Printed headline: Be Bold
New technology for scheduling and recordkeeping are all the rage. The ability to coordinate maintenance requirements and track components through mutually acceptable software programs is great. Unfortunately, these capabilities depend upon human input that can introduce errors.
On the other hand, there is technology that allows remote viewing of an article, engine or aircraft with the same (and often even better) visibility than in-person, on-premises, yet it is not being fully embraced. In April 2018, the FAA released draft guidance for comment on “video-witnessing” testing or inspections in design. In August 2018, the industry responded with a draft advisory circular for consideration that expanded the concept of remote viewing to operation and maintenance activities. Since then, the agency has promised to release guidance for design and production activities and has admitted there is nothing that prevents its use in maintenance, even without guidance.
Even though the industry can enhance and expand its capability to perform inspections and to supervise maintenance activities with remote-connectivity technology, the fear of misuse and abuse continues to dominate its adoption. This is despite the facts that the technology can:
- Enhance visibility with multiple-camera configurations and lighting;
- Save travel time and money;
- Improve the productivity of inspectors and supervisors;
- Offer instant access to multiple experts and expertise; and
- Create more efficiency in day-to-day operations.
The use of remote technology needs to be embraced rather than relegated to the back burner due to problems that exist with or without its use. The issues with performing inspections, supervision and oversight are the same—saying you did when you didn’t or performing the work badly or in a slipshod manner—whether the activities are done in-person, on-premises or remotely.
It is time for the maintenance industry to use these tried and true techniques in a bold manner to enhance:
- Maintenance control’s ability to view issues and ensure appropriate solutions during line maintenance activities;
- The ability to perform required inspection item inspections;
- The capability of on-premises technicians in troubleshooting and corrective actions through contact with experts or expertise; and
To learn more about the successful effort to update the agency’s guidance for remote connectivity, visit arsa.org/remote-connectivity.
Sarah MacLeod is managing member of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein and a founder and executive director of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association. She has advocated for individuals and companies on international aviation safety law, policy and compliance issues for 30 years.