Predictive analytics in data analytics has proven to be a game changer in retail. It allows retailers to fine tune marketing strategies to almost unbelievable levels of accuracy, drilling down precisely what consumers are most likely to purchase and when.
But this only begins to scratch the surface of data analysis and analytics – predictive analytics, often used to determine customer behaviors, is also proving capable of predicting future events to include equipment failure. This sort of behavioral analysis is remarkable and directly useful to predicting change, breakage, and failure in just about any industry to include aviation equipment, both aircraft as well as ground equipment.
Line maintenance on aircraft is full of extremes; very few aircraft or technicians are likely to work in ideal, temperate climates all of the time. Some locations are afflicted with high heat and humidity, or a combination with grit and sand. Others enjoy mild summers but brutal cold. Other climates yet draw the shortest straws and are very hot and very cold. We know how it makes our bodies feel, but what are the true mechanical effects on machines? Let’s take a look at how extreme environmental conditions affect flight and ground operations.
The technology age holds great potential for aircraft maintenance, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), and basically any other part of aircraft operations. While software programs are not particularly new, dating back into the 1990s, they have improved by an order of magnitude. There is now no shortage of software systems and mobile applications which can do any number of tasks from supply and logistics to data analytics. Let’s take a look at a few of the best of the market.
The advent of 3D printing, technically known as additive manufacturing (AM), has taken the hobbyist world by storm in recent years. It is a fairly simple concept where polymers, metals, concrete, paper, or ceramics are formed into complex shapes by the use of digital files.
The standard construction material of commercial aircraft has remained virtually unchanged in over the course of the last six decades; semi-monocoque design with sheet metal formers, stringers, and bulkheads, covered with aluminum skin held together by rivets.
After months (maybe years) of careful consideration, planning, saving, and some fretting, you or your company has decided to take a huge leap and purchase a corporate aircraft. “Corporate jet” sounds awfully alluring, doesn’t it?
Buying a private jet, whether it be for personal (business) use, corporate use, or a charter agency, is a big decision. They are a huge-ticket item and moreover, the operational expenses are very high as opposed to other equipment of comparable value (yachts/boats, construction equipment, etc.).
The aviation and airline industry as a whole has been talking about a significant shortfall globally in pilots over the next two decades, and that murmur has recently been rising closer to a shriek. The problem is that aviation maintenance technicians and mechanics are facing perhaps an even bleaker outlook of their own.
Boeing estimates that foreign object debris (FOD) causes $4 Billion in damage to aircraft per year. That’s billion with a “b”. The cases of FOD damage are varied in scope and intensity but it cannot be underestimated; it was FOD which brought down the Air France Concorde on July 25th, 2000. FOD is generally a preventable condition yet somehow it continues to cause billions in damage every year.
What exactly can we do to lower the workload on technicians in the industry? Assume that hiring new personnel for aircraft maintenance is out of the question, then where does that leave the MRO business model? The human component of the technician workforce is not going anywhere any time soon, if ever. So it the question which begs to be asked is where gains in efficiency and accuracy can be achieved. The answer is, as with so many established markets and technical segments, automation and emerging technology.