Author: Sjoerd Stilma

The first blog in the aircraft phase-in series will of course be about the initial and actual setup of the aircraft registration itself in the MRO/M&E system used in your airline. Even though this seems straight forward, and definitely is not the greatest challenge of an aircraft phase-in, there are some important items to take into consideration.

Fundamental aircraft OEM data is required to support the engineering departments to help manage the aircraft and ensure continuous airworthiness. The initial aircraft setup impacts, maintenance program related data throughout the entire system. Therefore the setup of various data points must be done well thought through.

The initial setup of an aircraft is not a complex task. But it is cumbersome to change this setup at a later stage. So it is important to think through all decisions that are made during the creation process of the aircraft into the system.

Depending on the MRO/M&E system your airline uses the terminology might differ slightly, however given that all MRO/M&E systems need to cover the basic principles of airworthiness management similar principles apply irrespective of the system used to  manage your aircraft.

Preparation tasks

Prior to setting up any data it needs to be ensured that the system has the basic infrastructure setup required to accommodate a new aircraft. Mainly two items are involved:

  • Aircraft type definitions
  • Address/Vendor definitions

When phasing in aircraft for an existing fleet in the system, above mentioned infrastructure is usually already in place and not of any concern. However if the to be phased in aircraft is part of a new fleet previously unknown to the system this requires a review. The aircraft type definitions setup ultimately influence reporting, maintenance task applicability/effectivities and future aircraft inductions. Setting this up in more detail can benefit in the long run. E.g. specify a certain Boeing aircraft type as follows: 

Main type:          B737NG

Model:                 B73-8

Subtype:              738BCF

Having a setup like this can help differentiate maintenance task applicability’s when there are other aircraft in the system of the same aircraft type but with other models or even sub types. Maybe that is not the case right now, but it can be in the future. Going back to change this setup again could prove difficult at a later stage.

The address/vendor setup is required to assign specific entities, manufacturer codes and authorities to the aircraft. This can also be used for maintenance tasks to differentiate applicability’s/effectivities at a later stage of the phase-in.

What data sets are required for aircraft creation?

Let’s now discuss the minimum required data sets related to an aircraft for a phase-in and why it is required to have them.

Most of the mandatory required data properties are needed for airworthiness purposes. Next to the very obvious properties such as the aircraft registration itself we are talking about the following properties:

  • Aircraft type/Model/Subtype
  • Serial number/Line number
  • Aircraft owner
  • Aircraft operator
  • Manufacture date/Delivery date
  • Daily aircraft hours & cycles
  • Aircraft utilization (Historical flight legs)
  • Aircraft ratings/Engine thrust ratings (if applicable)

Some of these properties will for example trigger certain maintenance events as applicable or not applicable if one of these properties is mentioned in the maintenance planning document, and given that this maintenance event (e.g. Taskcard) is also setup properly to reflect that. Other properties such as the engine thrust ratings can influence when a certain maintenance event will go due. A modern aircraft data management system will be able to calculate this real time.

The daily aircraft hours and cycles will in turn provide an accurate estimated date when certain maintenance events will go due. In case of a completely new aircraft, these calculations are based on the estimated daily aircraft hours and cycles. But in case of an older aircraft which already has a certain track record in terms of flight hours and cycles these due estimations will become more accurate as soon as the aircraft utilization is also phased in into the system. It is therefore always recommended to do so.

Other data to consider

Other less critical data sets which are also considered part of the initial aircraft setup are as follows:

  • Warranties
  • Weight and balance
  • Area codes
  • Zone codes
  • Panel codes

These are mostly non critical items which can also be setup at a later stage. The area, zone and panel codes are fleet specific data sets and usually already setup in the system. In case of a new aircraft type, experience has learnt us that these will be setup in conjunction with the maintenance program.

How to avoid common pitfalls

There are some common pitfalls that can be avoided when setting up new aircraft:

  • Take into consideration future fleet inductions of similar aircraft types with other models and sub types.
  • Understand and be aware how certain aircraft setup decisions can impact other  modules of a system.
  • Fully utilizing the capabilities of the system to ease work and management of aircraft airworthiness data.
  • Setting up the full aircraft utilization (historical flight legs): This is not always done due to the fact that there is a large amount of records to be entered in the system which will not be feasible to perform without the right tools.
  • Ensuring correct aircraft utilization records (no data inconsistencies). E.g. flight hours/cycles do not add up at the end of a flight leg. With the right tools this data can be rectified/cleansed.

What is next?

In the next blog of aircraft phase-in series we will be taking a closer look at the part administration setup and all related topics that need to be considered for a successful aircraft phase-in to a new system.

Aircraft phase-in series:

  • Aircraft setup (Published)
  • Part number administration
  • Installed components
  • Maintenance program
  • Modifications & Documents
  • Extras

How EXSYN can help

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