Allegiant Air’s recent adoption of Airbus’ Skywise reliability service follows successful earlier use of Skywise services, notes Christian Toro, vice president for maintenance and engineering.
These earlier services were predictive maintenance models based on the current Aircraft Condition Monitoring System data. “From these, we have identified actionable items from the cockpit oxygen system and aircraft bleed system,” Toro explains. “Using these models, we have been able to successfully capture occurrences of pinhole leaks and issues related to the pressure release valve where the associated sense line was found to require replacement.”
All these issues would typically have been items that would have gone unchecked until a fault appeared, at which time the aircraft would be grounded pending maintenance. But Skywise data models allowed Allegiant to convert unscheduled maintenance events into scheduled events. “Based on feedback from Airbus, gains are expected to be anywhere between a 5% to 25% decrease in operational interruptions,” Toro says.
Allegiant is still in phase one of Skywise implementation, using software outside the aircraft. It has been working with Airbus on integration with its maintenance information system. The airline has begun training staff to use data transmitted from existing systems on the aircraft and the maintenance information system to help troubleshoot faster and make decisions based on quick snapshots.
Next up is hardware installation to harness the complete power of Skywise’s predictive maintenance suite. Installation of Rockwell Collins' Flight Operations and Maintenance Exchanger (FOMAX) is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018. “We have received most of the required hardware and are working through final documentation with Airbus on this piece.” Foto says. “Initial drafts for engineering documentation have been prepared.”
The maintenance chief says Allegiant partnered with Airbus for the advantage of working directly with the manufacturer and the particular insights and analysis for predictive maintenance that brings. “Airbus is able to utilize the data from individual aircraft and compare it to design requirements, to help predict failure modes prior to the occurrence of an unscheduled event. Airbus also has the ability to use the world fleet data to improve its predictive analysis. This tool truly helps Allegiant go from a prognostic maintenance approach to a predictive maintenance approach.”
In addition, because Allegiant is a relatively new operator of Airbus aircraft, it is advantageous to use true health data of components, rather than rely on the airline’s own histories of systems, a limited set of data.