We have been waiting for the new AC 145 – 10 Training Advisory Circular for a number of years and now it has arrived. The deadline for compliance will vary as per the advisory circular but April 6, 2006 is the first date that is in effect for the training requirement, less than five months away.
The advisory circular is a guide on how to develop and tailor a training program that is beneficial to individual repair stations. There are a lot of good ideas and examples on how this can be done. When you read through the advisory circular there are notes about FAA requirements and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requirements. The FAA maintenance human factors training requirements are for managers and support staff who perform maintenance (including inspection), preventative maintenance, and alteration duties. If your shop is EASA approved, the bilateral agreement states that all staff including repair station owners need to participate in human factors workshops (initial and recurrent) every two years.
Benefits of Training
Training is a necessary component of our dynamic and ever-changing industry. Pilots have had mandatory initial and recurrent training for years.
How is it that maintenance technicians and managers have slipped through the cracks? Professionals in other occupations must take training to maintain their licenses to practice. Different professions have varying requirements for annual continuous education training measured in continuous education units (CEUs) based on the length of the actual training class.
We often see case studies of very successful airlines and repair stations that have proven that the investment they make in their employees by providing them with excellent training and support is worthwhile. Employee feedback and ideas pay back tenfold. The paradigm shift is to support their feedback and ideas. Invest in your employees and their careers then take a moment to step back, as there is nothing like seeing an educated and motivated technician succeed. Measurable benefits such as improved efficiency, reduction in errors, reduction in re-work, and improved communications are but a few of the benefits companies have realized.
I have just facilitated human factors training for an organization that has 70 employees. After the training was completed, I spoke with the director of maintenance who noted that its maintenance training budget increased from $0 to $250,000 in the last year. Since implementing the human factors training program, employee turnover has been reduced, morale is higher than ever before, and production has improved substantially. The bottom line: the profit margin has increased accordingly.
Despite the proven pay back for an investment in training, there are still shop owners who look for the easiest and cheapest way to comply with any regulatory requirements for training. In the case of human factors training, this mentality will not work. In order for human factors training to be effective, owners and senior managers must buy in to the program and give it the priority and budget necessary to implement an effective human factors program. If upper management does not create and support a corporate culture that fosters human factors awareness, the money invested toward human factors training will be spent in vain.
Human factors training for aviation maintenance managers and technicians is not only a requirement of the new advisory circular but it is also a critical element of a safety management program (which will be a requirement by the FAA in a few years and already is required in Canada).
Safety Management System
A safety management system (SMS) is a systematic business-like approach to organizational safety and a comprehensive process for the management of safety risks. Similar to all management systems, a SMS provides a framework for goal setting, planning, and measuring performance. A company’s SMS defines how it intends to manage a safety program and to be conducive as an integral part of the company’s business management activities. A SMS is woven into the fabric of an organization. It becomes part of the culture; the way people do their jobs.
Developing a safety culture and measuring the benefits
Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) A process to help reduce maintenance errors By Joe Escobar April 2001 April 28, 1988 — an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 lost 20 feet off the...