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Weakest Link in Aviation Maintenance Safety

Since time immemorial, air transport been considered as the most convenient and secure means of transportation. The recent blow to the industry has been the increasing cases of plane crashes which has necessitated experts to examine the root cause of these accidents and develop effective solutions to reduce these accidents (Phillips, 2006). Aviation maintenance, safety can be defined as the process of ensuring that a system continuously performs its intended function in the level of reliability and safety (Xavier, 2015). Accordingly, International Aviation Maintenance and Safety bodies are carrying out research to find the most effective ways to prevent the planes from fatigue, wear and corrosion hence restoring the airplanes’ status.

Safety programs to mitigate this Weakness

Plans to enhance Aviation maintenance, safety have been thoroughly carried out over the years. A recent study by the flight safety foundation indicates that the human factor remains to be the weakest link in aviation safety and maintenance system. Further studies show that 85% of airline crashes are caused mainly by human error. Wikstén & Johansson (2016), gives an illustration of American Airlines Flight 587 where as a result of human error, 265 passengers succumbed to death. Some of the tendencies that prompt researchers to attribute most airplane crashes to human errors include; pilot decision making, poor “crew resource management, GPS factor, pilot area familiarity, fatigue and adverse mental states of the pilots.

Aviation Maintenance Safety Dynamics with Other Safety Programs

Currently, the aviation sector is working on safety programs to design more reliable, convenient and safer transportation systems. Fallibility, a safety program has been evaded through combining good training with modern safety equipment and onboard devices to warn of collisions with other planes or with the ground. Other safety programs include the provision of new decision aids and educational training and enhancement of existing guidance material (Rosenkrans, 2018). Moreover, air safety ought to be controlled and pilots to spend more time with the planes to learn all the controls. When systems are in place, the failure rate is low as opposed to the ability of humans to monitor the aircraft’s performances effectively. Phillips (2006), states that efforts to introduce unmanned aerial vehicles rather than piloted aircraft prove to be safer as there is an increased operator vigilance. In order to detect malfunctions more easily, perhaps robots should be put into operation. Malfunctioning of these aircraft could be overcome by employing multiple parallel monitoring systems.

How Analytical Systems and Data Collection Help Develop Safety Programs

The issue of vigilance effects when dealt with, can reduce dangers associated with aircrafts crash. Vigilance effects can be attributed to; boredom and the high workload associated with a high level of vigilance. Besides, performance deficit may occur because of either vigilance decrement over time or sustained low levels of vigilance. These levels of vigilance cause fatigue which is disastrous as it poses threats to passengers’ safety (Hinckley et al., 2010). On the other hand, analytical systems and data collections tools would play a vital role in enhancing aviation systems since they would integrate the safety processes and hence enhance speed and efficiency in gathering safety information. Moreover, the aspect of scalability is desirable as the safety operations and aviation structure expand in terms of ensuring that programs and processes are designed towards safety and maintenance. However, the initial cost of instituting analytical systems, especially the big data technology is quite high, but the benefits of its implementation and execution within the aviation safety docket would help the organization realize significant levels of safety and maintenance.

From the above arguments, it is evident that even with the introduction of aircraft, engines, navigations, and in-flight safety devices, accidents are still occurring with more plane crashing and killing many passengers. Therefore, we can conclude that human beings are the constant weak link in aviation safety.

References

Hinckley, C. M., Hettinger, H., & Juenger, J. E. (2010). The argument for federal legislation protecting the confidentiality of aviation safety action program information. J. Air L. & Com., 75, 161.

Phillips.D. (2006). Human factor remains air safety’s weakest link – Business – International Herald Tribune. New York Times.  Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/business/worldbusiness/30iht-transcol31.2639344.html

Rosenkrans, W. A. Y. N. E. (2018). Speaking up. Flight Safety Foundation. Aerosafety World, 34-39.

Wikstén, J., & Johansson, M. (2016). Maintenance and reliability with a focus on aircraft maintenance and spares provisioning.

Xavier, A. J. (2015). Managing human factors in aircraft maintenance through a performance excellence framework. A Graduate Research Project, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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