Why Aircraft Digital Logbook Software is an Excellent Compliment to a Maintenance Tracking System
By Stuart Illian
July 7, 2020
When it comes to maintenance tracking software, aircraft owners and operators have many very great options to choose from. Whether it’s for a single aircraft or an entire fleet, maintenance tracking systems are an invaluable resource that clearly save time, money and, most importantly, improve aircraft safety and compliance. While maintenance tracking software allows an owner/operator the ability to track and forecast maintenance, manage parts, and much more, unfortunately, these systems can fall short when it comes to managing aircraft paper and digital records. Such reasons include:
- Effect of high prices and complexity
Depending on the aircraft, flight operation and package chosen, maintenance tracking software can exceed $15,000 per aircraft per year. Because this can be a fairly large variable expense, especially if all the related software features go unused, (e.g. “Bloatware”), some customers may opt for a lower cost MX tracking solution which invariably can mean trade-offs on certain features such as aircraft digital record keeping.
- Lack of AC120-78A compliance
Advisory Circular AC120-78A provides guidance for aircraft record keeping, manuals and e-Signature; items that are front and center in any advanced digital asset management system such as Bluetail. While maintenance tracking systems are critical for maintenance and forecasting, when it comes to proof of airworthiness and compliance, not so much. Plus, even though the perception is that MX tracking systems are “just as good” as paper logbooks, the reality is that no MX tracking software customers are willing to dispose of their paper records. The FAA and industry still views paper logbooks to be the one “source of truth” with robust aircraft digital logbooks, such as Bluetail, being a close second.
- No assurance of complete aircraft logbooks
Not every maintenance tracking system offers e-Signature for related logbook entries and, as such, “digital” entries must still be printed, signed, scanned and then sent to the maintenance tracking analyst for recording and tracking. It’s no secret that sometimes this does not occur. (“Garbage in, garbage out”!) Even with e-signature and automatic recording of related maintenance entries, an aircraft could be “AOG” at a remote location and, thus, the related maintenance/logbook would again go unrecorded in the MX tracking system.
- Not typically sharing and printer-friendly
While maintenance tracking systems can be great for maintenance planning and forecasting (and record-keeping to a more limited extent), aircraft records in these apps aren’t always easily shareable and user friendly (organized) should anyone wish to print all of their logbooks. This can make it especially difficult when it comes to selling an aircraft, working with regulatory authorities or a third-party maintenance crew.
When it comes to electronic digital logbooks, as an aircraft owner/operator, you’re effectively eliminating risks. In fact, if any FAA-mandated logbook is lost or damaged, an aircraft can lose up to 25% of its value right off the bat, and in extreme cases, the plane can essentially be rendered a “paperweight”. This is one of the many reasons that aircraft digital logbook software is an incredibly large value add-on when it comes to single aircraft or an entire fleet. So, why does aircraft digital logbook software help when added to the mix?
- Low cost
Unlike most maintenance tracking systems,aircraft digital logbook software can be extremely affordable starting as low as $49/month. In fact, protecting 25% or greater of the value your aircraft value can be less than the cost of cleaning the plane!
- Ease of Use
Digital aircraft logbook software that is incredibly simple to use can and will make a flight department more effective and efficient while offering additional peace of mind for a relatively low expense.
- AC120-78A compliant logbooks
When it comes to comprehensive digital logbook software, although the ability to scan paper logbooks is very important, you should also have the ability to digitally create, manage and store your records in full compliance with FAA Advisory Circular AC120-78A. Doing so allows for full use and acceptance of aircraft digital logbooks should the paper records ever get lost or damaged.
- Scanned paper logbooks services
Since digital logbook software isn’t always something that aircraft owners have from every plane’s birth, paper logbooks (and related supplemental records) are often a “necessary evil” when it comes to an aircraft’s records. When scanning these records, for reasons already discussed, it is important that an aircraft owner/operator have as many scanning choices as possible, depending on their preference – onsite, via a regional and accredited scanning center or via registered and insured mail.
- Private and secure sharing for buyers and brokers
Having the ability to easily give access to your aircraft logbooks and records is incredibly important, especially when it comes to selling your plane. Not only does this help facility a better and quicker transaction (for the highest price!), it also allows an owner to securely and easily transfer their digital records to the new owner after the sale is completed. Talk about a positive buying experience!
It’s no secret that maintaining an aircraft can be a huge undertaking. Between mechanical fixes, upgrades, and various crew members, keeping your aircraft records current, compliant and easily accessible can be a constant challenge. However, by combining tools like maintenance tracking systems with necessary complements, like aircraft digital logbook software, not only can you keep your aircraft thoroughly maintained, you’ll ensure that your aircraft’s value is protected for as long as you own and maintain it. Contact us today and let Bluetail assist you with your aircraft digital logbook software integration