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MH 370, Aviation and Rogue Elements

Zafar Anjum | July 14, 2014
In this interview, Ranganathan Jagannathan (Ranga), Vice President and Head of Aviation IT of Ramco Systems, explains one of the key issues in airline safety, “rogue components", among other things

What are "rogue components" and how do they affect the aviation industry?

"Rogue" unit is a poor performing unit which repeatedly experiences short service periods, manifesting the same or similar faults and whose replacement resolves the system malfunction. Rogue components can paralyze various functionalities in airline operations: operational and dispatch reliability, aircraft systems, maintenance effectiveness, airline/OEM engineering and maintenance support. The challenge is in identifying rogue components in aircrafts amidst millions of parts.

With millions of parts per airline fleet, what are the specific IT technologies that can be used to detect them?

Traditional human inspections of aircraft are simply inadequate and one has to leverage on technology to quicken the process and at the same time minimize human error. Technology helps in eliminating human error allowing mechanics to do their jobs and not administrative processes. There is thus a greater emphasis to shift focus of mechanics away from manual inspections at the hangar to actual work. Big Data and Analytics today are able to help aviation companies interpret and identify rogue components, reducing Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time. Similarly, Ramco's Advanced Reliability Solution makes use of supervised data processing technique for the purpose of detecting rogues amongst other repairable components. AOG can be reduced through a surgical replacement, instead of tearing the whole plane apart to check for a single rogue component.

Which airlines have requested specifically for advanced IT algorithms to track such rogue components?

Most of the Airlines have the need to track and control rogue parts. The problem of intermittent failures in aircraft parts has long plagued operators and it also seems to have caused a bit of friction between the OEMs/Repair Agency and operators. It has always been a challenge to keep track of No-Fault Found (NFF) parts and their dispositions. The part management, reliability management, Ship or Shelf (SOS) disposition, warranty management modules from Ramco helps in managing various aspects of Rogue parts.

More and more new aircrafts manufactured by Boeing and Airbus have parts which require constant software updates. How can airlines cope with these multiple updates?

With over 6 million parts onboard the new 787 Dreamliner, tracking and maintaining the same is definitely a tedious task to perform. With each new airplane model, the number of software controlled systems increases, and so does the size and complexity of that software. Airline operators now have an option to maintain their fleet's complete software information in a central location, with Ramco's Loadable Software Airplane Parts (LSAP) solution. Our LSAP solution allows operators to incorporate design improvements and track updates or changes to the software. It also serves as a useful tool for operators by providing them with the ability to identify the status of the software in the aircraft.


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