Air China lauds real-time health monitoring with 40 737s fitted

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Boeing's airplane health management (AHM) system is now active on 40 Air China Boeing 737NGs and critical information is being transmitted to the ground in real-time via ACARS, the airframer revealed today.

The AHM system, selected last year by Air China for its 117 in-service and on-order 737NGs, allows the carrier to gather and evaluate in-flight flying condition data, relaying the data to ground controllers.

"This visibility allows the airline to better plan and perform repairs, minimizing scheduling impacts," says Boeing, adding that AHM "also supports long-term fleet reliability by helping airlines identify and respond to faults proactively".

Fleet-wide history and knowledge from multiple operators is also available to help guide repair decisions on same-model airplanes.

Air China deputy chief engineer Zhong Dechao says the carrier is "quite excited to begin seeing the benefits of airplane health management. AHM will help us improve our maintenance efficiency and will benefit our passengers with an even higher level of on-time performance."

While there are multiple, advanced in-flight connectivity options for operators to relay real-time data to the ground, a Boeing spokesman says ACARS is being employed, as part of a new agreement between Boeing and Teledyne Controls.

Announced last month, the deal calls for Boeing to supply Teledyne's digital flight data acquisition unit (DFDAU), which uses ACARS, as a key component in its AHM system for the 737NG.

Until now, Boeing's AHM offering had focused on aircraft equipped with a central maintenance computer (CMC) to provide critical fault data to the Boeing AHM ground station over the aircraft's data link.

Teledyne's DFDAU, with its embedded aircraft condition monitoring system (ACMS), performs the CMC function, by feeding data to Boeing's AHM diagnostic, prognostic and trending algorithms.

"Working together with Teledyne will provide enhanced connectivity to airplane systems, and will advance AHM for Next-Generation 737 customers," says John Maggiore, programme manager, airplane health management, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This is a key focus area for expanding the AHM customer base."