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.