How Smart Scanning and Indexing Can Help you Protect Your Plane’s Value
July 31, 2020
If you own an aircraft, you already understand the critical importance of logbooks and maintenance records. After all, besides rendering an aircraft unairworthy, a lost or incomplete logbook could mean an automatic reduction of up to 25% off your plane’s value. This makes it even more important to ensure that all of your logbooks and related records, whether they’re paper or digital, are kept in tip-top shape, no matter who’s working with them.
Although digital logbook and maintenance entry systems are definitely the new, easier route, plane owners still keep paper logbooks and records just to be on the safe side. These paper versions are part of a plane’s history – and required by the FAA to show compliance – and, as such, they are extremely valuable. These should be accounted for as part of the “whole story”, just like digital systems. One simple way that many plane owners have discovered to make this as easy as possible is called “smart scanning and indexing.”
What is digital scanning?
Document scanning is a simple way for aircraft and fleet managers to make digital copies of their logbooks and records, allowing them to store a digital copy of everything related to their aircraft.
Scanning can typically be accomplished in one of four ways, depending on what is preferred by the aircraft owner and the company being used to help them accomplish their goals:
An owner may utilize a company’s scanning center, typically located in major cities, and a bonded courier can pick up your records, take them in for scanning, and then drop them back off once the scanning has been completed.
A client can pack up their records and have them sent, registered and insured, to a scanning partner or company. Much of the time, you can easily receive pre-labeled boxes and tracking forms to help maximize safety, ease and peace-of-mind.
Owners can scan their own records and ask a company to assist them when it comes to document organization, tagging/keyword assignment, OCR/scanning best practices, recommended scanners/software, and upload procedures.
Owners can find a company willing to fly to their home base airport and scan all documents there, without the need to pack up or insure aircraft paper logbooks and related records.
When looking into companies that can help you with the scanning process, you’ll want to ensure that a few regulatory minimums are met:
Ensure that all scanned records comply with FAA FAR 43.12 as amended. This regulation covers maintenance records, falsification, reproduction and alteration. It’s also important to look for a trusted partner who follows best practices and utilizes tools that ensure that they are in compliance with the FAA guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, utilizing record inventory and tracking forms, detailed audit procedures, scanning center certifications, etc.
If a company utilizes an app or aircraft digital record keeping system, ensure that it is in full compliance with FAA Advisory Circular AC120-78A. Such guidance ensures that, in the event of loss, damage or failure of the original paper records system, that their digital records system can be used to demonstrate compliance in lieu of the aircraft paper records.
Find a company that will guide you through the entire process, giving you frequent status updates, being available for questions, giving you the opportunity to add additional documents, etc.
At the end of the day, where aircraft document scanning is concerned, the most important thing to remember is that, no matter which company you choose for document scanning, records should never be lost, damaged, and they should always be returned to you exactly as they were found. Always look for a company that offers “Aircraft Records Insurance,” a rarity in the industry, but a must-have when it comes to your protection. Not only will these systems and processes help you to keep your investment safe in the long run, it will make life much easier for you and your crew in the short-term.