A reliability program is a combination of statistics monitoring and records of events used to confirm the airworthiness of an aircraft. There are four basic elements of a successful reliability, which include: (Kapur & Pecht, 2014)
Test to failure to detect design weaknesses- the physical hardware components of aircraft should be taken through a highly accelerated life testing (HALT) which must be run to failure. The causes of failure will be used to improve subsequent designs
Manufacturing screening to ensure early life success- after testing, the problem can be analyzed to see whether the problem was in the manufacturing process and design to make the necessary adjustments.
Validation of the design after design verification- this step is for testing the success of any adjustments to manufacturing to meet the safety requirements
Ongoing reliability test-this element takes into consideration the continuous wear and tear cycle of components to make necessary adjustments before it is too late
Most aircraft accidents are caused by failures in some of its vital components. The engine is the most common failure in many aircraft accidents. Engine failures account for more than 22 percent of aircraft accidents. One aircraft accident that was a result of engine failure is the United States flight 232 that was flying from Denver to Chicago on July 19, 1989. The flight 232 crash was a horrific ordeal but with more than 185 of the 296 people on board surviving it was indeed a miracle (McEvily, Ishihara & Mutoh, 2016). The crash happened because the tail engine suffered a failure and the severing hydraulic lines malfunctioned rendering the plane uncontrollable. The average failure rate of gas turbine engines is 1.3 per million gas turbine powered flight hours. Recent studies show that the failure rates of gas turbine engines have decreased by 22.2 percent due to improved reliability programs. When technicians reviewed the malfunctioning hydraulic lines, they concluded that the problem might have ensued from a crack in the fan disk, which was a mistake from the manufacturers. Poor reliability testing is what leads these types of complications. Recommendations for avoiding crashes in the future include the intensification of the engine inspection process. In addition, redundant systems should be eliminated from aircraft to promote future safety. For instance, the DC-10 hydraulic systems that magnified the crash of 1989 have been phased out by many airlines (McEvily, Ishihara & Mutoh, 2016). Manufacturing companies should employ the test to failure technique to detect any weaknesses in their equipment.
Every aviation service provider must perform regular quality assurance audits to make sure that operations are running to the stipulated standards. The function of a quality assurance audit in aviation is to measure the appropriateness of the services being offered to the customers by checking the compliance to the regulatory requirements. The audit determines if the aircraft are suitable and have the required safety standards to ferry people. Quality assurance is necessary for all air navigation providers. The quality assurance regulation states that all air navigation service (ANS) providers must have a quality assurance programme that contains methods designed to ascertain that all operations and services are being conducted in strict accordance with the applicable requirements and standards (Palagin et al., 2017).
All special reports should be compiled and disseminated to the air traffic service (ATS) units by the pilots. The ATS then relays them to their respective meteorological watch offices. The meteorological watch offices then prepare a SIGMET, which is communicated back to the plane and other weather stations nearby. The airport authority then disseminates the final report to the safety regulatory authorities for documentation (Palagin et al., 2017).
Kapur, K. C., & Pecht, M. (2014). Reliability engineering. John Wiley & Sons.
McEvily, A. J., Ishihara, S., & Mutoh, Y. (2016). 1989 DC-10 crash: A cold case mystery solved. Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 157, 154-165.
Palagin, Y. I., Horoshavtsev, Y. E., Starichenkov, A. L., Ushakov, A. P., & Pisarenko, V. N. (2017). Aircraft Technical Operation Quality Management. Quality-Access to Success, 18(159).
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