NTSB report on maintenance related accidents in general aviation and "Personal Minimums" Checklist

A ten year NTSB study reports that during the last several decades, improvements in aviation safety have made commercial flying in the United States the safest form of transportation. General Aviation (GA), however, has not enjoyed the same safety record. Although GA aircraft log almost twice as many flight hours as do the airlines, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours for GA aircraft in 2000 is over twenty times greater than the rate for commercial aircraft. From 1988-1997 commercial airline accidents resulted in 1,493 fatalities while GA accidents accounted for 7,446 fatalities.

The report indicates that 20% of all GA maintenance-related accidents are caused by improper maintenance installation. Categories of installation error included wrong part, reversed installation, incorrect attachment, omission, and incorrect connection.

So what can the mechanic do to mitigate these types of installation errors?

A practical tool needs to be put into the hands of the mechanic that can be used immediately.

That tool is the Maintenance “Personal Minimums” Checklist. This checklist was developed by mechanics as an error prevention strategy to be utilized by mechanics in the management of human error in maintenance. This will not only help reduce errors, but will help capture and contain errors, assuming one was made, before the aircraft departs.

Maintenance "Personal Minimums" Checklist

Before the Task:

• Do I have the knowledge to perform the task?
• Do I have the technical data to perform the task?
• Have I performed the task previously?
• Do I have the proper tools and equipment to perform the task?
• Have I had the proper training to support the job task?
• Am I mentally prepared to perform the job task?
• Am I physically prepared to perform the task?
• Have I taken the proper safety precautions to perform the task?
• Do I have the resources available to perform the task?
• Have I researched the FARs to ensure compliance?

After the Task:

• Did I perform the task to the best of my abilities?
• Was the job task performed to be equal to the original?
• Was the job task performed in accordance with appropriate data?
• Did I use all the methods, techniques and practices acceptable to the industry?
• Did I perform the job task without pressures, stress and distractions?
• Did I re-inspect my work or have someone inspect my work before return to service?
• Did I make the proper record entries for the work performed?
• Did I perform the operational checks after the work was completed?
• Am I willing to sign on the bottom line for the work performed?
• Am I willing to fly in the aircraft once it is approved for the return to service?

Using this checklist may take a few extra minutes of your time, but it is time well spent when you consider the consequences of an error if it’s not identified and corrected prior to flight.

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Michael I think you're comparing apples to oranges! I don't disagree with your theme but the delivery is askew! Statistically, General Aviation is the second safest mode of transportation in the US behind commercial aviation. Railroads, marine and highway fatalities outnumber GA and that's just the raw data. In fact, according to the latest Nall Report, the number of non-commercial fixed-wing general aviation accidents is on the decrease. The fatal accidents and individual deaths were the lowest on record, but the fatal accident rate still remained close to its historic average.

Piolt related causes remain the largest factor in GA fatal accidents while mechanical issues are a factor only 8% of the time. That is where your article misleads us.

Although 8% is a low number, it's not good enough! We, in the maintenance industry should strive for a perfect record. Zero Defects was a program I adopted from my military days and I stressed safety every day, having personal minimum standards is another good idea. Regardless of your methods, YOU are your own quality control. Be proud of your work, expect perfection and accept nothing less! Don't be ashamed or afraid to ask questions. The day you stop learning is the day you die. Remember, the responsibility for precious life rests in your hands, don't let them down...

I've been in avaition for thirty years and have worked as an A&P IA for 22 years. the picture that is posted in this review is the Aircraft my brother maintained, he was an A&P and IA. He was in the right seat not as a pilot when it went down. As it stands the NTSB has not completed there Investigation. I do not approve the photo posted because the investigation is not complete and is inappropriate for the article regarding maintenance/mechanical issues.