More and more operations are seeing the benefit of meshing their MRO software with their flight operations IT solutions. Together, the two offer more synergy than perhaps any other pairing to ensure safety, efficiency and profitability. We will take a look at how these two seemingly disparate products can work together to create amazing synergy.
Commsoft’s OASES, the leading MRO IT software system for supporting airlines and aircraft maintenance organizations, has introduced a new Customs Tracking module to specifically address challenges faced by MROs and airline operators when transporting parts across customs borders.
The new module provides tracking data for both imports and exports, ensuring demonstrable customs compliance through robust data audit trails. OASES customers can now track materials in transit from supplier/manufacturer source to point of receipt of goods, and from one location to another cross-border location.
“Wherever material or equipment moves from one country to another, the relevant data is captured within OASES and this works for both incoming orders and shipments” explained Paul Lynch, VP New Business Development OASES.“ With the continuing uncertainties of a post-Brexit Europe we feel this is a timely addition to enable our customers to manage the step increase in customs-qualifying shipments they now have to deal with.”
User-friendly dashboard views provide real-time insight as customs information is captured at the point the shipment clears customs, rather than only on receipt of the goods in the warehouse. By specifying the customs territory against each address, OASES Customs Tracking allows users to view journey progress between warehouses or to and from a supplier, and ensure the relevant customs information is captured.
“The Customs Tracking module is one of the first new developments in OASES that has benefited from the continuously deployed nature of our Cloud-enabled portfolio. This facilitated rapid agile development between our aviation customer collaborators and the MIT Labs engineers, who provide the developer resource for Commsoft,” Adam Frost, product manager OASES, explained. “We were able to make changes to the UI and UX in real-time which was pushed to all customer’s UAT environments, simultaneously. This is a step-change for OASES and was crucial in delivering this new value feature to our customers with a “no surprises” end game, following the UK’s exit from the EU.”
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate (AFRL/RQ) awarded ARCTOS Technology Solutions (ARCTOS) the follow-on, $96 million indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract supporting the Research Enabling Procurement for Aerospace Systems (REPAS) program.
Formerly Universal Technology Corporation (UTC), ARCTOS has supported the AFRL/RQ for over 50 years. Based in Dayton, Ohio, ARCTOS is one of two awardees on the eight-year IDIQ contract and received five of the six competed task orders included with award.
“We’re excited to continue being part of the AFRL community and contributing to the evolution of propulsion and power technology,” said Joe Sciabica, ARCTOS CTO and vice president of Technology Solutions. “Our relationship with AFRL/RQ is longstanding and continues to be a point of pride for the ARCTOS team. ”
As the prime contractor, ARCTOS provides propulsion and power technologies research and development (R&D) to the AFRL/RQ at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Key services include R&D lifecycle efforts focused on air breathing propulsion; electrical power generation and energy conversion; and energy storage and thermal management technologies for integration into Department of Defense (DoD) systems.
Transavia France is adding the suite of TRAX eMobility apps to its maintenance environment. With this addition to their TRAX core maintenance system, Transavia will transition to electronic technical logbooks and digital task cards. The airline hopes to experience gains from going mobile and paperless.
TRAX says their eMobility apps are task-based and intuitive for end users with minimal training required and enhanced productivity achieved. Users access real-time information and are connected from anywhere with mobile off-line capability. Reduced aircraft maintenance delays combined with savings on labor manhours result in huge savings and operational efficiency.
Transavia will implement the iOS PilotLog, CabinLog, QuickTurn, and AeroDox apps along with the web-based Task Control app in Phase 1. In Phase 2 they will bring online the EzStock, VisualCheck, and Production Control apps. The eMobility Electronic Technical Logbook consists of the QuickTurn, PilotLog, and CabinLog apps which allow communication between flight and maintenance crews, reporting of aircraft and cabin defects, a permanent record of aircraft maintenance history, the electronic certificate of release, and other functionalities. The AeroDox app enables search, view and download of reference documentation needed for work performance. It handles OEM publications such as AMM, IPC, wirings, SRM, MEL, and other manuals as well as documentation in formats such as SGML, XML, PDF, Images, Schematics, Videos, and Word docs.
“We are constantly looking to identify innovative solutions for our operations. With this new eMobility tool developed by our partner TRAX, we will streamline the maintenance process for our aircraft,” Hervé Boury, COO of Transavia France, explained. “All the documents useful for managing the continuing airworthiness of our aircraft will be digitized, allowing teams to focus on their essential tasks and save precious time.”
Greater Bay Airlines (HGB), a Hong Kong based airline announced it partnered with FLYdocs to digitize maintenance records for its fleet of Boeing 737-800s.
The start-up airline founded by Hong Kong tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau signed a five-year deal with FLYdocs to automate and digitize its aircraft records. The partnership will enable the operator to capitalise on digital transformation by utilizing the seamless integration between FLYdocs and the leading M&E platform, AMOS for full compliance-on-demand.
“We are a new player in the market, so it is imperative that we begin operations with processes that deliver on both innovation and efficiency to help us meet our objectives,” Algernon Yau, CEO of Greater Bay Airlines said. “The entire team at FLYdocs instilled confidence and assurance that the partnership we are creating together represents the future of digitization to help us drive operational efficiency into our business as we embark on this exciting journey.”
John Bowell, director of Commercial & Marketing at FLYdocs added, “This is a fantastic opportunity for FLYdocs in supporting a start-up airline which is a first for us. The global pandemic has massively disrupted our industry, so it’s inspiring to see signs of recovery and a very positive outlook with operators like Greater Bay Airlines entering the scene. What is even more encouraging is that the team at Greater Bay Airlines are already championing digital solutions like the FLYdocs platform and AMOS to drive greater safety, sustainability and compliance outcomes. We look forward to growing our collaboration and wish them all the success going forward.”
Cebu Pacific, the largest carrier in the Philippines, has selected the FLYdocs Aircraft Records Management platform for its fleet of 66 aircraft. The agreement will see the founding member of the Value alliance adopt a fully paperless approach to its records management.
The FLYdocs platform has an enhanced integration with planning and maintenance software, AMOS, to interface the two systems to deliver the world’s first and full digital aircraft compliance on-demand.
“The FLYdocs project is a major part of our digitalization strategy and progression towards becoming a world-class Engineering Business,” said Ian Wolfe, senior aAdviser for Engineering and Fleet Management at Cebu Pacifi. “Cebu Pacific is now an active user of the AMOS business system and this capability to transfer data between the two platforms seamlessly will really assist in streamlining our day-to-day processes, and enable more timely compliance and accuracy of Technical Records across our fleet. After evaluating several other suppliers, FLYdocs came out as the logical choice as they provided the most extensive platform to cover our needs, as we continue with our digitalization efforts. Going fully paperless will also help us reduce our environmental footprint as this will reduce our cumulative aircraft fuel burn, and consequently our carbon emissions.”
André Fischer, CEO at FLYdocs added, “This long-term partnership with Cebu Pacific comes at a time when we are really investing a lot of resources into the Asia-Pacific market. We are excited to partner with Cebu Pacific on their journey to becoming a truly paperless company with now both FLYdocs® and AMOS seamlessly working together to provide improved operational efficiencies. There are several players in the market, and we are delighted that FLYdocs continues to stand out as the leading platform of choice for a growing number of airlines.”
Global aviation software provider Ramco Systems announced that it has gone live at Caverton Helicopters Limited, a Nigerian aerospace company serving the Nigerian and West African offshore oil and gas industry and other business sectors, with its Aviation M&E MRO Suite V5.8, thereby integrating and digitally transforming Caverton Helicopters’ business processes.
With modules for Engineering & CAMO, Maintenance, Supply Chain Management, Safety, Compliance & Quality, Flight Operations, MRO Sales, Employee Master and Basic Finance, Ramco Aviation Suite V5.8 enables Caverton Helicopters to track transactions and execute work packages, online visibility of Aircraft Utilization, generate flight contract billing, track employee certification and skills, track procurement transaction from Material requisition to Goods Receipt, Material Demand Planning for effective planning and provide a centralized hub for CAMO to review and verify the compliance and configuration of aircrafts and components.
Integrated with Caverton’s finance legacy application for touch points of Supplier Master, Exchange Rate and GL Posting. The provision of accurate data will eliminate the risk of release of aircraft that are not airworthy.
“We are delighted to announce the successful go-live of Ramco Aviation Suite at Caverton Helicopters Limited,” Rotimi Makanjuola, managing director, Caverton Helicopters Limited, said. “With the advanced visibility and tracking provided by Ramco’s integrated Aviation Suite, and Caverton’s extensive aerospace expertise, we are now ready to digitally transform the Nigerian Helicopter Sector and Aviation industry.”
Virender Aggarwal, CEO, Ramco Systems, said, “Infused with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, Ramco’s Aviation M&E MRO Suite has been successfully bringing about transformation for our customers in the Aviation, Aerospace & Defence space. We are happy to offer Caverton Helicopters a platform that will help them maintain their position as an innovator in the nation.”
Caverton Helicopters is a subsidiary of the Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, which is a fully, integrated offshore support company providing aviation and marine logistics services to businesses operating in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and across West Africa.
It’s very encouraging that the end of the pandemic is hopefully in sight and once these wonderful vaccines are successfully rolled out then life can start to return to some normality. At which point travel and events such as ATW can safely recommence.
We therefore feel it is more prudent to reschedule ATW, one last time, to 3-4th November ’21 giving the vaccine roll out more time. The event will remain at the same Diagora venue in Toulouse, France.
We are very confident that our in-person event will be a great success and it’s even bigger than when it was originally scheduled pre-pandemic! The conference programmes are already in place https://lnkd.in/dmS7FSz and the exhibitions halls are nearly full https://lnkd.in/dTRjzTW.
The hiatus in our event schedule has ironically given us more time to use our new publication, ✈ Aerospace Tech REVIEW to share news and raise even greater awareness of the event for us all. Therefore we expect a significant take up from attendees which will create a much needed business platform for us all.
Thank you to all our loyal supporters and see you in Toulouse!
Aeroji GmbH, a startup based in Berlin, Germany that develops a social marketplace platform for aero engine trading and leasing, announced Halftime for the initiated beta testing phase and as such is inviting all interested aviation professionals to join and contribute to tailor the platform accordingly.
Starting Thursday, March 04, 2021 the beta testing phase of the Aeroji marketing module will be accessible and in operational mode for three months, reaching the second big company milestone after the launch in December. Within the first half of the Beta phase the Aeroji Team additionally secured MTU Maintenance Lease Services B.V. and British Airways as Beta users. The company says the platform is continuously improving, also according to valuable feedback of the current beta users. Aeroji says, “Customer feedback is taken seriously, highly appreciated and welcomed with open arms.”
Apart from minor bug fixes and performance enhancements the testing phase is not only used to implement new and tailor-made features and functionalities but also lets beta users explore a new digitized approach of searching, assessing, trading, networking and more.
Additionally, Aeroji began holding Webinars in order to guide the user through the platform and offer a glance in future functionalities. “We are convinced that Beta users are part of the success equation and therefore need to know exactly what we are currently working on and how to use newly set up features, which will be beneficial for their daily business. We are continuously developing the platform and webinars are the best way to communicate with the users directly in order to receive quick and honest feedback regarding our developments. In principle we cherish the dialogue and the results out of it over than just presenting a product without customer proximity,” says Dimitri Martel, co-founder and managing director of Aeroji.
In December 2020 the Aeroji introduced a playground phase for all beta users to explore the platform and its features. Starting from March 2021 Aeroji says they will leave the playground phase and switch to the operational phase with real assets in the database.
“The platform is evolving but nothing has changed regarding any interested professionals, please be welcome to join at any time during the Beta phase,” says Martel. Moreover, Aeroji sets itself up for future functionalities and strives for supporting the MRO community with tailormade processes. Therefore, MRO professionals are welcome to join the platform as well. The platform will benefit from the growth and provide continuously more value with growing network.
For many years, aircraft engine manufacturers have had access to inflight performance data, being warned of actual or impending failures. This has even allowed them to take pre-emptive action, having engineers with the correct spare parts waiting at the arrival gate. This was a consequence of powerplants being the most heavily instrumented systems on the aircraft, as well as the most flight critical. Unfortunately, many other components and systems on the aircraft were passive, unable to communicate their status as they were never considered to be important enough to justify the investment required, or that their failure would generate major problems such as delays, diversions and cancellations.
This changed with the latest generation of e-enabled aircraft, such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, with many new components and systems having been designed from scratch to be able to record their performance. In addition, developments in IT and telecoms made it much easier to transmit and analyze the data. As a result, not only is there a better awareness of more faults as they happen, huge amounts of routine data are generated from every flight, which can now be downloaded after landing and made available to OEMs, MROs and airline departments.
Of course, this is a massive exercise and, with every flight, the pool of information, or data lake, gets deeper. For example, the Skywise open data platform from Airbus, which was launched in 2017, had accumulated 12 petabytes of data by August last year, the latest date for which information is available because of the pandemic. At that point, 130 airlines had signed up to Skywise, with more than 9,000 aircraft in operation. As well as the airframer, there were also more than 10 suppliers involved along with four certified partners; 15,000 internal and 2,000 external users; and 700 data analysts trained by Airbus.
Several other open data platforms have since been launched, all with the aim of providing a neutral space in which data can be analyzed. This because the lake is now so deep that it is impossible for a single airline to navigate solo. Indeed, the trick is to convert raw data into useful information that has a direct effect on operations. That means each airline needs a program specifically tailored to its own unique operating environment as well as the assistance of outside specialists.
Many components and systems have fixed service intervals, usually defined by flight hours or cycles. Often, performance will gradually deteriorate with use. Using existing technical records, thresholds for each item can be established that trigger an alarm when a fault is likely to occur. A decision can then be made whether to remove the item prematurely, with the expectation that repair will cheaper than replacement after failure. Hence the term ‘predictive maintenance’.
While this sounds great, it is not straightforward. If an airline has a power by the hour contract, with fixed monthly payments, is it reasonable to expect a discount or refund if repair costs are reduced? An even bigger issue is that, to derive maximum advantage from the data lake, input really needs to come from across the worldwide fleet. This could show general failure trends for components as well as regional variations caused by climatic conditions, for example, or allow an airline to benchmark itself against industry averages. The platform builders always say the data remains the property of the airline and that it is completely anonymized when incorporated for wider analysis, but cut throat competition means some operators are always nervous about giving something away. Something not given away, of course, is the data processing, which is a subscription service.
A good example is provided by Etihad Aviation Group, which was not only an early adopter of Skywise but assisted Airbus in its development, having started work on prognostics, data analytics and text mining algorithms in 2012, using the Intelligent Operations service from Taleris, a joint venture technology company between Accenture and GE Aviation. In 2013, it started working closely with Boeing using Airplane Health Management Gen3 Prognostics on the 777, focusing on ATA Chapters 21 (Air Conditioning), 30 (Ice & Rain Protection) and 36 (Pneumatic). These reflect sandy conditions in its home in Abu Dhabi, where a local university has helped with machine learning, data analytics and text mining. The Group has also worked with other industrial partners.
Bernhard Randerath, vice president Design, Engineering and Innovation, Etihad Aviation Group, says the aim has been to develop simple and verifiable monitoring algorithms, with failures being predicted 500 flight hours in advance. Condition monitoring should be available online and offline and adaptable to aircraft configuration changes. The number of new and existing sensors should be low and not only limited to the aircraft domain — passenger preferences/profiles and improved cabin reconfiguration have also been under study. This is typical of data mining, as airlines suddenly recognize the potential for other applications. After all, high value passengers are just as likely to be annoyed by a blank monitor as a delay caused by an engine problem.
Etihad defined six steps for nominating, isolating and predicting failures:
Step 1 – Choose for the right maintenance strategies
This is divided into three sections:
Improvement: reliability driven and includes modification, retrofit, redesign and change orders
Preventative: divided between equipment driven (self-scheduled, machine cued, control limits, when deficient and as required); predictive (statistical analysis, trends, vibration monitoring, tribology, thermography, ultrasonics and NDT); and time driven (periodic, fixed intervals, hard time limits, specific time)
Corrective: event driven and includes breakdowns, emergencies, remedial, repairs and rebuilds.
Step 2 – Choose the right relation between cost and value
In order of ascending value creation, this involves primitive (fix it when it breaks), preventative (preform time-based tasks), predictive (collect data, assess condition, repair as needed) and proactive (solve root cause of chronic problems)
Step 3 – Integrate operational data and isolate real problem makers
This can use general statistics, pilot reports, component removal reports and shop reports. This has been augmented by a dedicated reliability report, which better assists in identifying chronic problems.
Step 4 – How are predictions integrated in the maintenance process?
This involves breaking down the work orders costs that are included in the maintenance budget (reactive, periodic and non-periodic) and those that are excluded (production support, capital projects, expense projects and R&D/product testing/demonstrations)
Step 5 – Process and train in the right way
This includes condition monitoring and condition prediction processes. The condition prediction process has now been updated with certification information (temperature, HALT and HASS) as well as human factors. The result is more accurate predictive information in the case of operation in hot temperature conditions, like the home base.
Step 6 – Understand failures and integrate correction codes
This uses correction codes to achieve a Flat Local maximum and introduces local search algorithms with Hill Climbing functions.
This should produce an end-to-end intelligence platform, that is an autonomous data analytics system for prediction validation. This can be displayed on a dashboard tailored for use by the various departments in the airline, with MRO functions such as planning and electronic task cards having been added recently, although overall progress has been slowed by COVID-19 restrictions.
Another early adopter and developer of Skywise was easyJet. It has long experience in this area, having started manual entry trend engine monitoring in 1990. In the 2000s, this switched to using ACARS. From 2015, it worked closely with Airbus to identify the top 100 technical issues affecting its operations as part of early Skywise development while 2016 saw the start of a project to analyze three years of data to try and spot trends. Flight trials in that year with equipment on 85 aircraft focused on three specific technical issues, with 14 impending failures being successfully identified.
Despite all this work, it took a rather different approach from Etihad as predictive maintenance is integrated into its Operational Resilience Program, a suite of solutions that are used to keep day to day operations running smoothly and when there are problems. For example, schedule design essentially puts the right sized aircraft at the right airport at the right time to match demand. Making sure the first wave of flights departs on time makes it easier to protect the schedule if something comes up later in the day. If this happens, there are revenue, customer and crew consequences that have to be resolved. That means the predictive analytics suite needs to anticipate weather, ATC, crew, aircraft and airport challenges so personnel can accurately assess schedule, aircraft, crew, customer, airport and cost impacts in response. Some of these other solutions include the Amadeus SkySYM flight network simulation solution, produced by Optym in partnership with Amadeus; a crew pairings analyzer; standby aircraft tracker and optimizer; and a claims forecaster.
As the industry begins to recover, any cost efficiencies that can be generated will be useful and predictive maintenance will play an important part.
QOCO Systems has announced a new digitalization partnership with Rolls-Royce. Aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce chose Software as a Service (SaaS) platform EngineData.io to enable automated communications between airline maintenance information systems and its digitally enhanced services. QOCO, EngineData.io’s developer, will be responsible for rolling out the solution to all Rolls-Royce customer airlines and providing production support services for business-critical data exchange.
“Our customers share data with us so that we can provide the best possible service outcomes,” Nick Ward, VP Digital Systems at Rolls-Royce said. “With accurate, timely data we can treat every engine as an individual, helping our customers to achieve high engine availability and reliability while minimising maintenance. It’s part of our IntelligentEngine vision.”
According to QOCO Managing Director Markku Nyman, “We are thrilled with what’s only the first stage of the Rolls-Royce–QOCO partnership. Together, we have the necessary expertise and skill set to pursue digital transformation in the aviation industry and give airlines rapid access to the benefits of data-driven solutions while tackling typical integration issues.”
The Rolls-Royce–QOCO partnership began in 2018 when Rolls-Royce chose QOCO to accelerate its global digitalization initiative. QOCO’s deep industry expertise, delivery capability of robust data exchange solutions for airlines and state-of-the-art proven solution EngineData.io made it a prime candidate to become Rolls-Royce’s strategic partner.
Rolls-Royce and QOCO say they will continue to work in tandem to help airlines optimize business processes. By automating real-world data exchange with Rolls-Royce digital services and EngineData.io, carriers can reduce operational costs, gather insights on each trip, maximize Trent engines’ utilization and optimize maintenance schedules.
“We are delighted to be able to offer our customers a practical solution to data collaboration,” said Richard Swallow, head of Digital Service Readiness at Rolls-Royce. “EngineData.io gives airlines complete control over the data they choose to automatically share with and receive from us. And they have confidence that the data transfer is fully secure. It’s very effective, reducing the effort required by our customers to operate some services by over 50%.”