Aerosystems International (AeI) is developing a web-based, maintenance planning, control and information system that can be accessed using a hand-held computer.

The work builds on a system being used in a 16-month US Army trial for its Boeing CH-47 Chinook fleet, which has just been extended by 18 months and could be used on other US Army helicopter fleets.

Peter Clayton, AeI director information systems business, says the plan is "delivery of good information in a timely way and capturing what the maintainer does, delivering this into the supply chain".

The system is a fourth generation version of Yeovil, UK-based AeI's maintenance programmes, is modular, built around common core software and uses bespoke aircraft interfaces. It integrates with AeI's broader maintenance planning systems that capture operational data and prepare them for maintenance systems and engineering management programs. These allow configuration management and control of on-condition and scheduled maintenance.

Clayton says the system is able to deliver technical publications, diagnostics procedures, and spares and reference data.

An internet-based approach allows manufacturers to look at worldwide fleet data, or information for a single aircraft and potentially allows sharing of data across users. The system is two-way, with the maintainer able to return information to the data centre.

The US Army trial system is housed in laptop computers, but AeI has developed a prototype hosted on a Compaq iPAQ hand-held unit. The E-Cards application on the iPAQ has job cards for work packages with procedures, technical publications information, including drawings and videos.

AeI may make the hand-held device interactive with the wider system and is looking at technologies such as voice activation. Ruggidised tablets or wearable computers are also being considered.

Source: Flight International