The aerospace industry has one of the highest accident rates and most horrific tragedies recorded in history. Aircraft upset, which is a condition in aircraft operations that results in loss of control, is one of the most common causes of aerial mishaps. Loss of control often occurs as a result of turbulent weather, spatial disorientation, and/or failing aircraft systems.
Two of three reasons for loss of control are intangible; weather patterns can change in an instant while spatial disorientation – also known as vertigo in the past – takes place when the aircraft teeters continuously. For that reason, aerospace manufacturers are encouraged to maintain high-quality products to withstand even the intangible accident triggers and consequently reduce as much, if not all likelihood of accidents happening. They are mandated to strictly observe certain Quality Management Systems (QMS), particularly the AS9100, to ensure the safety of aircraft passengers.
AS9100 is the international management system standard for the Aircraft, Space, and Defense (AS&D) industry that gives its suppliers a comprehensive quality guideline for providing safe and reliable products. It was passed in 1999 by the European Association of Aerospace Industries and the Society of Automotive Engineers. The current version of AS9100 aligns the standard with ISO 9001:2008 but contains additional requirements regarding Regulatory Compliance.
Acquiring AS9100 certification takes time and careful process mapping. Perform intensive research on what your company must do to meet all requirements and consider purchasing the AS9100 handbook for an in-depth guide. Set a timeline for the certification as the process can last for six months or more depending on your compliance. Lastly, train your employees using the standard so they can get used to the new procedures prior to the scheduled QMS assessment.
Passing the AS9100 certification process can only cause a positive chain reaction. Other than the opportunity to improve product quality and operating efficiency, your company will gain marketing advantage over competition. Considering the high accident rates in aerospace, the market is sure to look for safer and more reliable products.
There’s no telling when accidents will happen. AS9100 is everyone’s best defense from any mishap, by ensuring that all systems are in mint condition and accidents are far from occurring. Log on to standards.sae.org/as9100/ for more information.