The Challenge Of Traditionally Managing Defects
Aircraft maintenance operations are vigilant about tracking recurring defects not only because aircraft carriers are required by the FAA to do so, but also because repeat defects cost valuable time and money.
When faults persist despite repeat repair attempts the results can be serious: increased aircraft on ground incidents, loss of customer trust/brand reputation and failure to meet performance agreements. Unfortunately, many airlines struggle to get a handle on managing repeat defects because their technology systems don’t provide adequate visibility into all the repeat defects. As discussed in a previous blog post, many airlines use inefficient legacy systems to track repeat (“chronic”) defects.
The main problem is that recurring defects sometimes go unnoticed; defects may be reported, but recurring trends are not recognized because legacy systems make it hard to see those trends in the midst of overwhelming data. It stands to reason that you don’t focus on what you don’t know is broken.
How a Modern Diagnostic Solution Can Help Uncover and Solve Recurring Defects
That’s why the ChronicX® solution from ATP was created to do a better job of uncovering hidden trends. Rather than relying on inaccurate ATA codes to identify defects that repeat within rigid time-bound parameters (x times over a period of y days), ChronicX reads what is actually written and takes a trending approach. Because ChronicX does not require the setting of any time-bounds, it automatically accommodates large time gaps between related defects.
It thus finds all related defects, enabling Maintenance and Engineering (M&E) teams to spot trends that fall both within and outside the traditional time-bound parameters. For example, in some systems, a repeating defect does not warrant attention unless it recurs three times over a period of 15 days. If a defect has recurred three times in 18 days it will not have qualified for “attention-getting” status according to this system. However, M&E teams would generally want to be aware of such a defect so that they can evaluate its importance.
Another important feature of ChronicX is Custom Alerts. Whereas ChronicX alerts you to recurring defects that might otherwise have escaped your attention, the Custom Alerts feature constantly monitors everything that is entered into the M&E system and alerts users to issues that are of specific interest to an M&E team. For example, an M&E team may want to receive custom alerts for any event that involves a report of a fault symptom that they are addressing with a maintenance campaign. Perhaps they need to monitor a cabin odor, or a safety-related defect (such as smoke) that is subject to mandatory reporting to the FAA, or they want to monitor one specific aircraft for a specific type of intermittent problem/symptom.
ChronicX also gives you a birds-eye view of issues in your fleet, in the form of dashboard panels. These panels reveal useful insights like your sickest aircraft (those with the most number of valid defect reports), the ATA chapters with the greatest number of writeups, specific problems that have persisted the longest, and other useful perspectives. The dashboard panels can be customized with a click to filter out aircraft types, ATAs, etc., and to generate reports.
The ChronicX solution helps M&E teams spot problems and resolve them. As a result, they are able to reduce the total number of unplanned maintenance events and improve aircraft availability, fleet reliability and performance.