NEWS | Jan. 14, 2022

Blog: How to Create an Effective Aircraft Movement Brief

By Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Todd M. Brown, Naval Safety Center Aviation Safety Programs Directorate

One of the most common things we see at the Naval Safety Center, when it comes to aviation ground mishaps (AGM), is aircraft being damaged during an aircraft move. There are several factors that contribute to aircraft move mishaps, but in most cases it is complacency and lack of oversight by highly experienced senior leaders. So how can we reduce the number of aircraft damaged during a move? It all starts with an effective aircraft move brief.

(You may download a magazine version of this article here.)
           
As a maintenance controller, we shouldn’t just simply call a move crew to maintenance control and tell the maintainers to move an aircraft unless we have done our due diligence. Due diligence, at a minimum, requires asking, “Have I done the following?”
  • Screened Naval Aviation Logistics Command Management Information Systems (NALCOMIS) to ensure the aircraft is safe to move (operable brakes, critical doors and panels installed, overall integrity, etc.).
  • Walked through the hangar to see if there were any special considerations that would prevent the move or need more attention before or during the move.
  • Walked the aircraft to ensure its overall integrity. 
  • Walked or driven the aircraft’s projected route to ensure any obstructions or special considerations along the path are discussed and taken care of, if required before the aircraft move.
Doing due diligence allows experienced maintenance controllers to provide valuable information to the move crew when they come to maintenance for the brief. It could be anything from tightening a couple aircraft fasteners to a maintenance stand or overhead crane that should be moved. Once the move crew is called to maintenance control, it is the maintenance controller’s job to sign off the aircraft move brief and ensure the overall integrity of the brief. 

Once the move crew is gathered in maintenance control, it is time to ensure everything is in place to conduct and execute an effective move brief. Are we allowing maintainers to briskly go over the brief to “check in the box” or are we guaranteeing a thorough brief is conducted to ensure a safe and effective move is achievable? The following minimums must happen at the brief:   
  • A qualified plane captain, licensed tractor driver, qualified brake rider, two wing walkers, one tail walker and senior move observer (preferably a senior khaki leader highly experienced in the type/model/series aircraft) attend the move brief.
  • All personnel are aware of their responsibilities regarding emergency procedures, hand signals, walking distances and towing speed.
  • The move crew is equipped with operable whistles/horns/wands and other personal protective equipment (as applicable). Evaluate the environment to ensure these are effective.
  • Maintenance control and the plane captain have reviewed the Aircraft Discrepancy Book (ADB) and NALCOMIS to ensure aircraft’s overall integrity and it is safe to move.
  • After reviewing the ADB and NALCOMIS, brief any discovered items that should be addressed concerning the aircraft.
  • Brief the objective, movement route, hazards to include weather, risk management and responsibilities associated with designated duties.
  • Once the plane captain is done briefing the move, go around the room and see if anyone has a question or any other input regarding their limitations, responsibilities or the aircraft move.  
The above actions are just some of the basic things to cover when conducting a movement brief. However, depending on the situation, you may need to add items to ensure the brief meets your current operational requirements and thorough risk management has been accomplished. 

Effectively briefing aircraft moves and adhering to the brief will significantly reduce the possibility of a mishap during an aircraft move. Don’t get in the mindset of “it’s just another aircraft move.” Every move poses unique challenges and should be given the proper attention and planning before execution. Don’t just go through the motions; be alert, be proactive, plan the brief, conduct the brief and adhere to the plan.