The advent of IoT
The IoT is being hotly tipped to revolutionize the aerospace industry, transforming every part of this data-heavy sector; from assembly and manufacturing to maintenance and safety, including tracking the aircraft’s location.
Specifically relating to maintenance, the IoT helps airlines collect and subsequently to translate vast volumes of data into meaningful business information that can then be applied to determine the status and performance of particular systems and subsystems within an aircraft.
Of course, the more information made available to the ground staff, the more informed the decision-making process will be in ascertaining firstly what the issue is and secondly whether it is a problem with one particular aircraft, or the entire fleet – enabling them to improve their performance.
Sensors are now being distributed throughout the aircraft, for example, monitoring key performance parameters such as fuel burn in the engine. When the flight has landed, this information can be downloaded and analysed by the ground staff, enabling appropriate action to be taken to correct any minor faults or make alterations and get the aircraft back in service as soon as possible.
The future of IoT in aerospace
Ground staff having access to a constant stream of information could be a reality in around five years’ time, giving them continual and complete visibility of the aircraft’s performance. If, for example, one of the engine vitals fails mid-air, a standby system would kick in and run all of the necessary functions to enable it to complete its journey safely.
An alert would then be sent to the ground staff, who could use the real-time information to determine the cause of the failure, before engaging the necessary personnel and sourcing the components required to get the aircraft back up and running as soon as it lands.
Getting all of this preparation done while the aircraft is still in flight would help the airline to vastly reduce the chance of it being placed in AOG, therefore helping it to reduce maintenance costs and also keep passengers happy.
At a time when OEMs and airlines are doing everything they can to keep maintenance costs down and revenues up, data analytics tools are increasingly being used to help them address these pressures.