It is my pleasure to contribute to the Aviation Safety Letter (ASL). This quarterly publication is a major element of the Civil Aviation Directorate's overall communications strategy, and has the potential to help all of us see how our own responsibilities mesh with those of our colleagues in other branches. Such a broad viewpoint is essential as we move into the more integrated world of safety management.
In preparation for the organizational changes that will position the Directorate to better deliver its programs in the new safety management environment, the role of the Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch is currently changing to one in which it will form a part of a larger standards developing unit, concerned not only with maintenance and manufacturing standards, but also with those relating to commercial and business aviation, airports, and air traffic services (ATS). However, this is an ongoing process, and my colleagues have already covered some of these functions in other editorials, so at this time I will restrict myself to the traditional role of the Branch within the Civil Aviation Directorate.
The Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch consists of approximately 40 staff in headquarters, and a further 280 staff distributed across the regions. The Pacific, Prairie and Northern, Ontario and Atlantic Regions each have a Manager of Maintenance and Manufacturing, while the Quebec Region, because of the concentration of manufacturing activity in the Montréal area, has separate managers for the maintenance and the manufacturing functions. The Branch is primarily responsible for the development and application of regulations and standards related to the production maintenance by approved maintenance organizations (AMO) and aircraft maintenance engineers (AME), but also the management and scheduling of maintenance by aircraft owners and operators. It encompasses such things as air operator technical dispatch requirements, the licensing and training of AMEs, the approval of aircraft maintenance schedules, and the oversight of industry activities related to these areas.
Like other branches, we are currently involved in the introduction of safety management systems (SMS) in accordance with the civil aviation strategy outlined in Flight 2010. Like those other branches, we too have our own unique challenges in this regard. On the one hand, because of our long experience with quality assurance (QA) programs, we have a head start on some of the QA aspects of safety management. On the other hand, most of this experience was with the reactive aspects of QA, and was focussed primarily on the actual man-machine interface. Only recently have we been involved with the subtleties of human and organizational relationships, and proactive hazard identification across a wider organizational spectrum. Also, some of the forward-looking program improvement elements of flight safety programs are new to us. In this respect, the addition of expertise from other branches will be particularly welcome, which provides a good illustration of the way in which the new organizational structure will support this new, more integrated approach to safety management.
These truly are exciting times for our industry, and together with all of the staff of the Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch, I look forward to working closely with our colleagues from the other specialty areas to deliver a truly effective, coordinated, Civil Aviation Program.
I invite you to take a look at the Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch's Web site at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/maintenance-menu.htm.
D. B. Sherritt
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