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Aviation News Airbus's Skywise platform now extends to overall fleet reliability improvement

Airbus's Skywise platform now extends to overall fleet reliability improvement

Romain Guillot in Atlanta
25 APR 2019 | 860 words
Airbus's Skywise platform now extends to overall fleet reliability improvement
Allegiant
The MRO Americas convention which was held in Atlanta provided Airbus with the opportunity to officially launch a brand new service associated with its Skywise platform. This is Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM), a new application which, combined with the Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM) bricks now provides a complete solution to improve airlines' operations.

According to Norman Baker, SVP Digital Solutions at Airbus, Skywise Health Monitoring isn't just a tool to manage alerts, which other actors on the market are already doing, but one which enables them to be put in an operational context (history of events that may lead to this type of alert). The information should solve a problem and improve airlines' operations. He specifies that this new solution also uses algorithms which monitor the actual effectiveness of the corrective measure, for example after a defective part is replaced. "The goal now is no longer to make aircraft more reliable, but to make airlines' operations more reliable", he confirms.

The first airlines announced as a customer of the new service is Allegiant, based in Las Vegas, which in just a few short years has gone from a fleet made up exclusively of MD-80s to the Airbus narrow body family. The American airline now flies 87 A319/A320s, all powered by CFM56-5Bs.

Cristian Toro, VP Maintenance & Engineering at Allegiant, explains that the airline introduced Skywise Health Monitoring at the start of January and that tangible gains were identified immediately in terms of operational performance. Allegiant was previously using the AIRMAN solution from Services by Airbus. In particular, he mentions the platform's new dashboard, but above all the possibilities for viewing in detail the prognostic and predictive aspects of the alerts in real time. Cristian Toro specifies that the entire Allegiant fleet is covered by the Airbus solution, but that for now only two aircraft are equipped with FOMAX (Flight Operations and MAintenance eXchanger) data collection units. The rest of the fleet will follow by the end of 2020, during scheduled base maintenance inspections with an MRO supplier.

Allegiant's maintenance director illustrated what Skywise Health Monitoring provides with two particularly evocative examples. The first is related to vibrations which appeared on an engine after a bird strike but which were reported by pilots as a vibration problems on the airframe. "The platform had correctly identified the engine as the source of the problem, which made our work easier by letting us focus simply on solving the fault on the N1 which we were able to correct in a few hours. If the vibrations observed by the crew had led us to inspect the stabiliser, the rudder and the gear doors, this would have taken much more time, and perhaps even several days. This really helped us be much more effective and save money".

The second example relates to an equipment. This was the stubborn behaviour of a wing anti-ice system pneumatic valve which triggered a predictive alert on the platform, whereas it was completely "silent" in relation to the flight deck and the maintenance. The valve was replaced overnight during a routine inspection and the plane returned immediately to normal condition. "But what's most impressive is that when we submitted this equipment to different functional tests in the shop such as pressure tests or internal leak searches, there was nothing to show any specific problems because everything was within limits; it was a collective build-up of a lot of little faults that caused the valve to malfunction", he explained. And so in conclusion: "It provides us with major gains, as we now have scheduled maintenance events rather than incidents which could have an impact on our operations". Finally, Cristian Toro specifies that since the Airbus SHM solution was set up the platform has revealed around forty events.

Of course, unlike the Skywise Core part associated with Skywise Reliability which enables airlines to view and analyse all of their fleet's operational parameters for free in exchange for sharing their data, Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) is a paid-for service like Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM). Norman Baker says that access to this new service will depend on the customer. "We have fixed price models for the different bricks. We think that they will enable airlines to increase their decision-making capabilities by letting us focus on MCC and OCC and we are working with our entire Services branch to see how we can strengthen the added value we can offer customers". He also specifies that Skywise's commercial offers are quite simply but that they in no way correspond to a "one size fits all", as Airbus co-creates the different applications with its customers to provide them with the solution they actually need.

The Skywise platform now has over 60 customer airlines, fifty of which use Skywise Reliability Services and nine Skywise Predictive Maintenance. The new Skywise Health Monitoring brick has also been adopted by another airline. The new service will soon be available for the A330/A340s, A350s and A380s. Norman Baker also told us that SHM would of course be compatible with third party fleets.
Romain Guillot
Chief editor
Cofounder of Journal de l'Aviation and Alertavia


 
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