Information about a selection of projects recently completed by McKechnie Aviation.
We worked with a new aircraft operator going through the process of applying for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in the United Kingdom.
Andrew McKechnie was responsible for the initial and recurrent training of Flight Crew. He developed and delivered the Operator’s Conversion Course (OCC) and the recurrent flight crew training programme. Andrew also provided assistance to the Director of Flight Operations with the development of operating procedures, production of Operations Manuals and the risk register.
The initial crew completed all required training on schedule and to the satisfaction of the CAA culminating in a successful ‘demonstration flight’.
Manuals for Corporate Operator
A client approached us to develop operations manuals for their non-commercial worldwide business jet operation. The manuals we provided met the applicable regulatory requirements and are a useful reference for management, operations staff and crew in day-to-day operations.
We included simple processes for safety management (SMS) so that the company could start using SMS principles to ensure that the service they provide for their internal clients achieves the same standards of safety as the best of the world’s international airlines.
The operating instructions for crew do not duplicate information available in the manuals provided in the aircraft manufacturers manuals (FCOM etc.) but provide the additional information that crew might need in normal and non-normal situations. This includes topics like fatigue management, cabin safety procedures, ground de-icing, carriage of dangerous goods and incident reporting. The manual also describes aircraft loading and performance using electronic flight bag (EFB) tools.
Inspector Training and Standardisation for a European Authority
The Authority had been through a major reorganisation process over the preceding six years. A large number of experts left the organisation during this time. In 2016 the Head of Flight Operations was aware that the processes for training and standardisation of Flight Operations Inspectors (FOIs) was not meeting the business needs of the organisation and was not fully aligned with European regulations for the qualification of FOIs. He approached McKechnie Aviation LTD to consult to the Flight Operations department because we have a detailed knowledge of the work of the Authority and the regulatory framework, but do not have any vested interests. He felt that we would be able to provide an objective assessment of the processes used within the department and propose solutions.
Working with a project manager we listed all of the tasks within the responsibility of the department and developed a matrix correlating those tasks to the different inspector ‘job titles’. We reviewed the current training framework and found that there was no consistency between the training for different ‘job titles’ even when the inspectors concerned were responsible for the same tasks, neither was the training provided adapted to the needs of individuals. The initial output of the project was a report proposing a new training methodology based on a modular training programme. A finite number of ‘knowledge-based’ and ‘skill-based’ courses would address the training needs for all inspectors and would allow greater flexibility in the use of inspectors, especially when new inspectors were recruited. Many of the required modules were already available within the Authority. The report also highlighted the opportunity for efficiency improvements by using external experts or inspectors from other national authorities for some tasks.
Following completion of the report we were invited to develop a proposal for the assessment of the continued competence of inspectors (‘standardisation’). This proposal was accepted, and implementation started in 2018.
EASA Rulemaking Task RMT.0379: All Weather Operations
The objective of this rulemaking task was to update the regulations for take-off and landing in restricted visibility to address technological advances and support new operational concepts. Existing rules were drafted in a ‘domain-centric manner’ and, in some cases, were not consistent across the different aviation domains (airworthiness, operations, air navigation, training, airports etc.). The management of EASA were keen to develop ‘performance-based regulations’ that would establish the necessary safety objectives to be met without being prescriptive about the means to achieve those objectives. Andrew McKechnie was invited to participate as a coordinator for the project and expert on Flight Operations (‘Independent External Expert’).
In order to have an objective basis for the assessment of existing and potential requirements we adopted the ‘System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes’ (‘STAMP’). As this was a new concept for EASA and the experts involved we invited a leading academic in the field to provide training and consultancy on STAMP. Working with the other experts Andrew used the STAMP model to evaluate the inter-dependencies between the various elements of the ‘total system’ for low-visibility approach operations and develop a list of eight hazards and corresponding safety constraints. These safety constraints were used to ‘validate’ the proposed rule set. The output of the project was a notice of proposed amendment (NPA 2018-06) containing revised regulations and standards for aerodromes, air operations, flight crew training and airworthiness. Proposals are being coordinated with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) so that updates to the international standards can be coordinated with changes to European regulation.
Once adopted the new regulations will allow the use of ‘enhanced vision systems’ to facilitate low-visibility approaches at airfields with limited ground facilities and will reduce the time and expense required for aircraft operators to be approved for low-visibility operations using autoland or head-up displays.
Training of Inspecting Staff for a European National Aviation Authority.
McKechnie Aviation was approached by a European National Aviation Authority to provide theoretical training for Flight Operations Inspectors. The scope of the training was the organisational requirements of the Air Operations and Aircrew Regulations and the Operational requirements for Commercial Air Transport Operators. Two separate modules were delivered consecutively over the course of a week. Flight Operations Inspectors and other NAA technical staff attended the training as did senior management personnel of several aircraft operators and training organisations (ATOs). This combined training provided a great opportunity to develop a common understanding of the regulations between industry and regulator.
Conduct of audits for potential ‘wet lease’ providers on behalf of a regional airline.
A UK regional airline had a need to lease-in additional capacity, but did not have the resources to develop the required procedures or conduct audits of potential wet-lease providers. McKechnie Aviation produced a ‘whitelisting’ procedure which was subsequently approved by the CAA. We then conducted audits of a number of ACMI operators and provided detailed reports to the client airline. In some cases the client went on to contract with the audited operators, in others not. In one case we prevented the client airline from contracting with a provider that did not have the aircraft it claimed. In other cases it meant that the client was able to take advantage of significant commercial opportunities for which it did not have the internal capacity.