Concept Alignment Process

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Concept Alignment Process -Reviewing Corporate Aviation on the Leading Edge: Systemic Implementation of Macro-Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance[1]

This paper was published by Manoj S Pantankar and James C Taylor in 1999. Although it is a relatively old publication some ideas and concepts still remain valid and can give todays reader some guidance.

The authors characterised how human factors principles were applied to the aviation operations through observations and informal interviews of both maintenance and flight personnel. Various aviation personnel, such as aircraft mechanics, cleaners, pilots and managers were interviewed and observed at a corporate aviation department (CAD).

The authors found that this CAD did not apply the traditional CRM training programme, but rather an alternative approach. This approach has its own strategy, structure, and process.
Its strategy addressed risk management by focusing on team decision making. The structure is having briefings among flight crews, among maintenance crews and between them. Concept alignment process (CAP) is an essential component in this approach. This process ensures all parties are acting on the same concept [2]. If not, it provides a way of resolving conflicting viewpoints among all parties in various briefings. The technique is used for pre-flight pilot briefings, post-flight pilot debriefings and parallel briefings between the flight crew and maintenance personnel.


The authors have paid great attention to the CAP. They understood alongside CAD that CAP has a better measurement on human factors implementations and its effects than the traditional CRM. The CAP is the hub of its human factors model. In the model, communication is the spokes and each of the elements is connected on the sideline. This model is shared by the flight crews and maintenance crews.

During the observation, it was evident that the flight crews and maintenance crews all have a good understanding of CAP and most of them followed, but variations were also found in some levels. Some sceptic individuals did not drive CAP to its fullest extent, those individuals were identified in the management and some other areas that CAP should be followed.
The basis of the CAP is a simple communication protocol which disregards rank and provides means for all the individuals to share information. The authors also found that CAP focuses on a behavioural change instead of an attitude change; they noticed that CAP forces all the individuals to change their behaviour and follow a prearranged process.

Three case studies were also presented in this publication to illustrate how the CAD personnel have used the CAP.

In conclusion, the authors found that the CAD strives to achieve an employee behaviour which is consistent within and across their flight operations, maintenance, and management.
The author also summarised some prerequisites within the publication for external observers who wish to apply this approach and having some successful results:

  1. The management must have a clear personal standard of success which is aligned with the corporate missions and goals.
  2. The strong positive attitude of the management must be expressed via complementary behaviour, consistently.
  3. Having key individuals (the concept leaders) to have their personal standard of success aligned with the corporate missions and goals.
  4. Having incentive programme to encourage the concept leaders.
1. PATANKAR.M & TAYLOR.J (1999) Corporate Aviation on the Leading Edge: Systemic Implementation of Macro-Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance. SAE- SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS- TECHNICAL PAPER SERIES. 1999-01-1596. Kansas. USA. 1999.
2. A concept is an idea, remark or an observation which is agreed or disagreed by other co-workers. Any differences in opinion need to be validated by an independent third source.

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