IFA Conference and Workshop, Dubai

The ‘IFA’ is the International Federation of Airworthiness, for which I am a Board member and Vice-President for Australasia. This year’s Conference brought together participants from the Middle East and around the world to discuss the theme, ‘Best Practices in Safety Risk Management’.

Some of the Conference organisers. Special thanks to Linda Hare, the IFA’s London-based Secretary who did the lion’s share.

John McColl, Head of Airworthiness for the UK CAA, led with his keynote speech on ‘Advancing Technology to Manage Risk’. I followed with ‘Innovative Maintenance to Manage Structural Risks Safely and Efficiently’, in which I argued that ‘innovative maintenance’ depends on knowing the basics of ‘damage tolerance analysis’. You can download my presentation from my ‘Tech’ page. Other presentations are available from the IFA’s web site.

The Conference scheduled time for networking, as important as the presentations

The second day was two interactive ‘Workshop’ sessions. I moderated the first on the topic, ‘New structural inspection technologies: how to assure safety without stifling innovation?’. I had invited a panel of regulatory and industry experts to discuss the approval of new inspection technologies for aircraft structure, especially camera-equipped robots and drones.

New Zealand company, Invert Robotics Ltd, showing the Workshop how their robot can crawl over an aircraft to inspect it more safely and quickly than any human.

The Workshop concluded that regulators could do more, in consultation with operators and the designers of new technologies, to clarify the approval pathway.

Cengiz Turkoglu led the second Workshop on ‘Identifying high risk areas in airworthiness’, which discussed how to improve our categorisation of occurrences, incidents and accidents, to help us better prioritise the risks and regulatory responses.

The Workshops concluded with a video Message from Dr. Bill Johnson, the FAA’s Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Human Factors in Aircraft Maintenance Systems.

Also in Dubai was the Royal Aeronautical Society’s annual ‘Sir Maurice Flanagan Lecture’ on 26 November. John Vincent, the IFA’s CEO, spoke on ‘Safety Related Digital Records within Aviation’.

The IFA’s next Conference is planned for November 2019, in Hong Kong.

Would you like to join IFA? Please contact me. I would love to hear from you.

HOLSIP 2018

From 4th to 8th February 2018, I attended the 17th Annual Workshop on the Holistic Structural Integrity Process (HOLSIP) at Snowbird Lodge, near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Briefly, HOLSIP says that when you analyse the strength and stiffness of any structure, not just for aircraft, you should consider:

  • all failure modes and their interaction
  • the physics and chemistry
  • the structure’s reliability as a system.

For more about HOLSIP, please see my previous HOLSIP posts or the HOLSIP website.

Attendees included:

  • Militaries: the US Air Force and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group
  • Researchers: Southwest Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada and universities from the USA and Japan
  • Companies: APES, Fatigue Technologies, Rolls Royce, TRI Austin and Caterpillar.

The USAF’s F16 ASIP Manager, Kim Jones, opens the Workshop. HOLSIP’s smallness is a strength. It promotes strong and constructive discussion.

In my presentation, which I called ‘HOLSIP: SMS for your ASIP’, I tried to acquaint the mainly military audience with a civil regulatory development that could encourage more holistic structural integrity analysis: Safety Management Systems (SMS). I was intentionally provocative, to stir discussion. You can download my presentation from ‘Tech‘. Other presentations are on the HOLSIP website.

After the Workshop, I was privileged to meet privately with HOLSIP’s founder, Dr Hoeppner, who was not well enough to attend the Workshop. He hopes to publish his first volume on structural integrity in the next year. It will be worth waiting for.

IFA Conference on training and Safety Management Systems

Some of the IFA leaders at the conference (left to right): Mr Frank Turner, President; Mr John Vincent, CEO; Me, VP-Australasia; and Mr Cengiz Turkoglu, Chairman of the Technical Committee

On 14th and 15th November I attended the annual conference of the International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA), for which I am the Vice-President for Australasia. The conference was kindly hosted by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department at their headquarters near the Hong Kong International Airport.

The conference included:

  • Board Meeting
  • Annual General Meeting
  • A Workshop on training for the next generation of aviation professionals
  • A Forum on how Safety Management Systems (SMS) can make a real difference.

Cengiz Turkoglu leads a lively discussion during the Forum

The Workshop and Forum included enthusiastic participants from airlines, maintenance organisations, regulators, and universities and other training organisations. They came mainly from Asia and Europe.

I came away encouraged as well as informed. In the Workshop I was encouraged by the calibre and commitment of the universities and other training organisations. In the Forum I was encouraged by the honest presentations and discussions on SMS, which would also have pleased SMS expert Rob Collins. Like the title of his book, they were ‘Safety Management Without the Mumbo Jumbo’. IFA’s CEO, John Vincent, openly admitted the simplicity of SMS concepts — refreshing when the SMS ‘industry’ has a vested interest in complexity and mystery.

The title of my presentation was: ‘Seven Deadly Hazards: Does Your SMS Address Them?’. The hazards, mainly for structural maintenance, have tripped up others. See ‘Tech‘.

The annual conference is only one of the benefits of IFA membership. If you are passionate about airworthiness, why not join IFA? You can join on the IFA’s web site.

NANDTB Seminar on Aircraft Inspection and Maintenance

 

NDT and maintenance experts from around Australia met for two days of presentations, discussions and exhibitions on the theme of ‘Higher Standards, Better Compliance’. Mr Jeff Boyd, Chairman of the CASA Board, gave the Keynote Address.

I gave two presentations. The first was my own, on the ‘Fundamentals of Aircraft Fatigue‘. The second was a Textron presentation on ‘Cessna SIDs’.

You can find a PDF of my presentation in the list under ‘Tech‘.

ICAF 2017

In June I attended ICAF 2017, organised by the International Committee on Aeronautical Fatigue and Structural Integrity, in Nagoya, Japan. For more on ICAF and my active participation since 1995, please see my earlier post for ICAF 2015.

While there, to my surprise (and honour), ICAF’s General Secretary, Prof. Anders Blom, invited me to present the Plantema Memorial Lecture (the ‘keynote’) at the next ICAF Symposium, which will be held in June 2019 in Krakow, Poland.

Aviation Law Conference 2017

I attended this conference to help me keep in touch with the aviation lawyers who retain me as an expert witness.  Although I always leave the legal issues to the lawyers, as I should, because it is important I don’t interfere in matters outside my expertise, I feel it is also important to understand my main audience for when I write my expert reports and give evidence in court.

Please see my earlier post on the ‘Aviation Law Conference 2016’.

HOLSIP 2017

From 5th to 9th February 2017, I attended the 16th Annual Workshop on the Holistic Structural Integrity Process (HOLSIP) at Snowbird Lodge, near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.  For more about HOLSIP, please see my post below on ‘HOLSIP 2016’.

A highlight this year was the attendance of Dr Michael Gorelik, the FAA’s Chief Scientific and Technical Adviser on Fatigue and Damage Tolerance.  He presented a paper on Structural Integrity Considerations for Additive Manufacturing:

I appreciated Dr Gorelik helping me present a civil regulatory perspective in all the Workshop discussions.

Also helpful this year were presentations on ‘cold expansion’, a process to extend the fatigue life of structure, for which I am exploring opportunities to extend its application in Australia.

My presentation this year was Defining HOLSIP Holistically.  You can download a copy from the ‘Tech’ tab above.

Although Dr Hoeppner couldn’t attend in person (he participated by Skype), I was fortunate to be able to visit him:

Dr Hoeppner is one of the ‘greats’ in our business!  I’ve learned so much from him since we met thirty years ago.

I lose a friend and mentor

On 17 November 2016, the world lost a ‘world renowned aviation safety pioneer’, and I lost a great friend and mentor: Colin Torkington.  Here is Martin Aubury’s obituary for Colin, as it appeared in The Canberra Times:

Colin interviewed me for the job I started with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) way back in 1984.  We often worked together, including when we alerted Boeing, just weeks before the Aloha Airlines accident, of the need to warn airlines to inspect the fuselages of their 737s for fatigue cracks that could link up and cause structural failure, as happened.

Colin, I will miss you.  May you rest in peace.

International Military Airworthiness Regulation Conference (IMARC)

The inaugural International Military Airworthiness Regulation Conference was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia, on 14-15 November 2016.  The organisers, Australia’s new Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA), aimed to ‘provide both military and civilian Airworthiness Authorities and industry partners with a forum to gain insight into:

  • the benefits of an emerging global convention on airworthiness regulation,
  • the reasoning behind moving away from bespoke airworthiness systems, and
  • lessons learned from organisations that have transitioned to a new airworthiness system.’

I attended with 632 others from 25 nations.  It was exciting to see the international military airworthiness community come together to explore the benefits of an emerging global convention on airworthiness regulation.

Australia’s DASA has done a remarkable job of moving from cumbersome, prescriptive and unique airworthiness regulations to the streamlined, performance-based and harmonised Defence Aviation Safety Regulations (DASRs).  Rod Locket and I recommended such a move in our ‘ASI Strategic Review’ back in 2013.  I drafted Guidance Material and Acceptable Means of Compliance for the Aircraft Structural Integrity (ASI) aspects of the new DASRs.

Presentations are available from the DASA’s web site for the IMARC.

Congratulations to Air Commodore James Hood, Director General of the Defence Aviation Safety Authority, and his team, for their outstanding work managing the DASR project and organising this historic conference!

Australian Defence Force Aircraft Structural Integrity Symposium

From 16-18 November 2016, 130 of the world’s top military experts in Aircraft Structural Integrity (ASI) met at the Defence Science and Technology Group facility at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne, Australia.

Keynote Speaker was Dr. Larry Butkus, Chief Engineer of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, United States Air Force Research Laboratory.  He spoke on ‘USAF Responses to Contemporary Materials & Manufacturing Challenges in ASI’.  His slides, and those of the other 19 presentations, are on the Defence Aviation Safety Authority’s web site.

Mine, shown above, is also on my web site.  See ‘Tech‘.  It is about the lessons to be learned from two tragic fatal crashes in Australia in 2013.  Both involved structural failure caused by metal fatigue.