Anyone who has ever searched electronic data for specific information knows that using a keyword is the logical starting point, followed by more advanced searches using phrases or combinations of words, before hitting pay dirt. Given the amount of data on any topic, which may be spread over numerous sources or document types, this is not surprising.

In aviation maintenance, a mechanic may have to troll through data in such documents as illustrated parts catalogue, the aircraft maintenance manual, service bulletins, maintenance alerts, airworthiness directives, regulations and special airworthiness inspection bulletin. Locating a specific reference within all of these documents or sources could sometimes seem like a difficult task.

How ATP Aviation Hub™ Can Streamline The Search For Maintenance Data

Knowing a few simple concepts, combined with the advanced capabilities of the ATP Aviation Hub™ Online Service, will speed up the search to find essential information relevant to making a repair.

As an example, a mechanic may want to know if regulations require a fuel cap to be painted red. To answer this, an initial keyword search in the ATP Aviation Hub of all Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) containing the phrase, fuel cap, might be done. But that’s likely to generate a list of hundreds of entries covering every conceivable reference to both the word “fuel” and the word”cap”, while possibly still omitting results since the phrase, fuel cap, may not appear exactly that way in theFARs.

Conducting a Boolean Search

With the advanced search features of the ATP AviationHub, the mechanic can also do Boolean search. A Boolean search allows users to combine keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to generate more relevant results. For example, a Boolean search could specify fuel AND cap which would generate a list in which both words are linked together as a phrase. (Another way to do this is to encase the words in quotation marks, e.g. “fuel cap”.) Likewise, a Boolean search containing “fuel cap” OR “fuel cover” would call up results with either or both phrases.

Conducting a Wildcard Search

An advanced search could also incorporate a “wildcard” which enables the user to search for multiple forms of a word or phrase, and dig through a larger volume of data. For instance, typing in “fuel w/5cap” instructs the search tool to find the word”fuel” and the word “cap,” but separated or located within no more than five words of each other–within a single phrase.

Conducting a Proximity Search

This type of wildcard function, known as a”proximity search,” generated a list of four FAR sections matching the search criteria-including the section on certification. As it turned out, there was nothing in the regulations mandating that a fuel cap be painted red. A subsequent search, using the keyword “red” turned up a similar result.

Now, suppose a mechanic finds a problem with another component-a fuel selector, for instance. In this case, he may want to search a swatch of documents pertaining to any safety-related issues on the fuel selector, which permits a pilot to shift fuel from one tank to another. By using an advanced search function, and the key phrase “fuel selector,” a mechanic is able to cull through all maintenance alerts, airworthiness directives, special airworthiness inspection bulletins (SAIBs) from the FAA, and other regulatory authorities, as well as service bulletins issued by the OEMs for the aircraft specific fuel selector.

Saving Time With Modern Maintenance Technology

These simple search concepts represent a tremendous advantage and are another time-saving feature of ATP Aviation Hub™ Online Service. Mechanics are under tremendous pressure to get an aircraft out the door as quickly as possible, so the ability to carry out an advanced search over a huge number of documents, from multiple sources-indexed to a specific aircraft-and to save that information for future reference is a huge time saver.

About the Author: ATP

ATP is the leading provider of maintenance tracking, flight operations, inventory management, repetitive defect analysis, and troubleshooting software. The company’s applications help reduce operating costs, improve aircraft reliability, and supports technical knowledge sharing and collaboration within the business aviation, military/defense, commercial aviation, and OEM industries.

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