With so many Big Data analytics programs being offered by airframe OEMs and global MROs, is there a need for Honeywell’s latest comprehensive MRO, fuel and operations offering, Forge for Airlines? Vice president and general manager John Peterson thinks so, and believes Honeywell is uniquely positioned to offer the service.
“Forge is simply an extension of Honeywell connecting aircraft and finding more creative ways to increase reliability,” Peterson explains. “We get data off aircraft in many ways, Wi-Fi, sat-comm, GSM, Ka-, Ku-band, Jetwave.” And Honeywell’s acquisition of Aviaso gave it access to sophisticated techniques for fuel savings and a path into flight planning to optimize fuel use in climb, en-route and descent.
Most airlines are now collecting data from aircraft, both old and new types. Honeywell has developed low-cost ways to get that data off. Then, “we clean, sort, table it, run it through our algorithms and provide a view of initiatives to help make decisions,” Peterson says. Using these tools, airlines can save anywhere from 1-5% of fuel, although most carriers that have already implemented some changes will save 1-3%.
For predictive maintenance, Forge offers much more than coverage of the APUs Honeywell knows so well. Forge helps with predictive maintenance across components in 11 ATA chapters, including avionics, APUs, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and environmental systems. The tool supports six models, Boeing 737s, 747s, 777s and 787s and Airbus A320s andA350s. For landing gear, Forge tracks hard landings and, when available, sensor data on temperatures in wheels and brakes.
Compared with OEM solutions, Peterson says Forge recognizes that airlines consider their data private. “Airline data is their data, we do not aggregate it or anonymize it.” Forge uses each airline’s data to make predictions for that airline, but its algorithms are based on Honeywell’s past work with many airlines.
“There is significant economy of scale in data and results to tune an algorithm’s accuracy, and we have a huge amount of data gathered from working with many airlines in recent years,” Peterson says. “The increased accuracy of the algorithm benefits all Forge customers without comparing results or performance of one customer’s data against another.”
The Honeywell exec says airlines want a broad MRO, fuel and operating solution from one supplier because they do not want to give data to lots of organizations. “We provide maximum value with the minimum impact of people looking at the data.”
About 7,000 aircraft are now covered by at least one element of Forge. Peterson says the service can support fleets of any size, from one to a thousand aircraft.