After the embryonic Kansas City meeting, the Airlines Plating Forum, convening annually since 1966, has enjoyed a worldwide attendance of airline plating & related shop personnel. The number has varied according to global business conditions, but its importance has continually grown with an industry comprised of the airlines, airframe and engine manufacturers; their subcontract ors and overhaul & repair facilities. The barriers which once existed between the manufacturers and users have been lowered and hurdled. Any aloofness has disappeared, with the practice of meeting on a first name basis.
The average operator's dilemma is that he has equipment from several different sources: generally airframes from Boeing, Douglas & Lockheed; engines from P&WA, GE &. Rolls Royce. Although, in many instances, they use precicely the same materials, each has a specification which varies enough from his counterpart's spec. to cause the operator a myriad of problems, as a result of having to comply with so many of them.
Partially, through the medium of the forums, airlines generally have built up an excellent relationship with the engine and airframe makers. They can understand our problems and how the problems can be different from the conditions with which the are faced. We may not always be able to get what we want but at least we can communicate. It is not expected that one manufacturer be overly concerned with the other's process. Yet, the airlines and subcontractors are faced with the problem of writing one in-house specification that covers the processing requirements of several different manufacturers.
This has not exactly become a reality. However, the annual Airlines Plating Forum has brought all concerned to a commonalty of purpose, effort & understanding, which can assist the airlines in repairing and maintaining safe and reliable aircraft at a minimum expense.