2023 NBAA Maintenance Blog

2023 NBAA Maintenance Conference Takeaways
Bridging the Gap in Going Digital

The NBAA 2023 Maintenance Conference was a success! More than 1,100 attendees and 164 exhibitors convened in Hartford, Connecticut, from May 2nd – 4th to connect with peers and colleagues, meet with current and potential customers, and take advantage of this year’s theme, “Maximize Your Personal Toolbox.”

At the event, attendees had the opportunity to take part in numerous educational sessions that focused on the future of the business aviation maintenance industry. Participants were encouraged to share their newfound knowledge with their coworkers and peers.

In the spirit of sharing, we’d like to recount one of the highlights of the event, the breakout session, “Maintaining Compliance and Airworthiness in a Digital Age.” With standing room only, more than 150 A&Ps, DOMs, Chief Pilots, aircraft owners, and other aviation professionals attended the session, eager to learn what is involved when transitioning from paper to digital.

The expert panel consisted of Bluetail’s Vice President of Sales, Rhiannon Silvashy, joined by:

Moderator Eric Brewersdorf­–DOM, Embraer

Chris Crisco–Sales Executive, Web Manuals

Nate Dietsch–DOM, Netflix

Karl Stevens–CEO, TrustFlight

The discussion began with a polling of the audience to find out who had 100% digital records, and with a show of very few hands, the conversation shifted to exploring the reasons why they hadn’t made the transition and key reasons as to why everyone should–eventually.

A Love of Paper

Paper is the standard practice, and many transactions and the FAA still require it. There are many drawbacks, however, as paper records are not efficient or safe. Eric Brewersdorf shared that while many paper records are stored in fireproof file cabinets, these are not waterproof. Rhiannon reminded everyone of the recent floods in Florida and that a once-in-a-lifetime weather event can catch you off guard. There was also a story of a disgruntled employee walking off with logbooks. The results can be catastrophic! When paper records are lost or damaged, it is time-consuming and costly to recreate them. Without them, it is impossible to prove compliance or airworthiness, thereby reducing the aircraft’s value up to 30% -50%.

Understanding Digitization versus Digitalization

There was confusion and a conversation regarding the difference between digitization and digitalization. It was explained that digitization is the process of converting your paper records into a digital format through the scanning of your records. Digitalization is the act of managing your digital records to improve business operations and create value for your internal teams and customers. 

Having a Global Presence

Eric Brewersdorf expressed the importance of digital records for Embraer, which now allows them to truly manage their aviation business globally. With aircraft records in digital format, documents can easily be shared with their teams across the globe, allowing for instant collaboration and efficiency.

The Digital Advantage

The group consensus was that the upside to digitizing their aircraft records including increased efficiency, the ability to share records internally and even worldwide, and the assurance that all records are secure from loss or damage, outweighed any apprehensions they had about transitioning from paper to digital.

Moving forward–One Step at a Time

Making the move to digital is a huge leap, but in the long run, will be worth it. It’s important to break it down and bridge the gap with baby steps. These excellent points were recommended to ensure a successful implementation:

  • Engage the entire team and get buy-in from internal stakeholders.
  • Outline your flight department needs.
  • Understand the process and timelines for the transition.
  • Have a clear understanding of what the final product will look like and how to use it to its fullest potential.
  • Choose a trusted vendor who will work with you to tailor the process to your operation.
  • Embrace the fear.

To learn how Bluetail’s Platform makes digitizing your aircraft records easy and worry-free while ensuring that all of your important information is safe and secure, sign-up for a demo and get all of your questions answered. Visit www. bluetail. aero/free-demo

The 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference is set for April 30 – May 2 in Portland, OR. We’ll see you there!

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