Airbus Big Data
Stated goal is zero-AOG
Or should it be Reduction of Safety Risk
From Flight Global-- “Airbus is confident that increasing use of data diagnostics should make the goal of “zero AOG” (ie grounding an aircraft due to a technical fault) achievable during the next decade. However, any move to a fully-dynamic maintenance environment will be a lengthy transition and will require extensive accumulation of supporting big data and operational experience. Speaking at FlightGlobal’s Aerospace Big Data conference in London earlier this month, Mathew Evans, vice-president of digital transformation programmes at Airbus, said he expected the aviation industry’s expanding use of big data for operations and maintenance… “…we’re already using predictive maintenance as well as diagnostics and health monitoring to drive out the unscheduled events,” says Evans. “In a sense we are modifying the maintenance schedule, but modifying it by making it more frequent so we are avoiding AOGs and operational interruptions.” Evans expects that this capability will continue to improve over the coming decade and ultimately eliminate the need for unscheduled grounding of aircraft for fault repairs. “So around 2025 we will achieve that ‘zero-AOG’ goal where you can expect your aircraft to not ever be down because of a mechanical fault,” he says.
That’s all well and good, but should “zero-AOG” be the measure of merit?
It is understood that, if the Airbus and other airframe/powerplant OEMs can reduce lost time due to maintenance or repairs, then their customers will have more cash to spend on a variety of expenses including better training, newer aircraft, higher wages for flight attendants/mechanics/ pilots and a variety of surrogates for the critical goal – INCREASED SAFETY/REDUCED RISK.
Word choice, particularly in a precise language like English, is important, especially in establishing important goals. There may be times in which an economically driven standard like “AOG” may be in conflict with the risk reduction standard which is THE principal principle of SMS. It must be clear for those who design Algorithms, which drive the analytics of Big Data decisions, that risk-reduction should be given higher weight that costs.
While such multivariate solutions do not well include qualitative terms like “safety”, humans respond to such a motivating term. No doubt that Airbus did not mean to diminish the importance of safety, but articulating SAFETY as the primary goal and AOG as a lesser included standard would be more explicit and leave little ambiguity.
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