Since 2011, iPads and other tablets have been replacing paper manuals in the cockpit — and it’s a good example of going paperless in the aviation industry. In other flight aspects, however, switching to a more eco-friendly system is work-in-progress. In the hangar, for instance, paperless maintenance still faces some challenges.
Access Isn’t Guaranteed
Some flight companies now provide maintenance manuals online or in PDF versions of the printed manuals. Online versions are always up-to-date, so there’s no need to worry about manual revisions. But more importantly, online manuals can save the company from printing costs, as well as help the environment by reducing the use of paper. One major drawback to online manuals is that you must have an Internet connection to access them. If you’re in a hangar in a remote area, for instance, chances are you’ll find it difficult to access these electronic manuals.
The Challenge of Task Cards
Most aircraft manufacturers have developed task cards to help any maintenance department to monitor accomplished various inspections. These cards belong to a larger review package. Turning this process into an electronic function can be harder than you imagine. While it’s easy to read the cards on a tablet, the paperless version of this process requires a uniform system and must be approved by the FAA or other local regulatory agencies. That’s why many maintenance personnel still stick with utilizing task cards.
Electronic Documentation is a Win
Despite some drawbacks, many aircraft companies are now starting to use electronic documentation. My Flight Solutions, for instance, have come up with some apps that can help maintenance departments with their management system, including billing and labor tracking. The paperless system has brought noticeable relief to some aircraft maintenance personnel, as they revealed they can now focus more on technical works rather than spending too much time with documentation.
Though there are wins and losses in going paperless in a hangar, it still a good thing that this aviation section is trying to be environmentally-friendly. Give it a few years, and all airports in the country will become paperless.