Wing Aviation Moves Closer to Paperless Maintenance with Digital Maintenance Tracking Solution
Currently managing a fleet of 27 aircraft, Wing Aviation is among the largest charter and private jet service management companies in the Houston, Texas area, with plans to nearly double that number in the next few years.
The Part 135 company fleet includes 13 different aircraft types, from single-engine turboprops to large cabin jets. Most aircraft are owned by private individuals and corporations who rely on Wing Aviation to handle flight, maintenance and charter tasks as efficiently and accurately as possible. The company sees leveraging technology, specifically maintenance tracking systems and services, as one way to drive continuous improvement, streamline maintenance activities and improve document accuracy and accessibility.
For the last two years, Wing Aviation has relied on Flightdocs as its go-to maintenance record compliance and management solution. While providing measurable value to managers, mechanics and customers, the solution is also setting the foundation for enterprise-wide paperless operations.
Since its inception in 2001, Wing Aviation’s maintenance compliance process had been largely paper or Excel spreadsheet-driven. Managing the required documentation and paperwork for the fleet became a huge task and even a storage issue according to the company’s Director of Maintenance, Kari Van Winkle, who says, “[I] wanted to eliminate the estimated 40 pounds of paper that comes in the door with every airplane.”
In 2015, the company explored and tested several different maintenance tracking software systems that, unfortunately, didn’t always work well together. Data entry was redundant and time consuming, creating more chaos than collaboration. Also, using the various systems increased the chances for error, which in turn threatened to jeopardize regulatory compliance.
“We decided that we needed to pick one system and commit to the solution that would work best for us,” says Van Winkle.
The Dashboard Advantage
Wing Aviation adopted Flightdocs as its maintenance tracking solution of choice in 2016, largely due to its easy-to-use, highly visual dashboard.
“It’s like a one-stop-shop to look at your fleet with the dashboard,” Van Winkle says. “It’s so simple and intuitive — you can almost work the program with no training at all.”
The 12-module solution includes features that range from maintenance tracking and inventory control to electronic logbooks and work orders, all facilitated by electronic signatures.
Now, with Flightdocs, she adds, “I’ve gone from having to review logbooks for 27 airplanes every morning to looking at one electronic dashboard. With the dashboard, I can check the status of the fleet in a matter of minutes, and with the red-yellow-green alert system, see exactly where we are. Having our entire fleet on Flightdocs allows us to manage our fleet with efficiency.”
Audits Made Easy
The Wing Aviation team is also using Flightdocs to support audits and other compliance-related activities.
Wyatt Robertson, Chief Inspector for Wing Aviation and responsible for aircraft regulatory compliance, explains, “Preparing for an audit used to take several hours a day for a few days prior to the event. [With Flightdocs,] I do the same thing in just a few hours in one day — that’s all it took for me for verification and confidence in the documentation.”
Flightdocs is also useful during the audit itself. During a recent calibration program audit, Robertson recalls that as the auditor pulled the tools to check, he was pulling up certifications with documentation directly from the tablet in real time.
Robertson adds, “There was no searching through paper certifications. The time savings was huge, and I think it gave the auditor confidence in our compliance procedures.”
Real-Time Records Management
With the Flightdocs Maintenance Tracking Dashboard, the Wing Aviation team has immediate access to all maintenance activities for the fleet.
In addition to the day-to-day ease of use, Robertson says, Flightdocs helps him see and track what is being done without bothering or interrupting the technicians. He adds, “It helps me maintain control without being intrusive and it gives the technicians more responsibility, but less work.”
Further supporting the organization’s quest for efficiency and accessibility, Wing Aviation recently received FAA approval to use the electronic signature and electronic record keeping functions, which represents a significant improvement for technicians.
With that approval, Wing Aviation is able to take advantage of Flightdocs’ fully electronic workflow with eSignature™ to streamline the compliance workflow. Flightdocs eSignature was the first fully FAA Advisory Circular 120-78A-compliant electronic signature solution available to the industry. Wing Aviation is using eSignature for scheduled and non-routine maintenance tasks.
Van Winkle explains, “The technicians complete a task, type in the description on their tablet, eSign and they’re done. We used to have to print every task card, get signatures and then store them. It used to be that a 15-minute task required 30 minutes of paperwork. With Flightdocs and eSignature, a 15-minute task requires three minutes of electronic ‘paperwork,’” says Van Winkle.
More efficiency, less work and greater convenience are common themes for Robertson and Van Winkle, who appreciate having the ability to sign off and make decisions quickly using an iPad wherever they happen to be working at the moment.
After working with Flightdocs for two years, 17 of its 27 aircraft are in the system, and Wing Aviation reports that it is well on its way to becoming a completely paperless operation.
Van Winkle concludes: “As we grow our fleet and customer base, we expect our partnership with Flightdocs to increase dramatically alongside our increased maintenance tracking needs and move to paperless operations.”