Work Procedures and Process-Driven Checklists for General Aviation

Much thought and focus are given to developing and improving the tools with which aircraft maintenance is performed, but what about the procedures that govern how those tools are used? Process-driven actions on the hangar floor or general aviation facilities don’t have to be cumbersome or complex.

One of the most common process-driven actions is the checklist. Checklists are used for an enormous variety of maintenance procedures, the most common being the annual inspections and 100-hour inspections required by the FAA. With the advent of computers, checklists can track the progress of personnel based on the work they are assigned and maintain a status record to remind teams of what part they are on.

Checklists have applications in multiple roles and can serve many purposes. In production, it can be the basis for estimating how long work will take. By adding the individual man-hours, a task will take to accomplish a singular goal, such as disassembling an aircraft’s engine, you can determine if you have enough hours in the day to do the work. This is particularly useful when juggling multiple customers and deliveries.

Checklists are also useful as task reminders of progress and what’s going on with the aircraft. A work turnover, a diary of the day’s activities and progress, is good for keeping track of information and incomplete work. Whether rig pins have been installed, the status of a circuit breaker, if new paint is wet or not, and other maintenance efforts are important to know the status of. It’s also important for personnel to record the last step accomplished in an interrupted procedure so that work doesn’t resume in the wrong place. Even if you are working alone, it is better to record your progress than to rely on memory.

Material issues can be recorded on a checklist to show component changes. Component removals and installations are critical items to include with any work order, and a record of component histories is also useful for future work when the aircraft returns for repeat business.

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