this year, the air transport industry completed the most comprehensive
study ever undertaken into the effects of aging on aircraft systems,
with a primary focus on electrical systems.
From that study, recommendations
are being developed to further enhance the safety of air transportation.
For operators of Boeing airplanes, I'm pleased to report that The
Boeing Company has already done a considerable amount of upfront
work to enable those recommendations to be readily integrated into
airline practices and procedures.
The landmark two-year
study was conducted by the Aging Transport Systems Rulemaking Advisory
Committee, which was established by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) in January 1999.
Committee members were
drawn from the airframe manufacturer, supplier, airline, and regulatory
sides of the aviation industry. The committee focused on jetliners
20 or more years old, which include about 3,700 Boeing- and Douglas-designed
airplanes worldwide. Five key tasks were undertaken: inspection
of electrical systems of almost 100 older jetliners of various makes
and models, review of electrical systems fleet history in light
of service bulletins and airworthiness directives, evaluation of
maintenance criteria to identify and correct any aging systems issues,
review and updating of standard wiring practices, and review of
training programs to ensure that they address aging electrical systems.
The committee uncovered
no immediate fleet-safety-related issues, nor did it find any conditions
in the wiring or other systems that were not already known by the
industry. This is a strong validation of existing processes that
call for regulators, manufacturers, and airlines to work together
and share information for the benefit of aviation safety.