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Published on December 11th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


RAeS Lecture – The Airbus A320 Fan Cowl Door Case: A Human Factors Scenario Analysis


RAeS Public Lecture

‘The Airbus A320 Fan Cowl Door Case: A Human Factors Scenario Analysis’


  • Mrs Anna V. Chatzi | PhD candidate, University of Southern Queensland.
  • Dr Kyriakos I. Kourousis, MRAeS, CEng | Senior Lecturer, Programme Director Aircraft Maintenance & Airworthiness Engineering, University of Limerick.


Several Airbus A320 family engine fan cowl door losses have occurred in the past due to uninspected unlocked situations that have occurred in service. This issue is known to the industry for almost 18 years, however it has not been addressed adequately by the aircraft manufacturer and the various operators and regulating authorities. Airbus, in an attempt to address the issue permanently, proceeded in redesigning the FCD locking arrangement and
control philosophy, which were subsequently adopted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in 2015 and 2016, as Airworthiness Directives (Ads). However, as part of the EASA consultation process, a number of major operators (United Airlines, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air Canada) have expressed reservations on the effectiveness of the Airbus redesign, on the basis of human factors issues, potential financial impact on operations and implementation cost. This brief paper intends to examine and discuss in a systematic way the possible operational and safety implications that the fan cowl doors modification can have in aircraft maintenance practice. It identifies issues in relation to this modification, introduced by Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency, which may prove problematic from the point of view of safety effectiveness and disruption of operations. An array of error-prone scenarios are presented and analysed under the prism of human factors in a non-exhaustive qualitative scenario analysis. Furthermore, a number of accident prevention solutions are proposed for each of the scenario examined, in view of the acceptance and implementation of this modification by operators.

About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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