Posted 20 февраля 2023,, 15:17

Published 20 февраля 2023,, 15:17

Modified 20 февраля 2023,, 17:41

Updated 20 февраля 2023,, 17:41

Flight without maintenance: what violation of regulations on aircraft service threatens with

Flight without maintenance: what violation of regulations on aircraft service threatens with

20 февраля 2023, 15:17
Russian airlines, left without spare parts for foreign aircraft, are asked to rewrite the "sacred" document for the industry - the regulations for the maintenance of ships. It remains to honestly warn passengers: the board is not properly checked, so there is no guarantee that you will return from the flight in one piece.

Yekaterina Maximova

An alarm bell has rung for Russian civil aviation.

Rostransnadzor did not reject, but actually supported the aviators' proposal to extend the maintenance intervals (maintenance) of Western aircraft - Boeing and Airbus. The agency was asked about this by Russian airlines.  

The increase in the maintenance interval, in particular, was announced by Marat Tereshchenko, advisor to the Technical Director of Aeroflot, during an industry conference in February. Mr. Tereshchenko justified the proposal by saying that the restrictions imposed due to the military operation deprived Russian airlines of Western services and components. And because of the sanctions, the repair time of airliner components has increased significantly. 

Alexander Yavkin, the chief designer of the Russian Be-200 amphibious aircraft, told Novye Izvestia that any initiatives to change the service life, if they are not based on sound engineering judgments and recommendations contained in the Instructions for maintaining airworthiness, are simply voluntarism and a calculation for chance. 

"The existing aircraft maintenance regulations are the result of a big compromise between the designers, who set all these deadlines, and the airlines, which would not have serviced the aircraft for a century. You fly, that's all. But everyone understands what flight safety is, including airlines. Therefore, a certain order of maintenance has been established over the years. These are principles that are based on calculations based on operational data. Take the same Airbus: every day there are about 10 thousand airliners in the air. And a huge flow of information about their operation is transmitted to the creators of aircraft, who take this into account and analyze it. Once in decades, such cycles of maintenance, replacement of spare parts, inspections of the sides have been established, so these figures have already been verified", - comments the creator of the Be-200 Yavkin. 

And explains what to do if you can't change the regulations, but really want to (say, forced): 

"Then procedures should be used as in the testing of experimental aircraft that deliberately fly outside the scope of the draft Operating and Maintenance Instructions. Such a flight assignment must be approved by a specific official who has made a decision on the admissibility of deviations and is aware of his personal responsibility for the consequences of the decision. Pilots and passengers of the aircraft departing for flight must be familiarized (signed) with the task and agree to assume the status of test pilots and test passengers who are aware of the degree of increased risk to their health and life. The degree of risk should be reflected in the payment for the work of pilots and the cost of passengers' tickets for such a flight.  Unfortunately, Russian airlines are facing years of flights on foreign aviation equipment that we have inherited, the procedures for conducting flights of aircraft with deviations must be carefully worked out and approved in the form of Airworthiness Standards.

We still have a long time to wait for the arrival of new Russian aircraft to the airlines, I have already said this".

The General Director of the Association "Airport" of Civil Aviation, Viktor Gorbachev, in turn, briefly recalls what the current technical regulations are, which, due to sanctions, they are now trying to change. 

"For example, an airplane has flown for a thousand hours, so the operator is obliged to put it on inspection and perform a certain list of maintenance, that is, to see what it's time to replace, assess the condition. After that, a document is issued stating that this aircraft has passed routine maintenance and meets the airworthiness standards. In no case should you violate the regulations. Not for two hours, not for three, not for 10 hours, not for a day. Whether it will be a foreign vessel or a domestic one. There are no spare parts - put the plane to the fence and that's it. This is not a car that also has deadlines for passing the maintenance. In a passenger car, you can run over the norm and ruin it. But leave the broken car on the side of the road and call a tow truck. And if there is something in the sky, something will happen when there are more than 200 people in the cabin?", - Gorbachev wonders. 

Andrey Patrakov, founder of the AIM Group international network of experts, agrees with Gorbachev.

"Each part of the aircraft has its own conditional "resource" or technical condition of airworthiness. How much this "resource" can be increased or the technical condition is acceptable for admission to the flight of the aircraft - only the developer of the aircraft is able to calculate. In this case, Boeing or Airbus. Theoretically, this can be calculated in Russia, but after February 2022, there was no structure in the country that could replace Boeing or Airbus in matters of maintenance support for a foreign fleet by the developer. Now a proposal has been made to do a very difficult operation: to change the maintenance regulations. This is a very, very serious job even for the original developer. But in Russia they want to do this by a voluntary decision, practically without proper elaboration. And this is a terrible situation", - says Andrey Patrakov.  

The expert also adds that the issue of changing the so-called list of minimum serviceable equipment (MEL) is being considered for foreign-made aircraft in the Russian Federation. This list contains a list of necessary equipment in case of failure of which the vessel can continue to operate.

Patrakov explains: "We are discussing the expansion of this list and flight conditions with partial equipment failures from this list - this is something without which you can fly, but with restrictions on flight conditions or time (several flights, but no more). There are systems with failures of which you can fly for a certain time. For example, without the TCAS collision avoidance system, you can fly for up to 10 days in those countries where it is allowed. In Germany, for example, it is absolutely forbidden to fly with a failed TCAS. It is possible to physically take off with such failures, but the developer believes that it is unsafe and something can be done under certain conditions, and something is categorically impossible. How and what in detail can only be understood by the developer. About such things are now beginning to be discussed. To fly, for example, with such a failed system for two months more. In such a formulation, these questions sound scary not only for passengers, but also for specialists", - Patrakov summed up.

The president of the international advisory and analytical agency "Flight Safety" Valery Shelkovnikov, when asked to comment on the initiative of the aviators, only recalled the plane crash, which became a turning point for the "safety culture". The ship collapsed because of a few screws! We are talking about the crash of the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft, which crashed in 1991 only due to the fact that the screws were removed during the maintenance of the vessel, and after the technical work was carried out, the assembly of the nodes was carried out by the newly hired shift, and the screws were not installed in place. "Violation of technical regulations is unacceptable", - concluded Shelkovnikov. 

The day before, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury spoke about the work of aviation in Russia. He stated that Russian airlines continue to actively operate the fleet, however, Mr. Fori stressed that Airbus does not have a clear idea of the situation with these aircraft. And the developer has no idea how Russian carriers manage to keep the planes in working order. The top manager of Airbus stressed that the company is a little concerned about how the aircraft are operated, but it has no real means to act. 

Official figures also indicate that the sanctions imposed on the Russian aviation sector have not paralyzed the work of the industry. According to the results of 2022, although passenger traffic decreased to the level of 20214-2015, about 95 million people were transported over the past year (against 111 million in 2021). 

ACRA experts for 2023 have published three possible scenarios for the industry: inertial, stress scenarios and optimistic. In the first case, by the end of this year, airlines will transport 85-95 million people, of which at least 85% will be on domestic destinations. The stress scenario implies a reduction in passenger traffic below 85 million people. With an optimistic forecast, the number of passengers transported will be from 95 to 110 million people. The inertial scenario is considered as a base ACRE.