Aircraft access solution helps keep planes in the air

By Maria Hadlow07 October 2008

Semmco launches its tail docking system to help improve the safety and speed of aircraft maintenance

Semmco launches its tail docking system to help improve the safety and speed of aircraft maintenance.

UK based design and engineering company, Semmco has officially launched a specialist access solution for aircraft maintenance. The tail docking system encases the aircraft tail and consists of a series of platforms which allow engineers to work at four height levels from 2.5 m (8 ft) to 9 m (30ft).

The docking system is built on a steel base, while the aluminium construction of the frame and platform makes the tail dock light enough to be easily manoeuvred to suit a number of maintenance requirements.

Stuart McOnie, Semmco's managing director said, "Expansion in the aviation industry in recent years has brought new health and safety challenges - with aircraft turnaround times reduced, increasing competition for space at airports and global pressures on the industry for ever increasing efficiencies.

"This is reflected in the fact that the [UK] Health and Safety Executive receives about 40 reported incidents of air transport industry staff injuring themselves after falling from height every year - many of them occurring in airside aircraft maintenance, with a significant proportion of the most serious happening during aircraft turn around.

"We hope that our tail docking system - and our other aircraft access solutions - will improve these statistics considerably and make such injuries a thing of the past," said Mr McOnie

Although this was the official launch of the docking system, UK airline, bmi, has been using the system for some time. The access solution allowed the airline to adopt a programme of equalised maintenance - which means maintenance is carried our on an ongoing basis rather than grounding the plane for a full maintenance check often keeping the plane out of operation for five full days a year.

Stuart Green, bmi's engineering director said, "The tail docking solution has been fundamental to the successful implementation of equalised maintenance for bmi. I have been impressed by how solid the structure is and also pleased with the engineering staff's positive reaction to this new piece of equipment. It has made their jobs not only easier but safer, and that's how we like to do things."

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