Aircraft IT MRO – August/September 2013

Aircraft IT MRO – August/September 2013 Cover


Name Author
Getting Better View article
Leveraging advantage out of software Sander de Bree, Managing Director,ExSyn Aviation Solutions View article
Mobility workforce Fernando Ferreira Matos, Head of Information Technologies,TAP Maintenance & Engineering View article
A fresh look at information Tim Larson, Chief Product Owner for TechSight/X suite of products, InfoTrust Group View article
How I see it Michael Wm. Denis View article

How I see it

Author: Michael Wm. Denis


I lost a credit card while on vacation and when the new one arrived by FedEx, I signed a hand held device with an electronic ‘digitized’ signature block. We all do this on a daily basis at grocery stores, petrol stations, and retail outlets. So why is it that ‘paperless’ airlines are only paperless on one side of the runway?

Electronic signatures are an integral part of paperless airline operations. But as of early 2013 the number of airlines and MROs printing and signing paper aircraft log books, task cards, non-routines, 8130/Form1 ARCs, COAs, etc. still represents well over ninety per cent of the aerospace industry?

The usual excuse I hear is there are regulatory issues with implementing eSignature. Poppycock! The EU Parliament passed the Electronic Signatures Directive, 1999/93/EC in December 1999 and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign) was enacted by the US in June 2000. FAA Advisory Circular 120-78, ‘Acceptance and Use of Electronic Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping Systems and Electronic Manuals’ was published in October 2002 and EASA published a similar advisory, Decision No 2010/001/R, on 23rd M arch 2010.

The other common excuse is that the technology is too expensive. Balderdash!

At one of my clients I observed a paper form used to perform an engine oil servicing was four pages. Four pieces of paper and ink, printed by a clerk, filled out by an engineer, signed, returned to a line shack for partial entry into the MRO IT system by a another clerk, storage on site for one month, shipping to central records, QC check, storage for eighteen months, then shipped to another facility for destruction. Sum it all up and there’s over a million dollars per year for oil servicing paperwork. Start considering the paper related costs of log books, task cards, non-routines, EOs, ARCs, etc. and the mountains of paper and money become massive. So what is the business case for doing nothing?

Signatures (physical and electronic) follow five increasing capability maturity levels:
CL1 A ‘wet’ signature and/or stamp;
CL2 An electronic code (pin and/or password);
CL3 A digitized image of a ‘wet’ signature (including photocopied ‘wet’ signatures);
CL4 A digital signature, which uses cryptographic mathematical algorithms to detect the uniqueness of a digitized signature pen strokes or key entries and returns a hash code;
CL5 Any other unique form of individual identification that can be used as a means of authenticating a record or document and the person entering information (e.g. biometric unique identification such as fingerprint scan or retinal scan).

eSignatures aren’t rocket science technology; they are, however, an easy, cheap, and fast method of improving efficient operations.

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