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PLANE TALK


were many steps towards freedom and innovation in the field of delegations to individuals and companies. Just try to list all the delegations to industry and you will soon fill a page or two. Some of these innovations were the


result of public inquires, some from industry pressure and some from the aviation regulators own staff work and ideas. I played a major role after the Dubin Commission in establishing the maintenance rules and AME licensing system. Looking back, we had a great staff group who together designed and put in place the system as it basically exists today. We created the idea of approving individual aircraft inspection schedules to allow industry the freedom from the old manufacturers’ recommendations rules. In addition, the approved maintenance organization and flight operations manual requirements with regards to air operator’s maintenance were introduced. My successor carried on and completed many of these items as well as being in the forefront of the design and implementation of the SMS rules. One regret I have is that the treasury board never did give Transport Canada the additional resources needed to handle the new system approvals speedily, so today you experience delays in approving new aircraft and company certifications, amendments to manuals and aircraft schedules. This is not the fault of the inspectors or their managers, it is about competing for resources in the federal system. You all read or watch the news and it’s these same issues in all countries — social programs and military needs tend to trump regulatory needs until something like a food safety scandal erupts.


Governmental priorities change rapidly and the further you get from the incidents that created the resource demands, the less chance you have of gaining them later. This is one reason it takes so long to follow through on commitments from accident reports and judicial inquires for example.


FUTURE Innovation in regulations is not only real but the innovations cause managerial and technical changes in the industry, as well as industry personnel behavioral changes (hopefully for the better). What can be next in innovation in regulations for aviation maintenance and AME licensing?


I suggest the next innovations need to come in the area of delegation of service work from the regulatory body to industry personnel. By service work I mean approving aircraft schedules, manual amendments and so on. Basic certification and oversight must remain in the regulatory body, even if it is just for public confidence which is vital to a successful civil aviation industry. One could argue though that a civil aviation regulator could be a separate agency like the British CAA. The regulatory bodies may never


have sufficient staff to do all the things it is required to do — and even if more staff is added, is this the right way to go? Current and future staff in regulatory bodies will always have more work than they can handle. However, you might have noticed that in nearly every country where elections are held politicians talk about cutting regulations. Rarely do they ever do that in the area of safety regulations, and for good reason. Most regulatory cutting takes place in social and the economic


areas. The public generally has a low tolerance for anyone undermining the safety regulations whether that be involving food, pharmaceuticals or transportation. The government long ago delegated safety inspections of maintenance work to AMEs. Another step forward was in the 1980s when Transport Canada delegated inspection of amateur- built aircraft to industry delegates. Aircraft being imported to Canada compliance inspections were also delegated to specially qualified AME delegates around this time frame. This innovation offloaded a lot of work from the overburdened government inspectors. Another benefit was bringing the right technical expertise to the inspection task. I recall sending large air carrier qualified inspectors out to inspect amateur-built aircraft when the inspector had never built an aircraft as the amateur builders had. What a waste of talent on both sides. Delegating more service work to the industry will allow the regulator to carry out more of their oversight activities. That is where most people would expect them to be, not reviewing manuals and forms. This would allow industry to modify their documents and manuals in a timely manner. This would also allow them to keep up to date with technology and human resource requirements. Another benefit is that the more AMEs do this in industry, the more experience they bring to the regulatory body if they choose to become an inspector. It would be a win-win situation for all concerned — the regulator, the industry and the public.


40 DOMmagazine.com | july 2017


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