Special Issue "Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges (Volume II)"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Kyriakos I. Kourousis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor)
School of Engineering, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland
Interests: continuing airworthiness management; aircraft engineering, maintenance and technical support; aviation safety; defence engineering and support; engineering education and training
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The “Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges” Special Issue will cover a broad range of contemporary issues and research conducted in the fields of initial and continuing airworthiness, both in the civil and military aviation. This Special Issue offers the opportunity to academics, researchers, and industry practitioners working in the broader airworthiness area to publish their original research and review articles.

Particular emphasis will be placed on state-of-the-art review works and theoretical, experimental, computational research, and applied engineering work conducted on the following:

Initial Airworthiness

  • Aircraft and aeronautical components testing and certification;
  • Qualification and certification of new technologies, i.e., supersonic transport aircraft, electric, and hybrid propulsion aircraft, etc.
  • Certification of systems specific to military aircraft;
  • Qualification and certification of additively manufactured metallic and non-metallic safe/non-safety critical aircraft parts;
  • Advanced testing and computational techniques for composite aircraft testing and certification;
  • Reliability engineering methodologies and practice in aircraft design and engineering changes;
  • Safety and risk assessment methodologies and practice in aircraft development;
  • Human factors’ considerations in aircraft design.

Continuing Airworthiness

  • Safety and risk assessment in aircraft flight and technical operations;
  • Reliability analysis of aircraft systems and components;
  • Continuing airworthiness management practice in civil and military aviation;
  • Development and optimization of aircraft maintenance programs;
  • Development and optimization of military aircraft structural integrity (ASI) management programs;
  • Effective and efficient inspection and sustainment techniques for composite aircraft;
  • Human factors in aircraft maintenance and operations;
  • Safety management effectiveness in flight and technical operations;
  • Quality management and optimization in aircraft maintenance organizations;
  • Aircraft technical and non-technical cost analysis and estimation techniques.

This is the follow-up Special Issue “Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges” (Volume II), which offers the opportunity for academics and research and industry practitioners to contribute their work on this highly important aeronautical engineering and aviation practice field.

Dr. Kyriakos I. Kourousis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Special Issue: Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges (Volume II)
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020046 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 747
Abstract
Effective safety management has always been a key objective for the broader airworthiness sector [...] Full article
Editorial
Airlift Maintenance and Sustainment: The Indirect Costs
Aerospace 2020, 7(9), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090130 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
This article aims to present and discuss a set of technical matters affecting the maintenance and sustainment cost of military transport aircraft (airlifters). An overview of the military aviation technical support system is provided, in conjunction with a high level discussion on the [...] Read more.
This article aims to present and discuss a set of technical matters affecting the maintenance and sustainment cost of military transport aircraft (airlifters). An overview of the military aviation technical support system is provided, in conjunction with a high level discussion on the life cycle cost. Four technical support pillars are defined as part of this analysis: supply, restoration and upgrade, engineering and regulatory compliance. A focused discussion on airlift sustainment factors, based on past experience, is used to identify technical considerations that can be used for the evaluation of new aircraft. A number of technical considerations which are key for cost purposes are identified and mapped against the defined technical support pillars, related to engineering and technical support and airworthiness management aspects. Important practical technical considerations are identified, discussed and critiqued under an independent lens. This article can stimulate discussion of the maintenance and sustainment costs of airlifters, both within military aviation operators and the defence industry community but also within the civil aircraft maintenance industry. Full article
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Research

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Article
Analysis of Continuing Airworthiness Occurrences under the Prism of a Learning Framework
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020041 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 852
Abstract
In this research paper fifteen mandatory occurrence reports are analysed. The purpose of this is to highlight the learning potential incidents such as these may possess for organisations involved in aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness management activities. The outputs from the mandatory occurrence [...] Read more.
In this research paper fifteen mandatory occurrence reports are analysed. The purpose of this is to highlight the learning potential incidents such as these may possess for organisations involved in aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness management activities. The outputs from the mandatory occurrence reports are aligned in tabular form for ease of inclusion in human factors’ continuation training material. A new incident learning archetype is also introduced, which intends to represent how reported incidents can be managed and translated into lessons in support of preventing event recurrence. This ‘learning product’ centric model visually articulates activities such as capturing the reported information, establishing causation and the iterative nature of developing a learning product. Full article
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Article
Learning from Incidents: A Qualitative Study in the Continuing Airworthiness Sector
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020027 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1202
Abstract
Learning from incidents (LFI) is a useful approach when examining past events and developing measures to prevent ensuing recurrence. Although the reporting of incidents in the aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness domain is well appointed, it is often unclear how the maximum effect [...] Read more.
Learning from incidents (LFI) is a useful approach when examining past events and developing measures to prevent ensuing recurrence. Although the reporting of incidents in the aircraft maintenance and continuing airworthiness domain is well appointed, it is often unclear how the maximum effect of safety data can be efficaciously applied in support of LFI in the area. From semi-structured interviews, with thirty-four participants, the gathered data were thematically analyzed with the support of NVivo software. This study establishes a relationship between an incident in its lifecycle and the learning process. The main aim of this work is to elucidate factors that enable LFI. The analysis of the data revealed, for example, the benefits of a just culture and the use of formal continuation training programs in this respect. Moreover, it identified limitations inherent in current processes such as poor event causation and poorly designed learning syllabi. Additionally, aspects such as a lack of regulatory requirements for competence in the areas of learning for managers and accountable persons currently exist. This thematic analysis could be used in support of organizations examining their own processes for learning from incidents. Additionally, it can support the development of terms of reference for a continuing airworthiness regulatory working group to examine, strengthen and better apply LFI in the aviation industry. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Aircraft Maintenance Related Accidents and Serious Incidents in Nigeria
Aerospace 2020, 7(12), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7120178 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
The maintenance of aircraft presents considerable challenges to the personnel that maintain them. Challenges such as time pressure, system complexity, sparse feedback, cramped workspaces, etc., are being faced by these personnel on a daily basis. Some of these challenges cause aircraft-maintenance-related accidents and [...] Read more.
The maintenance of aircraft presents considerable challenges to the personnel that maintain them. Challenges such as time pressure, system complexity, sparse feedback, cramped workspaces, etc., are being faced by these personnel on a daily basis. Some of these challenges cause aircraft-maintenance-related accidents and serious incidents. However, there is little formal empirical work that describes the influence of aircraft maintenance to aircraft accidents and incidents in Nigeria. This study, therefore, sets out to explore the contributory factors to aircraft-maintenance-related incidents from 2006 to 2019 and accidents from 2009 to 2019 in Nigeria, to achieve a deeper understanding of this safety critical aspect of the aviation industry, create awareness amongst the relevant stakeholders and seek possible mitigating factors. To attain this, a content analysis of accident reports and mandatory occurrence reports, which occurred in Nigeria, was carried out using the Maintenance Factors and Analysis Classification System (MxFACS) and Hieminga’s maintenance incidents taxonomy. An inter-rater concordance value was used to ascertain research accuracy after evaluation of the data output by subject matter experts. The highest occurring maintenance-related incidents and accidents were attributed to “removal/installation”, working practices such as “accumulation of dirt and contamination”, “inspection/testing”, “inadequate oversight from operator and regulator”, “failure to follow procedures” and “incorrect maintenance”. To identify the root cause of these results, maintenance engineers were consulted via a survey to understand the root causes of these contributory factors. The results of the study revealed that the most common maintenance-related accidents and serious incidents in the last decade are “collision with terrain” and “landing gear events’’. The most frequent failures at systems level resulting in accidents are the “engines” and “airframe structure”. The maintenance factors with the highest contribution to these accidents are “operator and regulatory oversight”, “inadequate inspection” and “failure to follow procedures”. The research also highlights that the highest causal and contributory factors to aviation incidents in Nigeria from 2006 to 2019 are “installation/removal issues”, “inspection/testing issues”, “working practices”, “job close up”, “lubrication and servicing”, all of which corresponds to studies by other researchers in other countries. Full article
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Article
Integration-In-Totality: The 7th System Safety Principle Based on Systems Thinking in Aerospace Safety
Aerospace 2020, 7(10), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7100149 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
Safety is of paramount concern in aerospace and aviation. Safety has evolved over the years, from the technical era to the human-factors era and organizational era, and finally to the present era of systems-thinking. Building upon three foundational concepts of systems-thinking, a new [...] Read more.
Safety is of paramount concern in aerospace and aviation. Safety has evolved over the years, from the technical era to the human-factors era and organizational era, and finally to the present era of systems-thinking. Building upon three foundational concepts of systems-thinking, a new safety concept called “integration-in-totality principle” is propounded in this article as part of a “seven-principles-framework of system safety”, to act as an integrated framework to visualize and model system safety. The integration-in-totality principle concept addresses the need to have a holistic ‘vertical and horizontal integration’, which is a key tenet of systems thinking. The integration-in-totality principle is illustrated and elucidated with the help of a simple “Rubik’s cube model of integration-in-totality principle” with three orthogonal axes, the ‘axis of perspective’ of vertical integration, and the two ‘axes of perception and performance’ of horizontal integration. Safety analysis along the three axes with a ‘bidirectional synthesis’ and ‘continuum approach’ is further elaborated with relevant case studies, one among them related to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft twin disasters. Safety is directly linked to quality, reliability and risk, through a self-reinforcing reflexive paradigm, and airworthiness assurance is the process through which safety concepts are embedded in a multidisciplinary aviation environment where the system of systems is seamlessly operating. The article explains how the system safety principle of integration-in-totality is related to reliability and airworthiness of an aerospace system with the help of the ‘V-model of systems engineering’. The article also establishes the linkage between integration-in-totality principle and strategic quality management, thus bridging the gap between two parallel fields of knowledge. Full article
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Article
A Preliminary Investigation of Maintenance Contributions to Commercial Air Transport Accidents
Aerospace 2020, 7(9), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090129 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Aircraft maintenance includes all the tasks needed to ensure an aircraft’s continuing airworthiness. Accidents that result from these maintenance activities can be used to assess safety. This research seeks to undertake a preliminary investigation of accidents that have maintenance contributions. An exploratory design [...] Read more.
Aircraft maintenance includes all the tasks needed to ensure an aircraft’s continuing airworthiness. Accidents that result from these maintenance activities can be used to assess safety. This research seeks to undertake a preliminary investigation of accidents that have maintenance contributions. An exploratory design was utilized, which commenced with a content analysis of the accidents with maintenance contributions (n = 35) in the official ICAO accident data set (N = 1277), followed by a quantitative ex-post facto study. Results showed that maintenance contributions are involved in 2.8 ± 0.9% of ICAO official accidents. Maintenance accidents were also found to be more likely to have one or more fatalities (20%), compared to all ICAO official accidents (14.7%). The number of accidents with maintenance contributions per year was also found to have reduced over the period of the study; this rate was statistically significantly greater than for all accidents (5%/year, relative to 2%/year). Results showed that aircraft between 10 and 20 years old were most commonly involved in accidents with maintenance contributions, while aircraft older than 18 years were more likely to result in a hull loss, and aircraft older than 34 years were more likely to result in a fatality. Full article
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Article
A Systematic Methodology for Developing Bowtie in Risk Assessment: Application to Borescope Inspection
Aerospace 2020, 7(7), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7070086 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
Background—Bowtie analysis is a broadly used tool in risk management to identify root causes and consequences of hazards and show barriers that can prevent or mitigate the events to happen. Limitations of the method are reliance on judgement and an ad hoc development [...] Read more.
Background—Bowtie analysis is a broadly used tool in risk management to identify root causes and consequences of hazards and show barriers that can prevent or mitigate the events to happen. Limitations of the method are reliance on judgement and an ad hoc development process. Purpose—Systematic approaches are needed to identify threats and consequences, and to ascertain mitigation and prevention barriers. Results—A new conceptual framework is introduced by combining the Bowtie method with the 6M structure of Ishikawa to categorise the threats, consequences and barriers. The method is developed for visual inspection of gas turbine components, for which an example is provided. Originality—Provision of a more systematic methodology has the potential to result in more comprehensive Bowtie risk assessments, with less chance of serious omissions. The method is expected to find application in the broader industry, and to support operators who are non-risk experts but have application-specific knowledge, when performing Bowtie risk assessment. Full article
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Article
Winging It: Key Issues and Perceptions around Regulation and Practice of Aircraft Maintenance in Australian General Aviation
Aerospace 2020, 7(6), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7060084 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2134
Abstract
The very diverse character of General Aviation (GA) within Australia poses challenges for its effective management of risk and safety in the sector. Improvements for human performance and perceptions of safety within the maintenance environment are among the areas which regulators have targeted [...] Read more.
The very diverse character of General Aviation (GA) within Australia poses challenges for its effective management of risk and safety in the sector. Improvements for human performance and perceptions of safety within the maintenance environment are among the areas which regulators have targeted for continuous improvement. This paper provides a timely empirical exploration of maintenance engineer perspectives around: (1) Changes in the role of the regulator/regulation that have impacted the sector and diminished safe operations; and (2) specific practical and operational challenges that the GA industry must deal with to sustain safe operations going forward. A thematic analysis of transcribed qualitative data revealed five key themes and identified a number of key issues from sector changes including a decline in training and education, drift in working practices, and wider power-distance gap. Issues with auditing and bureaucratization, negative safety climate, and underlying values and philosophies were also found. Practical and operational challenges going forward included an array of concerns associated with safety, the mismatch between GA and commercial aviation, workforce development and the financial burden in the sector. The results draw attention to the interconnectedness between various components of the GA system, and carry timely implications for regulation in the GA sector. Future research directions are discussed. Full article
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Article
A Contemporary Analysis of Aircraft Maintenance-Related Accidents and Serious Incidents
Aerospace 2020, 7(6), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7060081 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2226
Abstract
Aircraft maintenance has been identified as a key point of concern within many high-risk areas of aviation; still being a casual/contributory factor in a number of accidents and serious incidents in commercial air transport industry. The purpose of this study is to review [...] Read more.
Aircraft maintenance has been identified as a key point of concern within many high-risk areas of aviation; still being a casual/contributory factor in a number of accidents and serious incidents in commercial air transport industry. The purpose of this study is to review and analyse the aircraft maintenance-related accidents and serious incidents which occurred between 2003 and 2017, to provide a better understanding of the causal and contributory factors. To achieve this, a dataset of maintenance-related accidents and serious incidents was compiled and then qualitatively analysed by thematic analysis method. Coding these events by using NVivo software enabled the development of a taxonomy, MxFACS. The coded output was then evaluated by subject matter experts, and an inter-rater concordance value determined to demonstrate the rigour of the research process. Subsequently, the events were evaluated in terms of their relationship to known accident categories such as loss of control, runway excursions. The most frequent maintenance event consequences were found to be runway excursions and air turnbacks, with the second level categories being related to failures in engine and landing gear systems. The greatest maintenance factor issues were ‘inadequate maintenance procedures’ and ‘inspections not identifying defects’. In terms of fatalities, ‘collision events’ were the most prominent consequence, ‘engine-related events’ were the most significant event, and ‘inadequate maintenance procedures’ were the most concerning maintenance factor. The study’s findings may be used in conjunction with existing risk analysis methodologies and enable the stakeholders to develop generic or customised bowties. This may identify the existing barriers in the system as well as weaknesses which will enable the development of mitigation strategies on both organisational and industry-wide levels. Full article
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Review

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Review
Development of the Minimum Equipment List: Current Practice and the Need for Standardisation
Aerospace 2020, 7(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7010007 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3512
Abstract
As part of the airworthiness requirements, an aircraft cannot be dispatched with an inoperative equipment or system unless this is allowed by the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) under any applicable conditions. Commonly, the MEL mirrors the Master MEL (MMEL), which is developed by [...] Read more.
As part of the airworthiness requirements, an aircraft cannot be dispatched with an inoperative equipment or system unless this is allowed by the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) under any applicable conditions. Commonly, the MEL mirrors the Master MEL (MMEL), which is developed by the manufacturer and approved by the regulator. However, the increasing complexity of aircraft systems and the diversity of operational requirements, environmental conditions, fleet configuration, etc. necessitates a tailored approach to developing the MEL. While it is the responsibility of every aircraft operator to ensure the airworthiness of their aircraft, regulators are also required to publish guidelines to help operators develop their MELs. Currently, there is no approved standard to develop a MEL, and this poses a challenge to both aviation regulators and aircraft operators. This paper reviews current MEL literature, standards and processes as well as MEL related accidents/incidents to offer an overview of the present state of the MEL development and use and reinstate the need for a systematic approach. Furthermore, this paper exposes the paucity of MEL related literature and the ambiguity in MEL regulations. In addition, it was found that inadequate training and guidance on the development and use of MEL as well as lack of prior experience in airworthiness topics can lead to mismanagement and misapplication of the MEL. Considering the challenges outlined above, this study proposes the combination of system engineering and socio-technical system approaches for the development of a MEL. Full article
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