October 08, 2012
Henry Canaday Washington
More and more maintenance data is moving to the cloud, but to fully exploit the potential of digitized records, the push for standardizing data is increasing.
Airlines and regulators will have to accept digital records on lease transfers and agree on a common list of required records. Companies providing data repositories also must adopt common data standards so they can all exchange data efficiently.
As an example, one of the world's largest leasing companies, GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas), recently signed a five-year agreement with AerData to use Stream digital aircraft records software to store and manage scanned aircraft and engine records. The deal allows Gecas to load data from any location and make it available around the world immediately, “instead of managing it in-house and getting it to the field in PDFs on thumb drives or zipped on disks,” says Godfrey Ryan, AerData's director of marketing and sales.
The ultimate aim is electronic delivery of all lease records from one airline to another along with aircraft delivery.
The leasing industry wants a standard list of electronic documents—a universal delivery bible. “That will also take time for regulators to accept, but the process has started and it will eventually happen,” says Ryan.
However, benefits of digitization alone are real for now. “If a leasing company has an aircraft in Jakarta, instead of going there and going through boxes of records with all the expense in time and money, the lessor can go through records on the web,” Ryan explains. If the aircraft and its many boxes of records are locked up due to bankruptcy, lessors can still use the digital records to prepare for the next maintenance check.
Gecas plans to put all its historical maintenance records, now stored on various platforms, onto Stream, says Anton Tams, senior vice president for technical planning and process control. “Initially, we will focus on aircraft we are transitioning, then the engines leased by our sister company and then on the aircraft we sell,” Tams says. “We can't do all 1,800 aircraft at once.” He estimates the entire shift of records to Stream will last until Gecas has transitioned each aircraft at least once on its 5-7-year lease. No Gecas records will be excluded from the process.