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Maintenance Tracking: Safety, Efficiency, & Cost Savings


Maintenance Tracking: Safety, Efficiency, & Cost Savings

What is Maintenance Tracking?

Beechcraft King Air Maintenance TrackingAll aircraft have a maintenance schedule developed by the manufacturer that designates what inspections and part replacements are required, and when they need to be completed.  Often these requirements come due by calendar, hourly and cyclic values.   Tracking both the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is critical in operating both safely and legally, as well as maintaining the value of your aircraft.  Before computers, tracking the maintenance using the aircraft logbook was your only option, but with advances in technology, web / app based tracking programs offer more time-efficient and cost-effective options for operators.


In comparing an aircraft like a King Air B200 to a Challenger 605, the maintenance schedule is definitely less complex.  I’ve heard many operators use this logic to rationalize not utilizing a maintenance tracking program, but there are still hundreds of items that need to be tracked for compliance and next due on any size business aircraft.  In my experience, I have seen plenty of operators overfly their first annual inspection on a brand new aircraft. If you can’t remember annual inspections, how are you going to keep track of fire bottle expirations or generator overhauls without a tracking program for example?  Overflying required inspections can have serious ramifications with the FAA including big time fines or even aircraft grounding.  If operators do not carry out inspections or component replacements at the required times, the aircraft is much more likely to have mechanical troubles, which could very well lead to a safety hazard.


As with most industries, with time comes advancements in technology.  The first forms of maintenance tracking started in the late 1960’s, utilizing mainframe computers.  In the early 2000’s, Flightdocs entered the industry, utilizing a completely web-based portal for its operators.  From there, we have consistently looked at our customer’s operations, finding opportunities where we could introduce new technology to streamline their processes, and make their day-to-day lives easier and more efficient. In the last few years we have introduced many new tools, such as our iPad app and eSignature, which has allowed our customers to access, analyze, plan, assign, update, and sign off all of their maintenance from anywhere in the world.  We have seen dramatic decreases in workload, paperwork, redundancies and errors while utilizing what we call our FD NextGen™ system.

Cost Savings

In addition to the cost savings a more efficient platform gives, maintenance tracking can also help save costs in other ways.  I’ve spoken with many customers who send out all of their maintenance to service centers, and they are consistently getting billed for records research.  Often, if the aircraft is not on a tracking system, the service center is going back through all of the records to identify what work needs to be done.  These man hours are obviously going to end up on your bill, and even worse, there’s no guarantee that they identified everything that needed to be done. You could be leaving without being airworthy!  There are several other scenarios that stem from incorrect maintenance planning that can lead to costly situations down the road.

FlightDocs exhibit at NBAA 2013

If you talk amongst brokers, most prefer dealing with aircraft that are currently on a tracking program.  Many will not even deal with aircraft that do not have a proper tracking system.  While having your aircraft on a tracking program does not guarantee it was well maintained, not having it on one can put a bad taste in the buyers mouth.  Much more records research is needed while looking at an aircraft off a tracking program, and many times records research shows that tasks were missed.  These either will need to be paid for by the current owner, or absorbed by the buyer to make the aircraft airworthy.

As time moves on, more and more operators have realized the benefits of moving to a web-based maintenance tracking program. If you are interested in more details concerning the important of maintenance tracking in your operation, feel free contact me: Greg Heine, 239-390-3199 or gheine@flightdocs.com.

Author: Greg Heine, Greg is the Director of Business Development at Flightdocs, Inc. which offers a web and application based program for aircraft maintenance tracking. For any questions or comments, you can contact Greg at 239-390-3199 or gheine@flightdocs.com