Safety Issues (non-airworthiness)

This category contains 11 posts

Updated Agenda for Int’l Safety Conference

Today, EASA issued an updated agenda for the 2013 EASA / FAA International Aviation Safety Conference.  The Conference is the annual meeting among EASA, FAA, TCCA and other regulators to discuss new paradigms in regulatory oversight.  This meeting directly impacts the aviation industry, which is the subject of this regulatory oversight!

The updated agenda provides better guidance on what to expect from the 2013 meeting.

Sessions that will be interesting to member of the PMA manufacturing community will include:

  • New Technology: A Challenge for Regulators
  • Safety Management and Global Harmonisation
  • Safety Continuum: Regional flexibility vs Global Harmonization?
  • Performance Based Oversight
  • Rulemaking Cooperation: towards a Regulatory Framework Based on Safety Oversight Data
  • The New Normal: Strategies for Safety Success in Fiscally Challenging Times
  • Compliance Assurance
  • Global Production: The New Reality

MARPA will be there and will be reporting on the new directions proposed by the regulators.

Still Cleaning Up After Sandy? Be Sure Your Employees are Protected!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been supporting clean-up efforts in the wake of Hurrican Sandy. MARPA members who are affected, and who may still be in clean-up mode, should pay heed to the OSHA guidance about protecting employees from hazards.

With the passage of time, it is easy to forget about the hazards that remain in the wake of the storm. It is particularly important to remember that new hazards can also arise, like contamination hazards. Businesses should be cognizant of these hazards and should take steps to prottect employees from the hazards,

Common hazards include downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators, fall and “struck-by” hazards from tree trimming or working at heights, being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces, burns, lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, being struck by traffic or heavy equipment, and encountering contaminated water during flood cleanup.

Protective measures involve evaluating the work area for all hazards; assuming all power lines are live; following safe practices when doing tree work; using fall protection and proper ladder safety when working at heights; task specific exposure monitoring; and utilizing proper precautions for traffic work zones.

OSHA has emergency aid for both employees and businesses. Click here for a list of emergency aid available to those affected by the storm.

MARPA’s sympathies go out to our affected members. If there is anything that the Association can do to assist, please feel free to contact us!

If you need to contact OSHA for an emergency situation, please call the toll-free hotline 1-800-321-OSHA.

How Might REACH (European Environmental Regulations) Affect Your Business?

The U.S. Commerce Department will hold a webinar on November 29 to discuss the effect of European Evironmental Regulations on  U.S. Aerospace companies.

The European Union has a regulation called the REACH regulation.  REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of CHemicals.

REACH imposes certain obligations on companies that manufacture certain chemicals in Europe, and on companies that import certain chemicals into Europe.  Under REACH, the continued marketing of substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) requires an authorization. Businesses active in the aerospace marketplace use a number of substances that are being considered for SVHC classification, and unauthorized import into Europe of such substances could violate REACH.

For more information, see the notice on the Commerce Department website.

PBDE Ban Could Affect the Flame Retardants in Aircraft Parts

Are your flame retardant chemicals about to be banned?

Earlier this year, EPA proposed a rule banning certain polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs).  These are flame retardant chemicals used in certain plastics, including in aircraft interiors.  There have been a number of studies focused on the whether passenger or crew exposure  to PBDEs in the aircraft could pose a danger.

Earlier this year, the US government published a proposed rule that would ban the manufacture, importation, and processing of decaBDE, a flame retardant.  The rule could impact manufacturers and suppliers of aviation parts that contain decaBDE.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on April 2, 2012, and the comment period closed on July 30, 2012.  You can find information here:

If you have an interest in this rule or would like to hear more about it, please contact Sarah Breslin  of the Small Business Administration at (202) 292-3410 or

MARPA Annual Conference Hotel Information – Reserve Your Room Before They Sell Out

The MARPA 2012 Conference will be held October 3-5, 2012 at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel.  Please make your reservations early for the Conference: the hotel has sold out early for the past several years and we expect the hotel to sell out again this year.

We have negotiated a room rate of $129.00 per night (not including taxes) for single/double occupancy. This rate applies on a limited basis for rooms up to three days before and after the event, for those who wish to extend their stay.  This is the lowest rate available to any group at the Conference Hotel during this time period!

In order to qualify for this special rate, you must book your room by Monday, September 3, 2012. Click here for a link to the hotel for the MARPA room block. Clicking this link should automatically reference the 2012 MARPA discount code (which is mrpmrpa).

You can also call the hotel directly at (800) 750-0980. Make sure to ask for the “MARPA” rate in order to get our discounted rate!

Boeing Takes on Environmental Leadership

On July 19, Boeing’s Vice President of Environmental, Health and Safety, Mary Armstrong, was a keynote speaker at the 2011 ASA/AFRA Conference.

Armstrong spoke at a joint session of the memberships of both the Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA) and the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA).  Her speech made it clear that Boeing is acting as a leader in aviation’s efforts to  achieve better environmental performance.

Boeing has been taking steps to reduce energy use, and to reduce the production of hazardous materials.  This has lead to significant measurable reductions in both areas at Boeing.  Boeing is now working on reducing the waste-to-landfill to zero.  They have already achieved this at four locations (Huntsville, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and South Carolina.  In South Carolina, the Boeing facility has gone to 100% renewable energy, including a ten acre solar roof and using biomass for remaining energy needs.

She discussed Boeing and AFRA’s efforts at lifecycle environmental footprint reduction.  The aerospace industry has taken a cradle-to-grave approach, trying to minimize environmental footprint throughout the aircraft’s lifecycle.

Armstrong explained that for Boeing, environmental performance starts with design.  Boeing is focused on increasing the use of recycled materials in products and in tooling.  They are designing their Aerospace products to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials and the generation of hazardous wastes.

They are switching to non-chromated paints and primers for their aircraft.  This is a significant change from traditional coatings that used chrome, which is a hazardous material.

Boeing is participating in a new group known as the International Aerospace Environmental Group.  This group is made of aerospace manufacturers working together to share best practices that will permit them to achieve better environmental performance.  One of their goals is to create a consistent process for suppliers to list their chemical bill of materials.  This will provide the framework against which the manufacturers can reduce their adverse environmental impact.

Armstrong explained that aviation produces about 2% of the global carbon emissions, if you take into account all of the aviation-related sources.  Therefore the industry feels compelled to focus on control and limitation of carbon growth.  The 787 and 747-8 aircraft will both be cleaner and quieter.  The 787 is designed to reduce carbon emissions by 20% and the 747-8 should reduce carbon emissions by 16%.

Boeing is testing biofuels in an effort to identify sustainable biofuels.  By sustainable, they mean crops that will not compete for water or land with food crops.  They have been engaged in test flights since 2008, and are identifying fuels that will work as well as or even better than pure Jet-A.  They are working to develop 50/50 blends and the standards for this have been recently approved by ASTM.

Boeing is also working with the FAA on the development of modern air traffic management systems.  Implementation of improvements in this area could cut 12% or more off of aviation’s carbon emission total.

Boeing wants to be an environmental leader, so the next step, which Boeing and AFRA are both taking together, is to undertake a cradle-to-cradle approach.  This means thinking about where the recycled materials from an aircraft will go, and undertaking strategies that will permit the aviation industry to recover recycled aerospace materials for use within the industry.

Boeing is working with AFRA and ASA to develop better strategies for reclaiming materials.

Armstrong praised AFRAs BMP efforts.  She explained that she expects the draft Recycling BMP to lead to an effective mechanism for improving effectiveness and efficiency in recycling of aircraft materials.

Between 2010 and 2030, the aviation industry is expected to add 33,500 new airplanes and half of these will replace existing aircraft.  In the next ten years, the industry expects a significant number of aircraft retirements, all over the world.  These older aircraft will yield to more economical and environmental aircraft, but their retirements create a recycling challenge.

Boeing is engaged in a number of pilot projects for environmental improvement.  These projects include:

  • Recycling carbon fiber, for interior components, for non-structural applications and for tooling
  • Recycling interior materials, like aircraft carpet to reduce landfill materials

Boeing is working on technologies that will permit creation of carpet tiles from recycled carpet.  There is a pilot project for testing these carpet tiles with Southwest Airlines right now.

Boeing is asking its supply base partners to adopt environmental management systems similar to ISO 14001 (although they need not be registered to ISO 14001).  Boeing expects to address environmental responsibility, in the future, as an element to consider for awarding contracts to partners.

One thing that Armstrong did not mention in her speech is that Boeing is one of the founding members of AFRA, and AFRA’s goals include a variety of environmental and recycling efforts.  Through AFRA Boeing has achieved some significant advances by publishing Best Management Practices related to aircraft materials recycling.

Boeing is expanding its understanding and expanding its collaborations in order to create new value for customers and for the environment.

MARPA Confirms the Safety of our Friends and Members in Japan

On behalf of all of the members of the MARPA family, we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to our members and friends who have endured the recent tragic events in Japan.

Over the past few days we have been exchanging emails with a number of  our members and contacts in Japan.  MARPA has received word from friends at All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and others, assuring us that our members in Japan are safe at this time.  We greatly appreciate these updates, and hope that they will soon be able to begin to recovering from the effects of the earthquake, aftershocks, tsunami, and power loss.

Our members all appear to be far from the nuclear power plants in Fukushima (about 250 km), so under current estimates they appear to be safe from the radiation threat.  Nonetheless, we have asked them to let us know if there is anything that the Association can do to help them.

Our thoughts and warmest wishes are with the people of Japan in this time.

For more information on how to help, locate or report the whereabouts of a citizen, or find resources, please visit

Making Aircraft More Environmentally Friendly

Jeanne Wu, Boeing’s Director of Environmental Performance, addressed strategies for improving environmental performance in aircraft during the ASA/AFRA Conference on June 29, 2010.

The 18,800 aircraft in the 2008 fleet are expected to grow to 36,000 aircraft by 2028.  Wu explained that the aviation industry accounts for about 2% of CO2 emissions.  Without intervention, it is estimated that this could rise to 3% over the next twenty years.  As a consequence, Boeing is working with the rest of the industry: taking proactive steps to reduce aviation’s environmental impact.

Aviation has had tremendous success in reducing its environmental impact.  From the 1950s to the 1990s, aviation achieved a 90% reduction in noise footprint and a 70% increase in fuel efficiency, with a correlative reduction on CO2 emissions.  Wu explained that the aviation community wants to build on this history of success and to further reduce emissions.

75% of Boeing’s R&D is focused on developments that benefit environmental performance

  • Next generation materials reduce weight which decreases fuel burn
  • Aerodynamic improvements to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency
  • Less energy intensive electric systems, like reducing pneumatic systems

Boeing is researching biofuel viability.  Current biofuel testing involves mixtures that include:

  • 20% coconut & babassu
  • 50% jatropha
  • 50% algae & jatropha

Boeing has set a goal to make each generation of their aircraft 15% more fuel efficient.  These “green” technologies are being implemented in the 787.

Improving the worldwide fleet efficiency

  • Implement airplane modifications like winglets
  • Develop operational efficiency strategies for air carriers
  • Optimize worldwide airspace efficiency and navigation

100% of Boeing major manufacturing sites are maintained to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard.  This applies to the facilities as well as to the processes that are used for building aircraft.  Boeing also uses LEAN theories to reduce waste, which reduces Boeing’s environmental impact.  Finally, Boeing is strong supporter of AFRA, the non-profit organization that works on how to efficiently recycle aircraft at the end of their life-cycle.

AFRA is a big part of Boeing’s environmental plan for aircraft.  Through AFRA, Boeing is working with its peers to develop recycling technologies that will achieve 90% recyclability in the world fleet by 2016.  She estimated that the existing advances that have been developed could reduce aviation’s contribution to landfills by 75% by 2012.  AFRA’s members are identifying, accelerating and integrating promising recycling solutions.  She explained that one example of the advantages that can be realized is that there is a 90-95% reduction in energy use (and a correlative reduction in CO2 emissions) when using recycled carbon fiber, instead of creating virgin fiber.

Wu explained that joint action allows us to create a better future together.

EASA Executive Director Goudou Briefs on the Activities of EASA

EASA Executive Director Patrick Goudou welcomed the community to the FAA EASA International Safety Meeting with some very brief comments.  The FAA EASA International Safety Meeting opened in New Orleans on June 8, 2010.  The FAA EASA International Safety Meeting is an opportunity for the government of the world to coordinate their aviation safety regulatory and implementation efforts.

The recent Icelandic volcano issue has shown how important it is for the aviation authorities of the world to work together on aviation safety.  He expressed his appreciation for the focus of the Conference on safety management.

EASA is working on several operations-based rulemaking activities, based on its 2008 mandate for EASA to regulate Flight Crew Licensing.  They are reviewing stake holder comments on Flight Crew Licensing, Authority and Organization Requirements, Operational Suitability/Safety Directives, and Air Operations of [European] Community Operations.  EASA opinions are scheduled to be published by mid-2011 and implementing rules should be adopted by April 2012.

They are also working with Eurocontrol on Air Traffic Management and Air Navigation System rules, and they plan to have implementing regulations adopted by the end of 2012.

EASA has signed agreements with all of the ECAC states that are not part of the European Community, so that they will be following the EASA regulations.

EASA has been creating electronic courses to provide technical training on European regulations as well as the European bilateral.  The aim of these projects is to provide better (and more readily available) education on the requirements of the EASA rules and governing documents.

Europe has been implementing a State Safety Program (European Aviation Safety Programme) to meet the ICAO SSP requirements.  The objective of this plan will be to have a framework for dealing with common high level issues in Europe.  They will use safety risk analysis to focus their resources on the most important safety issues, and they will coordinate their efforts with the SSPs of each of the member states.  One goal of this program is to encourage a “just culture” paradigm in Europe.

EASA has formed a European Aviation Safety Advisory Committee to advise the Management Board of the Agency on safety strategy issues.

EASA will host an International Air Safety and Climate Change Conference in Cologne on September 8-9, 2010.  The focus will not be on the impact of aviation on climate change; rather the focus will be on the impact of climate change on civil aviation.  One focus area will be an examination of how certification standards need to change to reflect climate change issues.

EASA has been standardizing its internal processes, and they plan for the entire organization to be ISO 9001 certified by the end of 2010.  The FAA’s Aviation Safety organization is ISO 9001 certified.

New Guidance on the IATA Hazmat Regulations

PMA manufacturers who ship hazardous materials will want to note a few of the recent changes to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, publishes the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).  U.S. law permits reliance  on the ICAO Technical Instructions, which are substantially reprinted in the IATA DGR.  Because the IATA DGR is much easier to use than the ICAO Technical Instructions, it has become common for air carriers and others in the air-cargo shipping world to rely on the IATA DGR the source of regulatory guidance.

The 51st IATA DGR has been published and became effective January 1,2010.  There are several changes to the new edition.  The changes are summarized in an IATA Change Summary.

Significant changes for the 51st edition include:

  • New testing standards applied to Division 1.4S explosives (this is the most common classification of squibbs used as fire suppression actuators in aircraft engines)
  • Air waybill information requirements have been revised to require inclusion of the number of packages
  • Lithium battery packing instructions have been reformatted to more clearly state their requirements
  • Use requirements for the environmentally hazardous substances marking have been clarified