The Incredibly Odd Places Owners Store Their Aircraft Records.
I was recently perusing one of my favorite publications – Legal Moments in History – and came across a story on the history of the Bankers Box. You’ve probably got a couple hundred of them stacked in your company’s warehouse.
As the story goes, back in 1917, a fellow named Walter Nickel, whose company made heavy-duty cardboard storage boxes for banks,one day got on an elevator and started talking to an entrepreneur named Harry Fellowes.
As the two chatted, Fellowes learned that Nickel had just been called to serve in World War I and wanted to sell his business.
Fellowes was intrigued by the idea, and before they got off the elevator, he had purchased the Bankers Box Company from Nickel for $50.00 – cash. The company went on to diversify into all kinds of products and in 1983, changed its name to Fellowes Manufacturing. Today, it’s one of the world’s largest office product manufacturers.
So, you are asking, as intriguing as the Bankers Box story is, what does it have to do with business jet operations in the 21st century? Well, a lot more than you might think.
There’s gold in them thar boxes.
Walk into pretty much any corporate or charter flight department’s hangar, and you’re going to see stacks and stacks of Bankers Boxes and possibly all other kinds of containers. They are filled with all kinds of maintenance and operational logs, forms, and records for each aircraft they operate
Of course, it’s not only the legendary Bankers Boxes they’re pressing into service. I’ve seen operators get pretty creative in their storage container of choice – Tupperware, fruit crate, milk crates, you name it.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how much these different vessels can hold, here are some ACTUAL containers that Bluetail has seen in hangers. Here’s what you can actually cram into each type.
1 Milk crate = .5 Bankers box
1 Tupperware tub = 1.75 Bankers boxes
1 Filing cabinet w/2 drawers = 4 Bankers boxes
1 Laundry basket = 1 Bankers box
1 fruit crate = 1.5 Bankers boxes
But, no matter what container you are using, just like some lowly law clerk searching case histories, every time an aircraft needs an inspection or any maintenance, some poor technician has to spend their valuable time searching through said boxes looking for all the required information. It’s a real pain in their – back.
Of course, while that kind of manual labor is trouble enough on a good day, imagine the untold problems the operator would face should the “unthinkable” happen to any of those boxes and the valuable information contained within.
Bankers Boxes are sturdy, but they’re not water, insect, fire-, or theft-proof.
In addition to the aforementioned “box-diving” exercises, the time and actual costs to replace those records could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. And if for some reason, they can’t be replaced, the hit on that aircraft’s resale value can run into the millions.
While Bankers Boxes have some value today (but not for storing aircraft records), there’s a much better and more secure way to store all your aircraft’s valuable logs and documents.
Instead of searching through a mountain of boxes, Bluetail can turn all that paper into digital, searchable, shareable, and secure records. For more information, please visit www.bluetail.aero