASA to the Portuguese agency INAC are wrong. I really expected much more correctness from the part of some individuals who claim for responsibility and fairness within the industry
Thank you for the clarifications. It seems to be a natural tendancy for any of us to simplify the role of aviation regulation to a single visible body.

I'm afraid that you might have to copy and paste your quote in numerous other future threads as well, while of course leaving out a supposition that other's ignorance is intentionaly misleading

cheers
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Old 20th May 2009, 17:43
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Poll on www.alae.org

Have a look at the poll being run on Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers (ALAE) - Welcome. Interesting reading.
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