It is a legal requirement that the commander has a confirmation of the airworthiness of the aircraft before flight. For Commercial Air Transport (CAT) the operator shall use a technical log system to inform the pilot and maintenance certifying staff about each flight, necessary to ensure continued flight safety. Also, the technical log must contain the current aircraft certificate of release to service (CRS), signed by certifying staff (a licensed aircraft engineer).
In this context, ECA fully shares the concerns of AEI (Aircraft Engineers International) with regard to the practice in several EU countries that reduce the release into service by licensed engineers to a mere administrative task without any physical inspection of the work performed.
The technical log shall also contain all outstanding deferred defects rectifications that affect the operation of the aircraft. All this information, together with a statement of planned maintenance due in the nearby future must be checked by the commander before flight.
ECA & AEI: Pilots should be given easy access to information about recent maintenance actions
ECA and AEI position is that, in order to give pilots more background information on the aircraft status, pilots should be given easy access to information about recent maintenance actions. In addition, all critical maintenance tasks* should be logged in the aircraft maintenance log accessible to the pilots. The (paper or e-) AML should be the prime method to inform about critical maintenance tasks and failure rectification.
This information will assist the flight crew in basic flight and failure management and anticipate on possible undetected failures or failure modes associated with previous maintenance work. The source of the failure may not have been identified or dealt with, or the maintenance work may have been performed incorrectly or ineffectively.
The original fault and rectification of these critical items should be written down in a plain and unambiguous way and must be easily accessible by the pilots for all recent flights (for instance 3 flying days).
*Commission Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014 article 2: ‘critical maintenance task’ means a maintenance task that involves the assembly or any disturbance of a system or any part on an aircraft, engine or propeller that, if an error occurred during its performance, could directly endanger the flight safety