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.

Aviation Law Conference 2016

Aviation Law Conference 2016

I was on the Conference Organising Committee, and was also a speaker.  120 attended, mostly lawyers (as you would expect at a law conference).  It was a great three days!

These were the sessions:

  1. Air Service Agreements and Liberalisation
  2. Asia Pacific Update
  3. David Boughen Memorial Address (Kim Murray, Barrister, Lambton Chambers, NZ)
  4. Topical Mix: Western Sydney Airport, Conflict Zones, Emissions Trading and OneSKY
  5. Aviation Defence Contracting
  6. Outcome Based Safety Regulation (Panel Session)
  7. Is Private Flying a Dangerous Recreational Activity?
  8. Litigation and Insurance Update
  9. MH370 Update
  10. Major Accident Hypothetical (led by Karen Middleton, writer, editor and broadcaster).

The conference dinner was held in the Australian War Memorial, under the wings of First World War Aircraft.  There was a tour of Canberra Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower and Fire Fighting Facilities.

I was the third speaker in Session 6, the Panel on ‘Outcome Based Regulation’.  I asked the question: ‘Is Outcome Based Regulation good for aircraft structural maintenance?’.  With me on the panel were Professor Neil Gunningham, from the Australian National University, and Dr Jonathan Aleck, CASA’s General Manager of Legal Affairs, Regulatory Policy and International Strategy.

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


From 21st to 25th February 2016, I attended the 15th annual Workshop on the Holistic Structural Integrity Process (HOLSIP).  It was held at Snowbird Lodge, near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

What is HOLSIP?  Here are three quotes from the HOLSIP web site:

  • HOLSIP is based on the fundamental idea that failure modes or mechanisms are interconnected
  • HOLSIP is a physics based structural integrity design approach
  • HOLSIP considers all fracture mechanisms for monotonic loading with consideration of the intrinsic nature of solids.

26 attended the Workshop, which discussed how managing structural integrity more holistically could improve safety and economy.  They came from the USA, Canada, Australia (me), Japan, Israel and Poland.

Professor Hoeppner, the 'father' of HOLSIP, presenting at the workshop
Professor Hoeppner, the ‘father’ of HOLSIP, presenting at the Workshop

Many more joined us on one of the days, from nearby Hill Air Force Base.  On that day, I gave a presentation called Designer’s Secrets Maintainers Should Know.  I used the same slides that I used for the IFA Forum in Hong Kong, in November 2015, but changed the delivery to suit the different audience (designers instead of maintainers) and emphasis (HOLSIP).

You can download a copy from the ‘Papers’ tab above.

ASIP 2015 Conference


From 1-3 December 2015, I attended the ASIP 2015 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, USA.  (‘ASIP’ is short for Aircraft Structural Integrity Program’.)  It was a good conference: very well run, with good presentations.

Near the end of the conference, in my role with the International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA), I had the pleasure of helping present the IFA’s Whittle Safety Award to Ms Beth Gamble from Textron Aviation, formerly Cessna.  My fellow presenter was Mr John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board, and now IFA’s Vice-President for the Americas.

After John introduced IFA, I told the conference’s 240 experts in structural airworthiness (Beth’s peers) how she had excelled:

“Beth’s designed more ‘damage-tolerance-based’ structural inspection programs, for more aircraft types, for more aircraft in the world, than anyone else!  She’s wrestled with the engineering challenge of old designs and materials.  And, she’s stared down the political challenge of industry opposition so strong that her national airworthiness authority relented, leaving her to promote the safety value of her programs alone.  She has already been rewarded, inwardly, by her programs finding life-threatening cracks.  But, the IFA also wants to publicly honour her persistence, passion and professionalism.  Beth has saved the lives of many air travellers!”

Version 2

For more about the ASIP conference, click here.  For more about IFA and the Whittle Safety Award, click here.

P.S. I received the Whittle Safety Award in 2007.

IFA Forum on Critical Interfaces for Continuing Airworthiness


From 3-4 November 2015, the International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA) held its annual Workshop and Forum in Hong Kong, at the headquarters of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department.

Ninety participants from Asia and around the world explored together the theme: ‘Continuing Airworthiness – Critical Interfaces’.  The topics were:

  • Risk-based oversight
  • The critical interface between design and maintenance
  • The critical interface between operation and maintenance
  • The critical interface between an operator and its maintenance subcontractor.

My presentation was called: ‘Designer’s Secrets Maintainers Should Know’.  Please click the ‘Papers’ tab to find it.  The other presentations are available in the Members area of the IFA’s web site.  It’s one more reason to join the IFA!

ICAF 2015

A major event on the airworthiness calendar this June is the 34th Conference and the 28th Symposium of the International Committee on Aeronautical Fatigue and Structural Integrity (ICAF) in Helsinki, Finland.

ICAF is the leading international conference on all aspects of aeronautical fatigue and structural integrity.  It attracts leaders from the entire aeronautical industry, important research laboratories, military specialists, members of the academia, regulatory agencies, and aircraft operators.

I have attended every ICAF since 1995.  I presented papers at:

I continue to attend international conferences like ICAF because I want to offer you the world’s latest and best advice on airframe airworthiness for your project, training or legal matter.