Printed headline: Managing Risk
While not identified as a “high-risk safety issue,” aviation maintenance is a factor in some key risk areas, including aircraft upset and aircraft environment, according to EASA’s annual safety review.
Through its Annual Safety Review, EASA publishes data that drives its European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS)—a road map and key component of Europe’s safety management system. For maintenance, the 2018-22 EPAS, published in November 2017, dictates a comprehensive review of Part 66 aircraft maintenance licensing, Part 147 maintenance training organization approvals and Part 145 maintenance organization approvals, with an eye toward performance-based rulemaking and risk-based oversight. Those initiatives were ostensibly created based on the safety trends identified in the Annual Safety Review.
The Annual Safety Review is part of a multi-step EPAS development process that includes identifying issues through review and analysis of occurrence data, formal assessment and prioritization, development of proposed actions by key stakeholders, and implementation through oversight, research, rulemaking or safety promotion. The Annual Safety Review formalizes the last step in the process, reporting performance measurements and identifying safety trends and key risk areas.
Undesirable outcomes (e.g., an accident) and the immediate precursor to that outcome are identified in the review as key risk areas. For commercial aircraft operations, the top risk areas include aircraft upset, runway excursions, injury, security, runway collision, airborne collision, aircraft environment, ground collision, taxiway excursion, terrain collision and obstacle collision.
Safety issues, including aviation maintenance, are plotted against the identified risk areas and listed according to priority. Maintenance is classified as a priority 3 (out of 4) and, according to the data, most often contributes to negative outcomes related to aircraft upset (loss of control) and aircraft environment. Accounting for a smaller number of aviation maintenance-related occurrences are runway excursion, injury or damages and terrain collision.
EASA is careful to point out that the purpose of the dataset is to identify key safety areas—it should not be construed as a risk determination. The system layers on additional analysis, including consideration of contributing factors and level of control over the safety issue, before determining what areas pose the greatest risk. That analysis is what ultimately acts as the basis for EPAS development.
EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky says the report will continue to evolve with the release of a new big-data program, Data4Safety (D4S). The information platform will collect, aggregate and analyze voluntarily shared data—an approach supported by 92% of industry according to a 2015 feasibility study.
Once integrated into the European System, D4S will be the main feeder for EPAS development, which will better support performance-based regulation and a more predictive system. Full Data4Safety deployment is scheduled for 2020.