Safety management was also built into the organization. LHT does not plan complex tasks to be accomplished during the night shift in order to eliminate a possible human error. Design of job cards was validated by technicians to ensure instructions were clear and not misleading and work cards are also designed to always consider having illustrations. Hyperlinks are used in all of the troubleshooting manuals which eliminate such things as writing down a fault code incorrectly.
The current maintenance program on the Lufthansa Airline A380 calls for an R-module check to be accomplished daily. The S-service check is done weekly. The A-check is done each 750 flight hours. In the Lufthansa Airline maintenance program there is no C-check as the tasks are allocated by aircraft usage and are phased into the A-checks. Another new philosophy is the aircraft’s minimum equipment list (MEL). The old MEL style works down to the system level. The new MEL philosophy focuses on the electronic centralized aircraft monitor (ECAM) warning rather than the component.
We all know an important step when accomplishing maintenance on any aircraft system is the need to deactivate systems. This is traditionally done by physically pulling a circuit breaker and then installing a locking collar and/or a warning tag to alert others the system is deactivated and technicians are working in the area.
The A380 has what are called remote circuit breaker systems (RCBS) where you can deactivate a system, install an electronic warning tag, reactivate, and remove the electronic warning tag, all on the power distribution page of the onboard maintenance terminal (OMT). You are not physically pulling a circuit breaker. Access to the RCBS can be accomplished from onboard terminals and external computer hookups on the aircraft.
The steepest learning curve began 12 months prior to EIS. The length of the A380 type training course is 45 days. All technicians received this and the Trent 900 engine course. Most everyone received aircraft run-up training. But more importantly was the A380 fundamental technology course which went beyond the maintenance processes.
Spriesterbach explains the approach to technician training had to also be innovative and they asked the question early on what subjects the technicians needed to be educated on other than the traditional technical type training. Spriesterbach shares, “How do you manage 850 pieces of software in the aircraft that operate everything from the toilet flush control to the engine control?” The answer was to learn about those underlying systems not traditionally taught. Courses were taught in networking of computer systems and how to interact with the onboard information system for troubleshooting.
Some training courses were accomplished in Toulouse, France, in laboratory style settings using A380 maintenance simulators with 3-D modeling software to teach replacement of line replaceable units. Specific training was developed for items such as the aluminum wiring used in the aircraft and how to handle this type of wiring including properly disconnecting and reconnecting electrical connectors. Spriesterbach says, “Two weeks prior to the EIS of the first aircraft we held a training conference. Each technician was responsible to provide a presentation which described a specific maintenance task to entire group. These presentations were also placed in the KDB.”
Spriesterbach says, “You are very privileged to work in the A380 organization. 250 LHT technicians applied to work here and each one chosen is because they are highly motivated and it shows in the quality of work and everyone’s attitude.” The facility has a three-shift operation with a shift plan developed six weeks ahead of time.
Mike Storek, one of the maintenance supervisors, says, “I have a mixed group of electricians and mechanical technicians. The technicians do not have fixed shifts and depending on the work plan we rotate from one shift to another. Everyone is part of the planning process.” Storek says his career began in 1986 doing B737 maintenance.
Of the A380 maintenance organization he says, “I became part of this organization two years before the EIS of the first aircraft. It was a new experience and all the doors were open.”