A380 Door Modification with ARTS
Christian Rost, project manager for ARTS and an A380 expert, provides an insight behind the scenes of the A380 Door Modification Project. He discusses his role on the project and the exciting highlights that the Mobile Aircraft Maintenance Crew (MAMC) experiences on a daily basis.
An unusual noise at a passenger door on a Singapore Airlines aircraft in 2014 led to the Federal publishing an Aviation Administration (Airworthiness Directive – AD) for all operational A380 aircraft: all sixteen passenger doors required retrospective structural modifications. Christian Rost, A380 Door Mod Project Manager, works globally with his Mobile Aircraft Maintenance Crew (MAMC) to deliver the project for ARTS. The crew travels to Airbus’s authorised maintenance providers, modifying the A380 aircraft on site as part of their scheduled downtime. ARTS supports the authorised maintenance businesses in accordance with EASA Guideline AMC 145.A.75 (b) (AMC/GM TO ANNEX II (PART-145) TO REGULATION (EU) No 1321/2014).
A multi-cultural team with A380 expertise
The size of each team engaged in the A380 Door Modification Project varies depending on the sale of the project and the maintenance period for the particular A380. For example, the last project engagement involved eleven technical experts, working seven days per week in two shifts to modify the passenger doors of a Lufthansa A380.
Among other duties, ARTS performed door modifications for an A380 belonging to Lufthansa.
Our team, which is also known as the Mobile Aircraft Maintenance Crew (MAMC), speaks a total of five languages, but among ourselves we all speak English. Precisely because all manufacturer’s manuals provided by Airbus are written in English, these language skills are absolutely essential for communications within the team and with customers. This international approach is also very important because the crew travels worldwide, delivering MRO support for avionics, systems and airframe service bulletin installations, aircraft upgrades, heavy and base maintenance projects, working directly on the aircraft or aircraft assemblies.
Our MAMC brings several years of project experience to the field of aircraft mechanics – having already enhanced its Airbus know-how through work on the A380 and A350 programmes and by working with other MRO service providers in the aviation industry including Elbe Flugzeugwerken. Personally, I am a trained vehicle mechanic, also studied engineering, and was involved in work preparations from 2007 to 2010 at the Airbus A380 programme in Toulouse. I still find it fascinating to work on the A380 in all the different programme areas. The aircraft is particularly innovative and challenging in respect of structural mechanics, thanks to the use of composite materials featuring carbon fibre, fibreglass, and aluminium to achieve improved aerodynamics and a lighter weight.
ARTS Structure Repair Crew - © ARTS
A380 Door Modification project highlights
As part of a C-check or other maintenance work, our Mobile Aircraft Maintenance Crew (MAMC) reinforces the 16 passenger doors of the A380 aircraft. This is no easy task, and requires the highest levels of precision and compliance with all regulations (Service Bulletin4, SRM5, AMM6, IPC7). First, the door is removed from the A380 and placed in the jig. We then remove the door insulation and dismantle the cover plates, the mechanics and the seals.
When the paint on the door has been stripped, we remove the old structure on the doors and our EN 4179-certified NDT8 auditor performs the Special Detailed Inspection (SDI) with a high-frequency eddy current (HFEC). If the detailed inspection runs smoothly, we proceed to the cold deformation of the structural parts, flap peening and cold working - by doing this, we re-shape the surfaces and thus remove the symptoms of fatigue from the structural components. Finally, the reinforcement parts, provided by Airbus, are laid onto the doors and provisionally attached using fixation pins, all fasteners and reinforcing components are mounted. After approval from quality assurance, our MAMC crew finally installs the cover plates, the mechanics, the seals, the door components and the door insulation.
We also carry out any additional work that arises, as well as individual repair solutions predetermined by Airbus. For example, in our last project, we replaced the skin by removing the lower section of the door and replacing it with a new skin.
No two days are the same
My daily work does not follow a routine and that's a good thing – I even enjoy the change of scenery that comes with working remotely. One week I’ll be making small talk in Spanish, the next week I'll talk French - the change of location is part of my daily working life. Due to the multi-faceted nature of the work, every day is different from the last: when a new A380 Door Modification project gets underway, my colleague, Peggy Wildern, or I work to prepare a detailed project plan in the early stages of the proposal phase, and then organise transportation for the crew and the tooling to the location where the maintenance is to be performed. As project managers, once we are on site we don’t just monitor the progress of the various project stages: we also document them for our customers by issuing a Certificate of Conformity (COC).
Passion for the Aviation
My enthusiasm for mechanics developed early on. By 18, I had already worked on my first car. My career aspirations changed once again after finishing my studies, to mechanical engineering for aviation. I find the aviation sector more exciting than the automotive industry because the mechanical sector has more dimension and opportunities for development. As an ARTS project manager for the A380 Door Modification project, I have a great deal of professional freedom and flexibility - I particularly enjoy the challenge of always having to meet high levels of responsibility, even in stressful situations, and working with people who bring the same passion for aviation to the job. Do you have a question about the A380 Door Modification project or about the exciting projects in aviation that you are involved in? I'm happy to receive your feedback via email.
1 Incident: 05 January 2014 - A380 Singapore Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing.
3 ARTS supports the authorised maintenance companies according to the EASA directive AMC 145.A.75 (b) (AMC/GM TO ANNEX II (PART-145) TO REGULATION (EU) No 1321/2014).
4 Airbus A380 Service Bulletin No. A380-52- (8079 to 8094, 8122 to 8131)
5 SRM stands for Structure Repair Manual.
6 AMM stands for Aircraft Maintenance Manual.
7 IPC stands for the International Processing Centre, which sets the aerospace quality standard.
8 NDT stands for Non Destructive Testing