Air Transport World

Troubleshooting from 25,000 ft.: new systems permit line maintenance departments to diagnose and troubleshoot faults while aircraft are still in the air. (M & E).

It is every operations manager's fantasy: An inbound flight experiences a nagging technical glitch that has the potential to delay the tightly coupled outbound leg, but before the aircraft even lands, line maintenance not only knows about the fault, it has the solution. As the plane taxis to the gate, a mechanic is standing by with the proper tools and/or parts to make the fix. The aircraft departs on time.

That fantasy is becoming a reality at more and more airlines thanks to the availability of sophisticated onboard computerized maintenance systems and the ability of ACARS to transmit messages in real time from those systems to the ground. Equally important is the development of sophisticated analytical software capable of sifting through thousands of cryptic text codes to identify the possible and most likely causes of a fault and provide gate maintenance with a troubleshooting solution.

Airbus, which arguably made this all possible with the launch of the digital fly-by-wire A320 family in the late 1980s, last year began offering a ground-based maintenance software solution that provides real-time access to data captured in the Onboard Maintenance System common to the A320 and A330/A340 families. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.