Data about your aircraft is your biggest asset
Everyone from aircraft operators to owners and continuous airworthiness management organisations need to understand their responsibilities when it comes to correctly maintaining and storing aircraft technical records.
The issue is even more important for aircraft owners, as despite being accountable for the airworthiness of the aircraft, they sometimes do not realise the extent of their responsibilities.
Part of this responsibility involves being aware of the latest methods and regulatory requirements regarding aircraft records. Complete and accurate records are particularly important for aircraft registered by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). An accurate set of records makes it possible to determine when scheduled inspections and other maintenance efforts are due to be performed. This ensures that the certificate of airworthiness (C of A) does not expire.
In addition to the standard maintenance tracking, accurate and complete damage charts are essential to the continuing airworthiness of an aircraft. Damage charts need to be kept up-to-date at all times, whether the aircraft is in service or not.
The meticulous storage and upkeep of aircraft records will create confidence in the next potential owner, operator or relevant authority that is to decide whether an aircraft can be put back into service when being bought or sold or leased. Although additional maintenance may still be required, a back catalogue of previous maintenance work will quell concerns that an aircraft is unsafe to fly. Without records confirming its airworthiness, an aircraft poses too great a risk for investment or negotiation for purchase. Up to date and relevant records are the selling passport for all aircraft.
Occasionally, authorities will issue an airworthiness directive (AD), which notifies owners and operators of a potential fault with an aircraft type or a component within it. In this case, the owner or operator would be able to use the aircraft records to establish compliance with the AD instead of performing a physical check on the aircraft.
Usually the issues in the inspection records can be resolved in a short period of time but this would not be the case if the records were not kept updated and available. Any sale or purchase can be held up for months/ years while the aircraft depreciates if records are not easily accessible and available for inspection.
You need Data Management expertise
When an aircraft owner leases an aircraft, the owner transfers the responsibility of airworthiness to the lessee, which is then responsible for ensuring that a suitable system of record keeping is in place during the lease period.
If an airline both owns and operates an aircraft, it is responsible for ensuring its airworthiness. In this case, an airline can employ a CAMO – Seefin Data Management
Who will assume responsibility and ensure that the aircraft technical records are complete, accurate and secure. This also applies when the aircraft is in storage, as its technical records still need to be audited and updated ready for the aircraft’s return to service.
What Seefin Data Management do for you
The team in Seefin Data Management’s experience in managing data for over 30 years is reflective in what we can offer our clients in the Aviation Space:
1. Years of expertise in handling paper files and records Data Capture.
2. Scanning, Indexing and storage services for all types of data
3. A bespoke retrieval solution for access to records 24/7
4. A back up facility to your own record archive
5. A training program for your team in managing your aircraft data encompassing
◦ The relevance of data as an asset to your business
◦ How to scan, index and maintain your own records
◦ How to get access to the data as quickly as possible
◦ How to backup your valuable records and keep them secure
Can’t have one without the other
Aside from regulatory standards, there are numerous reasons why good record keeping is essential – and the most important is cost. Although it may take initial investment and time, keeping tight records is cost-effective as without them, your aircraft may prove hard to sell at a reasonable price, if at all.
Poor upkeep of aircraft records can have particularly negative consequences for aircraft that include life-limited parts (LLPs). A lack of correct records will make tracing these components, and their age, far more difficult. This will not only affect the airworthiness of aircraft and their parts, but also their useful life and economic value.
Furthermore, extensive knowledge is required during an aircraft audit. It is crucial that an auditor is able to trace an aircraft, its parts and their maintenance, over their entire lifetime, or ‘back to birth’. Should those records bare gaps or inconsistencies, it will cost both time and money to resolve.
Additionally, without complete certification records, repairs can be very expensive. Incomplete or missing records will greatly impact the value and saleability of an aircraft and its component parts. But conversely, go above and beyond the regulatory standards for records and your aircraft will have a higher residual value, as a complete and accurate set of aircraft records will always support the value of the asset.
The most common discrepancies relate to hours, cycles and dates. However, most errors can usually be resolved without many issues. The best time to identify these discrepancies is during the re-delivery phase when an aircraft is being returned to the owner or lessor.