An assessment of operational consequences of failures to support aircraft scheduled maintenance program development
Abstract: A majority of the direct and indirect maintenance costs in the life cycle of aircraft stems from the consequences of decisions taken during the initial maintenance program development. In particular, the preventive and corrective maintenance requirements, which greatly influence both the system availability and life cycle cost, need to be defined in order to perform only those preventive actions that are absolutely necessary and costeffective. Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a systematic methodology used to identify the preventive maintenance tasks that are necessary to realize the inherent reliability of equipment at the lowest possible cost. Developing a scheduled maintenance program by means of RCM consists of identifying those preventive tasks which are both applicable (technically feasible) and effective (worth doing). An applicable maintenance task must satisfy the requirements of the type of failure to restore the item's initial performance capability. To be effective, a preventive maintenance task must lead to a reduced risk (or expected loss) of the consequence classes to a level which is acceptable to the user. In the design development phase, in order to identify the most cost effective solution, a design trade-off study is needed. This involves choosing the correct balance of the cost of consequences of failure and its correction, with their cost of prevention. However, during initial aircraft maintenance program development, lack of a methodology that supports the assessment of the operational consequences of failures has made the costeffectiveness analysis of maintenance tasks a challenging issue. This might reduce the accuracy of the analysis, which results in higher maintenance costs and may decreases the punctuality of operation, which ultimately increases the total aircraft life cycle cost. The purpose of this study is to develop a methodology for identifying different operational consequences and associated costs caused by aircraft system failure, in order to facilitate and enhance the capability of taking correct and efficient decisions when analyzing the cost-effectiveness of maintenance tasks. Some empirical studies of possible scenarios involving aircraft failures and their operational consequences for a commercial airline have been performed. Empirical data were extracted through document studies and interviews, guided by the application of an Event Tree Analysis (ETA). The analysis was performed together with experienced practitioners from both an aircraft manufacturer and commercial airlines, which contributed to a continuous verification of the outcomes of the study. Finally, the study has also estimated the associated cost of the identified operational consequences of failures. In order to quantify the operational consequences of failures, in the absence of adequate and reliable data, a methodology using pair-wise comparison technique has been applied to extract judgments of experts efficiently
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