Blog

May 2, 2016

Air Transport Cycle

The history of powered flight dates back to 12 seconds flight with the plane produced by the Orville and Wilbur Wright Brothers in 17 December 1903. This 12 second flight triggers the first practical plane that was produced in 1905 and better planes all across the world afterwards. As a result, 20th century witnessed numerous breakthrough and developments in civil aviation.

Two world wars, mail and passenger transportation efforts, bitter and sweet experiences pave the way for taking numerous lessons and lead the way for required steps to be made for recovery from first power-operated flight to date. Civil aviation that covers the whole of the process from the first design decision (conceptual) of a plane to retirement by completing its economical life stands up with cooperation of many disciplines and line of work.

Aviation authorities consist of regulators and supervisors where all organizations hereinafter depend upon. "Safer and more profitable" business has been required due to the development, prevalence and complexifying of aviation in America. The organization, seeds of which were planted within the body of Secretary of Commerce towards meeting this need was evolved into becoming a central authority in 1930's. When public pressure has been imposed after the accidents involving death at same years, it was required a more detailed and strict supervision perspective. World War II that is the second breaking point for the process required another perspectives and central authority has been restructured in parallel with these requirements. The collusion of Trans World and United Airlines over the Grand Canyon in Arizona resulting in 128 deaths in June 30, 1956 proved that precautions were insufficient. Federal Aviation Administration was established to research the reasons of accidents and getting airfield of whole country safer May 21, 1958 after this bitter experience and all authorities were transferred to this independent organization officially two months later. Thus and so centralization realized for the first time as it is today.

In the following years, a political structure, that is officially European Union, emerged with an economic motivation in the European countries as a reflection of developments in America. While they continued to produce their own wide-body aircrafts, they gathered their own national aviation authorities under a single roof named as European Aviation Safety Agency in 2008. Thus, European air space was controlled by a single authority. Similar organization applies for Canada, as well. Other countries are administrated by their own national aviation administrations and chairmanship. Even though they are local, almost all of them adopt the implementations of these leader authorities exactly in principle or they create their own rules by getting inspired from them. Besides, America (FAA), Europe (EASA) and Canada (TC) authorities enrich their agreements (mutually) to recognize their rules and adopt their supervisions. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) works on to determine global rules to serve national authorities with 191 countries.

Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Sukhoi, ATR and Embraer continue to manufacture "more durable and more profitable" aircrafts in consideration of the requirements imposed by the authorities and developing technologies, market competition, changing passenger requests, airway (operators) expectations. General tendency for the aircraft design moves into two main branches. One of them is to carry more passengers by increasing the seat capacity of the aircraft due to the fact that airports are getting crowded and another one is to eliminate the transfer by extending the range of the aircrafts. Airbus A380 & A350 and Boeing 747-8 & 787 of Boeing are the most popular players of this competition. In addition to these main approaches, making the planes as lighter as possible, increasing the payload they are carrying and decreasing the maintenance requirements and costs and providing fuel saving are the common objective of the all manufacturers. There occurred a gap in the supersonic travel with the retirement of Concorde aircrafts. There are no available solid projects in this field since airways' cold attitude towards this are due to the high operation costs of the supersonic aircraft.

Accordingly, sub-industries continue to develop their products to decrease the production costs and product weights, enhance the assembly processes, and increase the flight safety by reflecting them on their available designs in parallel with the aircraft manufacturers. Since sub-industries can provide for more than one aircraft manufacturers the same parts, there is an independent approach from the aircraft manufacturers in the scope of the aviation. In this leg of the cycle, there are independent organizations from the original manufacturers that enhance the current parts and systems in the supervision of the aircrafts or provide more economic alternatives.

While airways try to increase the number or qualifications of the passengers, they work on to decrease the investment, operation and maintenance within the safety limitation set by the authorities. Meeting the maintenance requirements and costs of the aircrafts that are worn down due to the flight and other effects, evaluation of inclusion of parts and systems to the flights provided more economic alternatives by the original aircraft manufacturer or independent manufacturers are among the general technical efforts. They continue to work on the growth, renewal or downsizing plans according to the economical atmosphere of the country of operation, increasing the share in the current market and new market searching. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 260 airlines or 83% of total air traffic and specifies the common service standards and act together in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for authority works.

Maintenance groups, committees and boards specify maintenance approaches to be applied to airborne flights and organize the maintenance programs and evaluate all of the findings as a result of the maintenances during their flight service time in cooperation with the industry (MSG, MRB and ISC) in joint and several manners. These evaluations serve for the development of the aircraft during the design phase, for specifying the first maintenance programs to the aircrafts of which designed are developed and for required updates for flying aircrafts. All of the review and analysis have been considered by the boards and required regulations are made at every field by interpreting with the aviation experience.

Maintenance repair organizations take on to apply changes that are resolved to be implemented on the aircrafts, planned and detailed maintenance and severe damage reparation that are obligatory to be made at regular intervals. The aircraft that are under this kind of maintenance are retired from the service and it has to pass the tests and provide the conditions set by the respective authorities to get back on the service again. A certificate that certifies that aircraft fulfills the required conditions depending on the scope of the maintenance is required to be available at each aircraft and submitted to be supervisors if requested. Maintenance repair organizations provide data for findings monitoring boards (MSG, MRB and ISC) the painting of the aircrafts are conducted by the maintenance boards of same size.

Suppliers are in close cooperation with the operators for reparation, change and spare parts arising out of the damage, planned and unplanned maintenance and accidents in the flying aircrafts. In this leg of the cycle, there is a competition for the fastest and most economic solution for the spare part needs of the flying aircraft. Of course, all efforts are done within the supervision of the same authority.

Scrappers (waste collectors) take on the proceedings of aircraft or parts that are out of circulation and/or use for they had an accident and they expire their economical lives. These organizations certificate the parts after passing them on from checks and tests and release them into circulation.  The ones that are not recyclable or did not pass the test are subject to fragmentation, transformation or destruction to present different industries as raw materials. All of these steps are carried out under the supervision of central authority.

So many supportive cycles such as regulation of air and ground traffic, leasing, passenger, ground, fuel, terminal, performance, treat, medical assistance, environment protection, inflight-entertainment services are the other important components of the same big cycles in addition to the technical cycles.

Providing an education workforce that gives service at each phases of the industry operating in a comprehensive, multi-way, sequence and global size turns into an expertise. Meeting the training requirements of the respective personnel is the proceedings of leg of another cycle. Trainings are also subject to the supervision of the central authority.

Even though it is not felt by the end users of civil aviation transportation, passengers, safe travel experience depends on the operation of the industry with broad participation in sequencing manner. It is a cycle with global scale that always moving forward for the better depending on the former and later process together and registered by subjecting to specific procedure, control and supervision at every phase.  This cycle will grow like snowball that grows up as it rolls and continue to be kept under control with new precautions as it grows in parallel with the increasing number of the flight, air traffic and aviation experience. It is possible for us to travel safely in the seats with our drinks accompanying with movie and music at 10.000 meters and over 800 km speed to the will of our destination with all of the efforts conducted in cooperation. 

References;

www.faa.gov
www.easa.europa.eu
www.tc.gc.ca
www.iata.org
www.icao.int
www.airbus.com
www.boeing.com