The big advantage of augmented reality tools, for either training or supporting aircraft maintenance, lies in the ability to bridge long distances. Long distances are a special challenge for an MRO that specializes in line maintenance and must do inspections and possibly repairs in many locations.
At line MRO FEAM, chief operating officer Dan Allawat expects augmented reality to play a major part in his business. “We think it is inevitable that these tools become part of the everyday fabric of maintaining aircraft,” Allawat says. “FEAM is closely monitoring the developments of these tools in order to ascertain best applications for our segment of the industry.”
The FEAM chief notes that his firm now does line maintenance in 28 locations, using more than 700 maintenance personnel who support 30 different airline customers. Each of those airline customers has its own set of locations for its expert engineering staff.
In light of all this geographical dispersion, Allawat sees strong benefits in the new tools. “The ability to leverage augmented reality technology to provide remote technical support and reporting, as well remote training applications, will greatly enhance our capabilities and services to our customers.”
On hardware and software choices, Allawat says only, “we are in the early stages of reviewing the various options that are coming out on the market.”
But things could start to move rapidly: “As with most emerging technologies, the advancements in augmented reality are happening at a very fast pace. We think within the next few years this technology will be commonplace within our industry.”